UEFA Europa League Preview: Brondby and Slovan to protect handsome leads

Brondby, Slovan Bratislava and West Ham are among the strong favourites to progress from the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round when the second legs take place this week.

The biggest win during last week's first-leg ties came when Brondby romped to a 9-0 win over San Marino's Juvenes/Dogana, with Johan Elmander and Elbasan Rashani notching braces for the Danish team.

Europa FC, hailing from Gibraltar, were beaten 6-0 by Slovan as Karol Meszaros netted a first-half hat-trick.

West Ham will hope to impress new manager Slaven Bilic by extending their 3-0 advantage over Andorra’s FC Lusitanos. Diafra Sakho helped himself to a first-leg brace.

Things are far from straightforward for the Scottish Premiership teams involved.

Aberdeen and St Johnstone drew 1-1 and lost 1-0 respectively in their away legs against Shkendija and Alashkert FC.

Sweden's AIK will hope two away goals are decisive having shared a 2-2 draw first time around with VPS Vaasa in Finland, while their goalkeeper Patrik Carlgren is out due to a knee injury sustained last time out.

Serbian giants Crvena Zvezda have their work cut out after losing 2-0 in their opening match with Kairat Almaty of Kazakhstan.

Norwegian duo Odds BK and Stromsgodset are comfortable leaders having won 3-0 at FC Sherriff and 3-1 against FK Partizani respectively, while Lithuania’s FK Trakai are 3-0 leaders over HB Torshavn on their maiden European outing.

Go Ahead Eagles, relegated from the Eredivisie last season, travel to Hungary locked at 1-1 with Ferencvaros.

Airbus UK and Buducnost Podgorica are 3-1 down heading into away legs at Lokomotiva Zagreb and FK Spartaks Jurmala respectively, although the prospects are better for MSK Zilina and Debrecen - 4-1 and 3-0 to the good as seemingly thankless tasks await Glentoran and Sutjeska Niksic.

Glentoran's Belfast neighbours Linfield hold a 2-0 advantage over NSI Runavik, while there are varying prospects of success for two League of Wales sides.

Newtown AFC travel to Malta with a 2-1 lead over Valletta, who will be without suspended captain Ian Azzopardi, although Bala Town are 3-1 behind as they prepare to welcome Differdange 03 of Luxembourg.

Nomme Kalju, Jagiellonia, Slask Wroclaw, FK Cukaricki, Randers FC, FH Hafnarfjordur and Koper all take 1-0 leads back to their own patch, while Dinamo Batumi, UCD and Flora are ahead by the same margin heading into away trips.

Beroe Stara Zagora, Apollon Limassol, Rosenborg and Shakhtyor Soligorsk all scored twice in away wins to be well placed this week as FC Shirak and FK Kukesi prepare to take 2-0 leads on the road.

FC Vaduz must complete the formalities of a tie with San Marino's La Fiorita, who they lead 5-0.

FK Qabala and St Patrick’s Athletic are alive in their respective duals with Dinamo Tbilisi and Skonto Riga having netted in 2-1 losses away from home.

The ties between Ordabasy and Beitar Jerusalem; KF Laci and Inter Baku; FC Lahti and IF Elfsborg; FK Jelgava and Litex Lovech; Olimpic Sarajevo and Spartak Trnava; Sillamae Kalev and Hajduk Split; Neftchi Baku and Mladost Podgorica; FC Botosani and FC Tskhinvali; and MTK Budapest and FK Vojvodina are all square.

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