Axel Allag, Media365: published on Wednesday September 15, 2021 at 8:40 p.m.
Ahead of the start of AS Monaco’s Europa League campaign on Thursday, check out the profiles of the main club’s opponents, Real Sociedad, PSV Eindhoven and Sturm Graz.
On paper, AS Monaco’s first opponent in the Europa League (Thursday, 9 p.m. at Louis-II) seems the least impressive. Founded in 1909, the Sturm Graz was crowned Austrian Champion three times – 1998, 1999, 2011. Winner of the Austrian Cup in 2018, in particular, this formation was able to get the best of NS Mura in the jump-off of the Europa League in order to join the group stage of the competition (5-1 in aggregate score). This season, the team is second in the Austrian Championship, 7 points behind leaders RB Salzburg.
Player to watch: Stefan Hierländer
With a total of 613 minutes played this season in the jersey of Sturm, Stefan Hierländer, captain of this team, is a player to be taken into consideration. This 30-year-old midfielder, at the club since the 2016-2017 season, has been selected 3 times with the national team and also won 2 Austrian Bundesliga titles, obtained in 2011-2012 and 2013-2014.
A team capable of performing well in La Liga in recent seasons, Real Sociedad finished fifth in the Spanish Championship last season, also recalling the Copa del Rey against Athletic Bilbao (1-0), another great club from the Basque Country in Spain. Founded in 1909, the team is currently installed by Imanol Alguacil, who has held the position since 2018.
Player to watch: David Silva
World Champion (2010) and European Champion with Spain (2008, 2012), David Silva is an important element of Real Sociedad. Returning to La Liga two seasons ago, under the jersey of Real, the former Manchester City element, trained in Valencia, is an undisputed technical leader of the team formed by Imanol Alguacil. His technique, still as fluid, could do some damage against AS Monaco of his compatriot Cesc Fabregas.
Winner of the Champions League in 1988, and also of the UEFA Cup in 1978, PSV Eindhoven, founded in 1913, total 24 league titles of the Netherlands in its long history. Coached by Roger Schmidt, the team is currently at the top of its championship, with 4 wins in as many games, and an impacting record of 14 but scored for only 3 conceded. Falling against Benfica Lisbon in the Champions League play-off (2-1, 0-0), PSV suffered the same fate as AS Monaco in order to end up in the Europa League.
The player to watch: Mario Götze
World champion with Germany in 2014, Mario Götze, at 29, did not take the expected path following this sacred with the Mannschaft. Suffering from myopathy in 2017, the former element of Borussia Dortmund has been important within PSV since his arrival in October 2020. This participation in the Europa League could be for Götze a golden opportunity to be remembered in the eyes of the great Public.