Dundee Utd v AZ Alkmaar
Live on Premier Sports
A momentous occasion
Scottish Premiership side Dundee United are back in Europe with Dutch representatives AZ Alkmaar the visitors for Thursday's Europa Conference League qualifying first leg at Tannadice.
The Tangerines boast vital European experience, having reached the final of the Europa League in 1987, and they made the semi-finals of the Champions League in 1984.
Football on the continent has changed since United's heyday, and with Scottish football already suffering embarrassment in Europe, the pressure is on Jack Ross and his men.
Hosts miss their chance to win
There has been a real buzz about Tannadice this week as manager Ross, his players, and the club's fans look ahead to a European adventure of their own. This appearance in the Europa Conference comes just a few seasons after the club played in the Scottish Championship, but there can be no room for nostalgia and there will be no back-slapping in the camp.
Dundee Utd enjoys home advantage for this match before travelling to the Netherlands for the second leg. The locals know their best chance at scoring an upset and progressing in this competition relies on a strong showing at home, giving themselves something to protect in the second leg.
They warmed up for this early-season thriller with a 1-1 draw away to Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday. United took the lead just before the interval thanks to a Dylan Levitt strike but then had Ian Harkes dismissed on 72 minutes for a second bookable offence, allowing Killie to snatch a late equaliser.
Alkmaar arrives in high spirits
AZ Alkmaar is behind their opponents in game time with the Dutch Eredivisie yet to begin. That could mean the visitors lack a little match-sharpness and fitness, but it won't take The Cheeseheads long to get into the swing of things.
What the Dutch lack in competitive minutes this season, they more than make up for in European experience and arrive in Scotland confident that will be enough to see them through to the next round. Pascal Jansen's team won't make the mistake of looking past Dundee United, but they have good reason to be quietly confident.
A draw or even a narrow away defeat wouldn't be the worst result for AZ Alkmaar, giving themselves a solid foundation to build next week AFAS Stadion. But they have the players, experience, and squad to win this match, and if they score early enough, they could do it in style.
Back the away win
This is a special night for the hosts, and Tannadice will be packed as fans welcome back European football. A lot has changed in the game since this club were last on the continent, but the passion and unwavering support of the home fans hasn't faded any.
Think Dundee United can do it? The Betfair Exchange offers odds of 5.49/2 on a home win, but we're happy to back the favourites. AZ Alkmaar looks worth adding to your midweek multiples at 1.664/6. The draw is 3.8514/5 if you can't split them.
Both teams will set up defensively, with Ross eager to ensure his players don't get carried away and punished by a more experienced outfit while Jansen has one eye on the second leg. That suggests a tense evening with under 2.5 goals the pick at 1.845/6.