Who Are Our Potential Europa League Opponents?

Everton will face MFK Ružomberok or SK Brann in the Europa League third qualifying round.

Our opponents will be confirmed on Thursday, 20 July, following the second leg of the second qualifying round.

SK Brann take a 1-0 lead heading into the fixture, having defeated MFK Ružomberok away earlier this week. 

Below, we take a detailed look at both teams to provide you with everything you need to know about our two potential opponents... 

MFK Ružomberok

Who are they?

Mestský futbalový klub Ružomberok a.s. - to give them their official title - are a Slovakian side that were founded in 1906.

Nicknamed Ruža (The Rose), the club's colours have traditionally been white, yellow and red, which are also featured on the town's flag. However, current sponsor Mondi Business Paper SCP introduced new colours - orange, black and white - in 2005.

They have won the Slovak Super Liga once, in their centenary year of 2006, and went on to secure a double by lifting the Slovak Cup the same year.

Where are they from and what is the place like?

Ružomberok is a town in northern Slovakia, in the historical Liptov region, with a population of approximately 30,000.

From the second half of the 10th century until 1918, it was part of the Kingdom of Hungary. After the break-up of Austria–Hungary in 1918, Ružomberok became a part of Czechoslovakia. However, when Czechoslovakia was broken up in 1939, it was incorporated into the first Slovak Republic and was a capital of one of the counties, the Tatra county (Tatranská župa).

In 1995, Ružomberok officially became a district town.

Where do they play?

MFK usually play their home games at the picturesque Ružomberok Štadión pod Čebraťom, a multi-purpose ground that has a capacity of 4,876.

Opened on 17 April 1955, it is named after the hill Čebrať, adjacent to which it is located, and the name of the stadium literally means ‘Stadium under the Čebrať Hill’.

Who plays for them?

The only four non-Slovakian players currently representing Ružomberok are Albania international defender Kristi Qose, Bosnia international striker Nermin Haskić, Macedonian Under-21 international midfielder Tihomir Kostadinov and Czech midfielder Erik Daniel.

Who is the manager?

Head coach Norbert Hrnčár is a former Slovakia international midfielder.

The 47-year-old has been with the club since 2016.

How did they qualify for the Europa League?

Ruža finished third last season behind champions Žilina and Slovan Bratislava to qualify for the 2017/18 Europa League.

SK Brann

Who are they?

SK Brann are a Norwegian side that were founded in 1908.

Nicknamed ‘The Reds’, they been in the Norwegian Premier League Tippeligaen since 1987, except for a one-season relegation after the 2014 campaign.

Brann have won the Norwegian Premier League on three occasions, most recently in 2007. They have also lifted the Norwegian Football Cup six times.

Everton and Brann clashed in 2008 in the round of 32 of the UEFA Cup, with the Blues winning 8-1 on aggregate. 

Where are they from and what is the place like?

Brann are based in Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city.

Bergen is a city and municipality in Hordaland on the west coast of Norway. The Bergen metropolitan region has approximately 420,000 inhabitants.

Where do they play?

Brann play their home games at the Brann Stadion, which holds 17,686.

The stadium lies three kilometres (1.9 miles) south of the centre of the city, at the foot of Mount Ulriken.

Who plays for them?

Iceland international Viðar Ari Jónsson is a key player in defence for Brann, while Polish goalkeeper Piotr Leciejewski has made more than 150 appearances for the club since joining in 2011.

Who is the manager?

Lars Arne Nilsen is a former professional footballer who is the current head coach of SK Brann.

After taking charge in 2015, he led the team to second place and direct promotion from the second-tier. Then, in 2016, he secured a second-place place in Tippeligaen, and was also named the coach of the year.

How did they qualify for the Europa League?

Brann finished second in the league in 2016 and occupy the same position during the current campaign with 16 games played.

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