Malmo and Sivasspor go head to head at the Eleda Stadion in the first of their two-legged Europa League qualifying playoff round clash on Thursday.
The visitors head into the game without a win from their opening three games of the 2022-23 campaign and will be looking to end this dry spell and place a foot in the group stages of the European competition.
Malmo returned to winning ways in the Swedish Allsvenskan as they comfortably brushed aside Sundsvall 3-1 when the sides met at the Eleda Stadion last Sunday.
A first-half brace from Isaac Kiese Thelin and Veljko Birmancevic’s 39th-minute strike set the hosts on their way to all three points before 23-year-old Saku Ylatupa pulled one back in the 68th minute.
Prior to that, Malmo saw their three-game winning streak in the league come to an end on August 7, when Marcus Mathisen and Christian Kouakou found the target to help Sirius come back from behind and claim a 2-1 victory.
Mauro Mayer’s men now turn their attention to the Europa League qualifiers, where they are now 180 minutes away from the group stages of the European tournament after claiming a 5-2 aggregate win over Dudelange in the third round.
Malmo, who were dumped out of the Champions League qualifiers, have now picked up an impressive seven wins from their last eight games on grit home turf across all competitions, with a 2-0 loss against Zalgiris on July 27 being the only exception.
Elsewhere, Sivasspor were denied their first win of the 2022-23 Turkish Super Lig campaign as they were on the receiving end of a 3-0 thrashing against Adana Demirspor last time out.
In a one-sided affair at the Yeni Adana Stadyumu, goals from Younes Belhanda, Henry Onyekuru and Babajide David Akintola saw the home side maintain their perfect start to the new top-flight campaign.
Sivasspor have now failed to win any of their three outings across all competitions this season, losing 4-0 to Trabzonspor in the Super Cup final on May 7 before playing out a 1-1 draw with Gaziantep in their league opener on August 6.
Riza Calimbay’s side, who secured an 11th-placed finish in the Super Lig and clinched the Turkish Cup crown last term, will now be looking to pick up their first competitive win since May and place one foot in the Europa League group stages.
Malmo will take to the pitch without the services of 24-year-old forward Adi Nalic, who picked up an ACL injury in April’s clash with Varnamo.
He is joined on the club’s injury table by Malian international Mahame Siby, who is set to miss his sixth consecutive game through a hip problem.
Veteran forward Ola Toivonen was involved in three of Malmo’s five goals in the previous round and the 36-year-old should spearhead the attack once again, alongside Mohamed Buya Turay and former Djurgarden man Joseph Ceesay.
Meanwhile, Sivasspor will be without the experience of 34-year-old midfielder Hakan Arslan, who suffered a calf muscle injury in the Super Cup clash against Trabzonspor on July 30.
Former New England Revolution defender Samba Camara is also out of contention for the Super Lig side after picking up a knee injury in May’s game against Kayserispor.
Malmo possible starting lineup:
Dahlin; Nielsen, Moisander, Olsson; Berget, Pena, Rakip, Larsson; Turay, Ceesay, Toivonen
Sivasspor possible starting lineup:
Yoldiirim; Paluli, Appindangoye, Osmanpasa, Erdal; Cofie, Ulvestad; Yesilyurt, Kesgin, Gradel; Yatabare