PREVIEW: EUROPA LEAGUE ACTION
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MICHAEL HADLEY - Wednesday, October 24, 2012
After an extra week off for the international break, the Europa League's seven participating Americans will be in action on Thursday in group stage action.

FC Steaua Bucuresti - Molde FK

Josh Gatt and Molde will travel to Romania to take on Group E leaders Steaua Bucuresti.

Gatt played just eight minutes against VfB Stuttgart, but the Norwegian team were able to pull off a 2-0 victory after losing to FC Copenhagen. Molde are currently tied for second in the group with three points.

Steaua defeated Copenhagen 1-0 and drew against Stuttgart, putting them atop the group at four points.

Over the weekend, Molde drew 1-1 with Stromsgodset. Gatt played 45 minutes in that, picking up a yellow card that will keep him out of Sunday's clutch match against Rosenborg BK.

AC Sparta Prague - Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC

A flailing Kiryat Shmona and Bryan Gerzicich will head to the Czech Republic in attempt to right the ship against Prague.

Winless in their last six Israeli league contests, in addition to their two Europa League group-stage contests, Gerzicich and crew won't have it easy in Prague, playing a team that is currently third in the Czech league.

Gerzicich played the full 90 minutes against Lyon in their last European outing, with the Israeli team giving up four goals in the loss.

Prague are coming off a 3-1 win against Athletic Bilbao in their previous Group I game, and will be looking for a win in order to keep pace with leaders Lyon.

NK Maribor - Tottenham Hotspur

Clint Dempsey and Tottenham will attempt to get their first win of their current Europa League campaign in Slovenia against Maribor.

After draws against Lazio and Panathinaikos, Tottenham are second from bottom in Group J.

Dempsey had started to click with his new squad before the international break, however the American forward and Hotspur struggled against Chelsea over the weekend in a 4-2 loss.

In the 1-1 draw in Athens three weeks ago, Dempsey played 64 minutes and had a few long-range efforts go wide.

Maribor lost 1-0 to Lazio in the second round of matches and are currently sitting in second place on three points in the group.

Rosenborg BK - FC Metalist Kharkiv

After missing the last round due to injury, Mikkel Diskerud is expected to play against Metalist in Norway.

Rosenborg are sitting on three points after a first round victory against SK Rapid Vienna and Terrence Boyd, but against Bayer Leverkusen fell flat in a 1-0 loss. Diskerud missed that game with a leg injury.

Metalist also defeated whipping boys Rapid Vienna, and their draw against Leverkusen has them tied at four points in Group K.

Rosenborg are third with three points, and need at least a draw to avoid putting themselves into too much of a hole in their quest for the knockout round.

They did defeat Sandnes Ulf 2-0 over the weekend, putting them in first place in Norway with just a few games to go in the domestic season. Diskerud played the full 90 minutes, and should do the same on Thursday.

Helsingborgs IF - Hannover 96

In the only American-on-American match of the round, Hannover and captain Steve Cherundolo will head to Olympiastadion in Sweden to face Alejando Bedoya and Helsingborg.

Hannover are coming off a 2-1 victory over Levante UD, leading Group L with four points.

Cherundolo played the full 90 minutes and has yet to miss a second of time in the Europa League this year. Over the weekend, Hannover fell 3-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Helsingborg got their first point of the group stage in a 2-2 draw against FC Twente, where Bedoya played just part of the first half after injuring his ribs in a collision.

In Swedish league action on Saturday, they drew 1-1 with Bedoya's former club Írebro on Saturday where the American picked up an assist in the 26th minute.

Cherundolo played 180 minutes for the USA in their two World Cup 2014 qualification matches last week.

Notes

Terrence Boyd could see action for SK Rapid Vienna against Leverkusen, but has fallen out of favor in Austria as Rapid have slipped in the Bundesliga rankings.
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