Twente didn’t have problems getting back into the Eredivisie, ending the league with eleven points more than second-placed Sparta Rotterdam.
They were some ups and downs, but more than tolerable knowing that they had 38 rounds of the regular part of the season and a lot of time to show their quality.
This is now a completely new start for Twente, as the team can’t lose much in the opening game but are surely very focused on staying away from the relegation battle and keeping their Eredivisie status for many years to come.
They looked fine for the standards of the team that could be fighting to avoid the relegation in the preparation period having draw matches against Al Wahda, Leuven and Schalke. As the last test, they had a friendly against KOnyaspor last weekend and pulled out a narrow 1:0 win.
Aarau had a 1:1 draw game away to Winterthur in the first round, being in a quite passive situation and they weren’t able to develop the game completely.
The opponents were those who have created far more and actually deserved a victory most likely. However, players of Aarau improved a lot in the second round, winning over Kriens 4:1 with a very good performance in the second halftime.
They didn’t have much more of the ball possession in the first half, but once the team scored the opening goal in the second, it was far easier for them to develop the game they wanted.
Grasshoppers have opened the second with two narrow victories, but as long as it goes in their favor, nobody will have many worries after such a disastrous previous season.
Qarabag took a very early lead in the first leg, scoring a goal already in the fourth minute via Emreli. However, they failed to convert a couple of more decent chances in the first halftime and switched to a more defensive approach in the second part of the game.
Maybe a bit not needed for the team of their quality, which cost them with a goal conceded in the 78th minute via Hoban.
The side has already progressed in the first round against Albanian champions Partizani, thanks to a goalless game on the road and a 2:0 win at home.
They are expected now to come out even more courageous in the second leg and to seal the progress further with a victory, without much problems into the ninety minutes.
Basel suffered 3:2 defeat against PSV in surely the most entertaining match of the second round of Champions League qualifiers.
They even had a 1:2 lead away from home, all the way till the last few minutes of the clash. We can’t speak about the experience, but simply they surrendered to the atmosphere towards the end and paid the price of staying too defensive as the game progressed to its end.
The side has started the domestic league with a 4:1 win away to Sion in the first round but .suffered 1:2 defeat at home to St Gallen last weekend. Probably under pressure and rotating a bit for the more important Champions League clash.
Rubin Kazan had a pretty difficult schedule with the first two rounds, as the side needed to play on the road against Lokomotiv Moscow in the first round taking a point in a 1:1 game.
However, needs to be said that despite the fact that they were underdogs in the clash, they weren’t outplayed and were actually a side with just a bit more of the ball possession and chances created.
The side visited Dynamo Moscow in the second round and despite the fact that they played with a man more since the 30th minute when Bashkirov got excluded, they managed to take a narrow 1:0 victory thanks to a goal in the fifth minute of added time.
Luzern could wish for a better start into the league as the team won on the road to St Gallen last weekend with a 2:0 result.
The team was slight favorite prior to the game but could be said that they were really smart on the field and simply waited for their chance.
It came towards the end of the match when they took the lead via a penalty kick and had much room available via counters once the hosts took all the risk. It looked like a match where it mattered a lot on who will score first.
Genk took the title in the previous season and no doubt that they will want to repeat the same success once again, even though their team is a bit reformed now, losing some influential players.
The side looked just fine at the preparation period, winning over few amateur teams, but also against Maccabi Tel Aviv and Lokomotiva Zagreb convincingly towards the end.
They already looked well prepared and in-form, in the Belgium Super Cup game last weekend against KV Mechelen which they have won with a 3:0 result. Dominating and commanding the ball and the field for all ninety minutes.
Offensive Bongonda was signed from Waregem, while midfielder Hagi came from Viitorul and central back Cuesta from Colombian Atletico Nacional. Striker Odey was signed from Zurich, while right offensive Nygren came from Goteborg.
We can’t say that Ferencvaros was lucky to progress over Ludogorets, as the team deserved it, however, they were very concrete with the ball to their feet and had a certain amount of luck to have scored out of the chances created in the second leg.
Still, the side managed to fight out two narrow victories, 2:1 at home in the first leg and a 2:3 victory away in Bulgaria, being very concrete in the attack in both games.
As a reward, they now have a way easier job in the second round playing against the Maltese side. However, their results aren’t very surprising since the team is having a decent trend in the previous few years and looked more than fine in the preparation period.
Odense didn’t disappoint that much against Copenhagen as they had a fine match, however, the way they lost the clash completely is a disappointing one.
They had 2:0 lead thanks to two goals from Klove, being reduced towards the end of the first halftime and being more passive at the start of the second half than what they should.
N’Doye scored two goals for Copenhagen, as Odense had some fine chances in the second part as well – but without scoreline change from their side.
Genk was quite dominant in the previous season of Jupiler League and took the title deservedly with two points more than Club Brugge.
Their title was actually a sure thing couple of rounds before the end, but they didn’t push much towards the end, ending the season with a defeat and two straight draw matches.
As for the preparational period, the team looked perfectly fine in the offense, winning over amateur sides Termien, Bregel Sport and Beringen, scoring twenty-seven goals in those three.
Additionally, they closed the pre-season matches with convincing victories over Maccabi Tel Aviv 4:1 and against Croatian side Lokomotiva Zagreb 3:0 last week.