Everton v MFK Ružomberok

European football is back at the Grand Old Lady, and bizarrely before the Premier League even kicks off.

After two wins and a draw in pre season it’s a journey into the unknown as the blues begin their Europa League campaign.

So who are MFK Ružomberok who stand, over two legs, between the blues and a Europa League play off tie?

Ruža, or The Rose, are a top division Slovakian side. Finishing third in the 2016/17 Fortuna Liga gave them access to the qualifying rounds of the tournament.

Already five competitive games into their season, having played in both the first and second qualifying rounds and a 2-1 defeat in their opening league fixture, their fitness levels may be superior to the Blues.

Definitely something Ronald Koeman has to be wary of.

No messing about, but in all seriousness, does the no nonsense Dutchman make you feel like he’ll get anything less than 100% out of his players?

Ružomberok have already stared exit from the competition in the face twice. Having been beaten in both first leg clashes, they progressed with fantastic second leg performances in both rounds.

Evertonians across the land will be eager to see the team-sheet come 7.05pm on Thursday.

A sell-out Goodison crowd (which is absolutely fantastic for a Europa League 3rd qualifying round tie) is desperate to see new signings Wayne Rooney, Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford and Sandro Ramirez in action.

There’s no nightmare injuries to report, so the players available are those who featured in a 1-1 draw against KRC Genk last Saturday.

So after a two year absence, European football graces L4 once again.

And what’s better than Goodison under the lights?

Here it is, the first of what we anticipate will be a long and success filled competitive season for Everton.

Here’s to hoping it starts as it means to go on.

Winning football matches…

Up the Toffees.

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