23rd June 2014 was another Historic landmark in Gibraltar football as for the 1st time, a local club was entered for the draw for the UEFA Europa League. All eyes were on College Europa to see who they will face in their inaugural European campaign. For obvious reasons, they were unseeded.
College Europa v FC Vaduz.
College Europa discovered their opponents yesterday for their first ever UEFA Europa League qualifier. Their opponents will be FC Vaduz from Lichtenstein.
College will play travel away to play the 1st leg on the 3rd of July whilst the 2nd leg will played at the Victoria Stadium on the 10th July. The winners of the tie will face Polish side Ruch Chorzow.
GFT was able to get reaction from the College camp after the draw was made. Manager Jose Requena (former goalkeeper for Betis) was in a defiant mood:
We face a complicated team that plays in the Swiss league which was a budget of approx. €10m. We will go over there and try to make things difficult for them and see if we can bring a good result back to Gibraltar
Team captain Robert Montovio also gave his reaction to the draw:
I’m very excited to have the chance to play in the Europa League. Not in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined this was going to happen. I do not know much about FC Vaduz but we will give it our all to try and win and make Gibraltar proud.
Last season’s top scorer, Argentinian Striker Cristian Toncheff also reacted to the draw:
I am very happy that the draw has helped College Europa continue to make history and with it take us to Liechtenstein to face a great club.
Young central midfielder Jamie Bosio also gave his reaction to the draw:
They have plenty of European qualifying experience. We can find out as much as we can about them because they’ve been involved on the European football scene since 1992 but it will be difficult for them to find anything on us here in Gibraltar, and that might benefit us. Any of the 5 teams that we could have been drawn with was always going to be difficult in our first European campaign, but we will keep doing as we have been for the last 3 weeks and keep working hard. We will attempt to give a good account of ourselves abroad not just for us but more importantly for the whole of Gibraltar
FC Vaduz play their domestic league football in Switzerland and finished 1st in the Swiss Challenge League (Swizz 2nd level) earning promotion to the top tier of Swiss football for the 2014/15 season. Their European qualification has come via the Liechtenstein cup as winners. There is no domestic league football in Liechtenstein.
But what else do we know about the team from Liechtenstein. Here is all the info you need:
Vaduz have been required to pay a fee to the Swiss Football Association in order to participate as a foreign club. There have been calls for this agreement to be revoked, but discussions have meant that a permanent arrangement has now taken place for a Liechtenstein representative to be allowed to participate in the Challenge League or Super League in future.
From the 2001–02 season, Vaduz played in the Swiss Challenge League (formerly called Nationalliga B), the second tier of the Swiss league system. Since then, Vaduz have been one of the best teams in the Challenge League and gave serious challenges towards promotion to the Super League, especially in 2004 and 2005, playing two-leg play-offs in both cases. In the 2007–08 season, Vaduz secured promotion to the Swiss Super League on 12 May 2008 by winning the Challenge League on the final day of the season, giving Liechtenstein a representative at the highest level of Swiss football for the first time. Vaduz, however, were relegated back to the Challenge League after one season in the top flight. Vaduz finally returned to top level after 5 years in Challange League last season.
Stadium: Rheinpark Stadion (7,838 capacity)
Manager: Giorgio Contini (SWI)
Number of League titles: 3 (Swiss 2nd Division)
Number of Cups: 42
Player stats in 2014:
National Team Players: