Gabala vs Jagiellonia by Isaiah
Gabala didn't fulfill all their expectations previous season, however didn't disappoint a lot either - they finished the season as second placed side, having ten points less than champions from Qarabag and nine more than third placed Inter Baku, also playing in the domestic Cup's finale, which they lost to Qarabag convincingly 2:0 without threatening much.
They didn't have much chances in the title race, so the team will be starting their European journey from the second round here against Polish side Jagiellonia. During the preparation period, they played three more important friendly matches, losing out to Akhmat Grozny, Russian Premier League side 1:0, but also 2:0 to Ludogorets while the team won over Dutch side Utrecht last Saturday evening with narrow 1:0 result.
They actually did well last season to enter the Europa League group stage where they lost all six matches, to Anderlecht, Saint Etienne and Mainz and surely a target would be to get close to the group stage again.
Jagiellonia, on the other side, finished previous season at second position in Polish Ekstraklasa, having their best achievement so far in Ekstraklasa but didn't surprise a lot, since the club has a steady rise in previous few years, also ending at third position three seasons ago. They were actually in a battle for title till the last moments, staying just two points behind champions from Legia.
At the same time, they had better goal difference than Lech Poznan and Lechia Gdansk, ending at second place even though they were tied up with these three teams in points. During the pre-season friendly matches, they lost to AEK Larnaca at the start of preparations, but then won over Stilon Gorzow. In the first round of Europa League the team easily progressed over Dinamo Batumi, winning narrowly 1:0 in Georgia and showing some of attacking potential in second leg, winning it easily with 4:0 result. Central defender Marek Wasiluk (6/0 last season) is long term absentee.
Gabala knows that their chances stand with the home game (actually not being played on their own stadium, but still in their own country and much more familiar ambient) and I have no doubts that the hosts will try to attack here as much as possible. However, Jagiellonia should be slightly better side here and shouldn't be defending a lot. Both teams to score seems quite valuable pick in my eyes.