Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will make his Anfield debut as Reds boss on Thursday when his side hosts Rubin Kazan on the third matchday of the group stage of the 2015-16 Europa League.
Borussia Dortmund will visit FK Qabala, Schalke 04 will play host to Sparta Prague and Tottenham Hotspur travel to Belgium to play Anderlecht. American viewers will be able to catch a number of matches on ESPN and Fox Sports, and BT Sport will provide live stream coverage of every match for British audiences.
Here's a look at the schedule:
|Europa League Schedule|
|Time (ET)||Home||Away||TV Info||Live Stream|
|4 p.m.||FK Qabala||Borussia Dortmund||ESPN 3, Fox Sports 1||ESPN Player, Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|6 p.m.||APOEL||Asteras Tripoli||ESPN 3||ESPN Player, Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|6 p.m.||AZ||Augsburg||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|6 p.m.||Dnipro||St. Etienne||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|6 p.m.||Basel||Belenenses||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|6 p.m.||Schalke||Sparta Prague||Fox Sports 2||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|6 p.m.||Fiorentina||Lech Poznan||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|6 p.m.||Lazio||Rosenborg||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|6 p.m.||Lokomotiv Moscow||Besiktas||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|6 p.m.||Monaco||Qarabag||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|6 p.m.||Partizan Belgrade||Athletic Club||ESPN Deportes||ESPN Player, Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|6 p.m.||Anderlecht||Spurs||Fox Sports 1, BT Sports Europe||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|6 p.m.||Sporting||Skenderbeu||ESPN 3||ESPN Player, Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|8.05 p.m.||Bordeaux||FC Sion||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|8.05 p.m.||FC Midtjylland||Napoli||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|8.05 p.m.||Fenerbahce||Ajax||ESPN 3||ESPN Player, Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|8.05 p.m.||Legia Warsaw||Club Brugge||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|8.05 p.m.||Liverpool||Rubin Kazan||ESPN 3, BT Sport 2||ESPN Player, Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App, LFCTV|
|8.05 p.m.||Molde||Celtic||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|8.05 p.m.||PAOK||Krasnodar||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|8.05 p.m.||Rapid Vienna||Victoria Plzen||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|8.05 p.m.||Liberec||Groningen||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|8.05 p.m.||Braga||Marseille||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
|8.05 p.m.||Villarreal||Dinamo Minsk||/||Fox Soccer 2Go, BT Sport App|
Liverpool fans couldn't more excited to see Klopp make his Anfield debut as their team's boss, and the iconic venue is expected to be as loud as it has been all season, eager to welcome the German manager.
As shared by Kristian Walsh of the Liverpool Echo, Klopp wants to use Liverpool's legendary support to the team's advantage:
Kristian Walsh @Kristian_Walsh
Klopp: "First home game, special atmosphere and I hope we can take this atmosphere and transport it into the game."10/21/2015, 1:21:57 PM
The Reds enter the match having drawn their first two fixtures in the Europa League, against Bordeaux and FC Sion, and Thursday's clash already looks like a must-win. Their Russian opponents have been in dreadful form of late, winning just one of their last four Russian Premier League matches, and they currently sit just outside of the relegation spots.
Kazan will be without the suspended Syarhey Kislyak, who was dismissed during the match against Bordeaux. Daniel Sturridge won't be risked by the hosts with an eye on Sunday's match against Southampton, according to the Reds' official Twitter account.
Anything less than a win against the struggling Russians will be viewed as a missed opportunity for Liverpool, and per Simon Hughes of the Daily Telegraph, the club didn't hold back with its match programme, an indication of the pressure Klopp is under:
Simon Hughes @Simon_Hughes__
The front cover for Liverpool's Europa League tie with Rubin Kazan tomorrow night is a bit good. https://t.co/iGsx2nVoeh10/21/2015, 3:47:05 PM
Klopp's previous club, Borussia Dortmund, comfortably lead Group C, and Die Schwartzgelben travel to Azerbaijan to take on little-known Qabala. As Lars Pollmann of Bleacher Report noted, the hosts shouldn't be taken lightly:
Qabala is one of only two teams still in the competition that started in the first qualifying round, the other being Norwegian club Rosenborg BK. During their successful run, Qabala have relied on great form at home, where they've won in all three qualifying rounds and wrested a draw from Panathinaikos in the play-off.
That's notable because Qabala don't get to play in front of their own fans. They play their Europa League home games in the capital, Baku, more than a three-hour drive away from Qabala. Despite that disadvantage, Qabala have yet to concede a goal at home in the competition.
Qabala have been in excellent form in their domestic league, winning their last four matches, while Dortmund have somewhat struggled of late, going three matches without a win in the Bundesliga until Friday's 2-0 win over Mainz.
Without the prolific Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who didn't travel with the team because of “security concerns,” via DW Sports, Dortmund will find it hard to break down a solid Qabala defence that has been lights out at home so far. The Germans remain the favourites, but an upset seems a very real possibility.
In Group J, Spurs travel to Brussels to take on a young Anderlecht side that has struggled for consistency early in the 2015-16 season. They recently made international headlines for missing three penalties and conceding a stoppage-time own goal, per Reuters (h/t Yahoo Sports), which just about summarises their season to date.
Fans anxious to see star youngster Youri Tielemans in action may be surprised to learn the 18-year-old has started Anderlecht's last three matches on the bench, with fellow young starlet Leander Dendoncker preferred in midfield. Dendoncker has been in great form lately, and he will be the one player Spurs have to keep an eye on.
Spurs were held scoreless by Liverpool in their last Premier League match but should find more openings against Anderlecht, who lost Chancel Mbemba to Newcastle United during the summer and still haven't recovered defensively.
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