Aberdeen ready for NK Maribor test

Aberdeen players

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    Aberdeen have no fresh injury problems ahead of their Europa League qualifier against Maribor.

    Defender Callum Morris will, however, miss out for the first leg of the third qualifying round.

    The former Dundee United player has recovered from an Achilles injury but is short of match fitness.

    The Dons have fallen at this stage of the competition in the past two seasons, with a play-off round to follow before the group phase begins.

    Aberdeen have beaten Fola Esch of Luxembourg and Ventspils of Latvia, while the visitors from Slovenia progressed on away goals against Levski Sofia.

    Maribor have a good recent record against Scottish sides, having knocked Celtic (2014), Rangers (2011) and Hibernian (2010) out of Europe.

    They reached the Champions League groups two years ago where they drew with Chelsea, Schalke and Sporting Lisbon.

    But Aberdeen have upset the odds against Dutch side Groningen and Rijeka of Croatia in recent seasons and Graeme Shinnie believes they can do the same against the seeded Slovenians.

    “We are well up for this game and we know we can win this game,” said the versatile Dons player.

    “We have had great results in Europe in the past few seasons.

    “There’s massive belief. I wasn’t here for the Groningen game but the Rijeka away game[2] [a 3-0 success], with their pedigree at home, was a massive test and we didn’t go there with any fear. That was up there with one of the best nights in my career. We know we can do it on the big nights.”

    Aberdeen midfielder Graeme Shinnie<!–

    Aberdeen have scored three goals in each of their two home legs so far and Shinnie takes heart from added strength in depth up front after the summer signings of Wes Burns, Jayden Stockley and Miles Storey.

    Both Burns and Stockley netted after coming off the bench against Ventspils in the previous round.

    Shinnie added: “Especially at home in the last two rounds we have looked good going forward and created plenty of chances. I think we are a team that always looks like they are going to score.

    “It will be a different test against Maribor but it’s up to us to do the business on the night.

    “The Ventspils game at home especially showed the depth we have got in the squad. We were doing well in the game, we maybe just needed something different. The manager made the changes and it paid off well. To have that coming off the bench is great, it gives the whole team a lift.”

    While the Scottish Premiership kicks off on 6 August, the Slovenian domestic season recently began and Maribor top the PrvaLiga on goal difference after two games.

    References

    1. ^ Dons not daunted by Maribor – McInnes (www.bbc.co.uk)
    2. ^ Rijeka away game (www.bbc.co.uk)

    BBC Sport – Football

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