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2020. Szeptember 29. 11:39  -  David Rechnitzer
Vidi looking to make it to the Group Stage for the third time

MOL Fehervar FC travel to Belgium for their play off match against Standard Liege. A win would see Vidi through to the group stage.

Our club has been in the group stage twice since the start of the Europa League (EL), which replaced the UEFA Cup in 2009, and once had the opportunity to enter the elite of the Champions League. In this article, we bring to life the greatest European successes of the last decade for our club.

2012 - one out of one

In the summer of 2012, after finishing the 2011-2012 season with 66 points in second place, we were able to start in the second qualifying round of the EL, our opponents were Slovan Bratislava from Slovakia. The first leg away ended 1-1 and was followed by a 0-0 second leg at the Sosto, so we went through on the away goals scored. Not many people felt that Vidi would overcome Belgian side Ghent, not even after winning the first leg 1-0 in Szekesfehervar. The return leg went dreamily, we comfortably beat the Belgians 3-0 and went through to the playoffs, where the Turkish club Trabzonspor were waiting for us.

On the 23rd August 2012, in front of 25,000 fans, the first match between Trabzonspor - Vidi EL playoffs kicked off, with fierce Turkish attacks. However, as the match went on, Paulo Sousa's well-assembled side became more and more calm, while Senol Günes's Trabzon became more tense. Despite the many home opportunities, they could not score a goal, we defended bravely to secure a 0-0 draw. The second leg went into the history books of football in Fehervar as a real folk festival. In the old Sosto Stadium, with the support of 11,232 spectators, and on the birthday of our head coach at the time, we got into the EL group stage following a penalty shootout. It is easy to deduce from this that those who may not have followed Vidi at that time also concluded that the second leg ended 0-0, and there were no further goals in extra time. We dealt better with the nerves in the penalty shootout, goalkeeper Bozsovics saved two Turkish penalties (the second with the help of the goalpost) and Nikola Mitrovics scored the fourth kick.

In the group stage, our opponents were Sporting from Portugal, Genk from Belgium and Swiss side Basel, and although we competed for the final round to advance, it ultimately failed. However, we had nothing to be ashamed of with two wins (Sporting and Basel at home) to finish in third place.

2017 - close to the entry gate, which remained closed

After losing the 2017 final league game against Honved, Henning Berg was replaced by Marko Nikolics as the head coach of our team, who produced a rather prestigious result, as he immediately got to the EL playoffs. Namely, our team was already playing at the temporary home in the Pancho Arena at the time due to the reconstruction of the Sosto Stadium. 

In the first qualifying round of the 2017-2018 series, Balzan FC of Malta were confidently beaten after a 2-0 victory at home and a 3-3 draw away, and then in the second qualifying round, Estonian Nömme Kalju did not cause any problems, as we won 3-0 at home, and drew 1-1 draw in the return leg. The third qualifying round brought us a big side, and we had to fight to advance against the French Girondens Bordeaux. We were beaten away 2-1 in the first meeting, but the away goal, which most of the time means a lot in such a duel really did give us an advantage. This time it was no different, because we won the second match - with Stopira's header - 1-0, so the goal that Scepovic scored in Bordeaux was the difference between the two sides, and after 5 years we got to the EL playoffs again.

In the playoffs, manager Nikolic was the main witness to the strange play of fate. The Serbian coach came up against his former side Partizan, where he also won championships and trophies with the Belgrade club, was forced to prepare his new team against his previous team. After the first game away, it didn't seem to be a problem for him. We returned home with a 0-0 result from the match played behind closed doors, Vidi had a huge opportunity at the start of the second leg. Unfortunately, the hope did not last long, the visitors led 3-0 at half time, and at the beginning of the second half we also lost Roland Juhász after he received a red card. Partizan also scored another goal at the end, so they advanced 4-0, and we failed to reach the group stage.

Our current squad includes the three most successful players on the international stage - only in terms of goals scored for Vidi: Nego Loic (6 goals), Nikolic Nemanja (5 goals), Stopira (3 goals).

2018 - Champions League Playoff and Europa League Group Stage

A year after the painful EL farewell, Vidi were perhaps in better shape than ever before for the new series. In May 2018 - for the third time in our history - we won the championship, the squad was together, and three experienced players - Danko Lazovics, Roland Juhász, Szabolcs Huszti were preparing for their final shot at European success. We started the CL qualifiers against Luxembourg champions Dudelange, we won 2-1 in Felcsút after a 1-1 draw away in a match that a little more bumpy than expected, but we went through.

The Bulgarian side Ludogorets promised to be a much harder opponent, but we managed a 0-0 draw away, which was no small performance in terms of the match. And it was really from here that the team started, beginning with a second leg game against Ludogorets, playing good football against which several of our big-name opponents had no antidote in the coming months. With a goal from Anel Hadzic, we defeated the Bulgarians 1-0 at the Pancho Arena, the third qualifying round against Malmö was next. We played out a 1-1 draw at the home of the Swedish team, the end of the second match was 0-0, which meant a certain place in the EL group stage at worst. 

There was still a Champions League playoff tie against AEK Athens. The Greek champions did not visit Felcsút, but the Groupama Arena in Budapest on the 22 August 2018. We played a fierce game until the sending off of Huszti, AEK went 2-0 up by the 49th minute, but Lazovics' lavish goal brought hope back, not without a change though as the match ended in a 2-1 defeat. We travelled to Athens six days later.

The second leg brought about as big a battle as the first match and ended 1-1, as we said goodbye to the CL with a raised head and were ready for the EL group stage ahead.

Every Vidi fan knew, in the group stage two years ago - like in 2012 - we had a chance to advance all the way through thanks to us beating the Greek side PAOK away and at home (2-0 and 1-0). There wasn’t much between us and Belarusian BATE, but Chelsea, packed with world stars, were only able to beat us 1-0 in London, and in the rematch we played a 2-2 draw and finished third with 7 points.

Our team could secure a new Europa League group stage with a victory, on Thursday night at the home of Belgian Standard Liege.

MOL Fehérvár FC - Minden jog fenntartva
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