On Monday, Bala Town were drawn against Liechtenstein outfit FC Vaduz in the first round of Europa League qualifying, but who exactly are FC Vaduz?
Known as the Princely Club, FC Vaduz was founded in 1932 and is owned by the Princely Family of Liechtenstein. Though from Liechtenstein, they play their games in the Swiss League . They have gained access to the Europa League by winning the Liechtenstein Football Cup, the equivalent of the FA Cup, which they have won 19 times in the last 20 years.
The 2016/17 season was a disappointing one for FC Vaduz, as they were relegated from the top flight of Swiss football. They only managed to win 7 out of their 36 games, but did manage to win the Liechtenstein Football Cup.
As a result of their domestic success, FC Vaduz are no strangers to European competition. Though they have always entered the Europa League at the first qualifying round although they’ve never progressed past the third qualifying round.
Last season, they defeated Macedonian side Sileks 5-2 over two legs in the first qualifying round, but were then defeated by Danish side Midtjylland 5-2 over two legs in the second qualifying round.
Their current manager is Roland Vrabec, who took over the club in March 2017, two weeks after he himself was sacked by the German club Frankfurt FSV. Interestingly, he came up through the managerial system of German club Mainz, who have produced successful coaches such as the Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp and the former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel. He has no managerial experience in European competitions.
The Residenzler also don’t lack international experience, with four of the squad called up for the recent World Cup qualifier against Italy and the friendly against Finland.
FC Vaduz don’t possess many house hold names but do boast goalkeeper Peter Jehle who is a vastly experienced goalkeeper. He’s the Liechtenstein’s most capped player, with 126 caps. The 35 year-old has been a constant main-stay at for Vaduz having been at the club since 2009.
Their captain Franz Burgmeier is also a danger. The left midfielder has a lot experience, having played for clubs such as Basel, Switzerland’s most successful team. He also spent a season at English side Darlington back in 2008.