• EUROPA LEAGUE: Saints drawn against Danish champions FC Midtjylland

    The first leg of Southampton's play-off for the Europa League group stages will be at St. Mary's.

    Saints have been drawn against FC Midtjylland, who won last season's Danish Superligaen by four points, beating FC Kobenhavn - featuring former player Steve De Ridder.

    They put together last season's biggest winning run - of five games - in last season's league season, as they won their first ever Danish title at the top level.

    They qualified for the Champions League, but were eliminated in the third qualifying round after losing 2-1 at home to APOEL Nicosia, before only winning 1-0 in Cyprus - meaning they went out on away goals.

    Former Saints midfielder Tim Sparv is amongst their ranks, as is former Bristol Rovers keeper Mikkel Andersen. Andersen was in goal during the 2009/10 for the Gas, as Saints won 5-1 at the Memorial Stadium, before clocking up a 4-0 win at St. Mary's.

    The Danish side are owned by English businessman Matthew Benham, who is also the owner of Brentford. His 'moneyball' principles have been felt in English football this season, and it's the foundation of the success that Midtjylland have enjoyed during his tenure.

    Their star man is Pione Sisto, a highly-rated young attacking midfielder, who has been linked to the likes of Arsenal and Everton this summer. Sisto is a Denmark international and only 20-years-old, but was actually born in Uganda, before moving to Denmark just two months into his life.

    The home leg of the tie will be played first, on Thursday the 20th of August, with the trip to the MCH Arena in Herning coming on Thursday the 27th of August.

    FC Midtjylland's home stadium, the MCH Arena, was opened in 2004 and can only hold 11,800 spectators.

    Therefore, ticket availability is expected to be very limited.

    Recommended reading: 'How Midtjylland took the analytical route towards the Champions League' - http://www.theguardian.com/football/...matthew-benham
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