PREVIEW: EUROPA LEAGUE ACTION
MICHAEL HADLEY - Wednesday, November 7, 2012
With the first phase of the round robin format complete, the handful of Americans in the Europa League will face their most recent foes at the opposite location as their previous meeting.

Molde - Steaua Bucharest

Josh Gatt and Molde will be out for revenge as they host Romanian Steaua Bucharest in Norway.

The American flanker played 69 minutes in the 2-0 loss two weeks ago, a game that thrust Bucharest to the top of the group. Molde are in third, one point behind Kobenhavn who drew with Stuttgart in the last round.

Gatt has been battling injuries all season, most recently returning from a leg issue that slowed down the speedy youngster.

Molde sit atop the Tippeligaen by a single point over Stromsgodset.

Ironi Kiryat Shmona - Sparta Praha

Following a loss in Prague, Bryan Gerzicich's Israeli club team will try to make up ground on Sparta Praha in Group L.

Gerzicich played 77 minutes and picked up a yellow card in the holding midfield role in the last round, but the porous Shmona defense couldn't slow the hosts in the 3-1 defeat.

Gerzicich and company haven't picked up a point since their first game in the group stage.

Shmona are currently five points back of the second transition place of the group, five points behind Praha with three games to play. A loss would eliminate them from contention while a win would see their hopes rekindled.

In the Ligat Ha'al, Shmona are in seventh with 11 points, including only one win in their last five games.

Tottenham Hotspur - Maribor

Clint Dempsey played the final 15 minutes and keeper Brad Friedel rested back in England two weeks ago when the two teams drew in Slovenia.

Tottenham have drawn all three of their Europa League games and sit third in the tightly packed Group J. Lazio lead the group with five points while Maribor have four following an early win and their draw with Hotspur.

The North London club have had a bad two weeks in the English Premier League, beating lowly Southampton 2-1, then losing to Norwich City 2-1 and Wigan Athletic 1-0. In spite of the losses, they still sit in fifth place of the EPL, tied with Everton on points but three behind in goal difference.

It is likely Friedel will continue to rest during the Europa League games, while Dempsey will continue to play a supporting role.

Bayer Leverkusen - Rapid Vienna

Rapid Vienna and Terrence Boyd will go on the road to play for their Europa League lives against David Yelldell and Group K leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

Two weeks ago Boyd came off the bench for Rapid, taking two of their three shots on goal and three of their six shots overall. Leverkusen were much more potent in their attack, eventually winning 4-0 on the road.

Yelldell was an unused substitute again for Leverkusen, and while Boyd has seen irregular action lately, he has been Rapid's best attacking option in their three Europa League games so far.

Rapid's best chance at advancing would be to win or draw with Leverkusen while hoping Mikkel Diskerud and Rosenborg can defeat Metalist. A loss or draw for Rapid coupled with a Metalist win or draw would eliminate the Austrian club from advancement.

Metalist Kharkiv - Rosenborg

Mikkel Diskerud will be searching for redemption after a costly mistake led to a stoppage time winner for Metalist.

After playing 89 minutes for Rosenborg, Diskerud's foul in the Metalist attacking third warranted a yellow card for the American and on the ensuing free kick, the Ukrainians capitalized and stole three points.

With Metalist and Leverkusen running away with the top of Group K, a win or draw is essential for Rosenborg to keep pace. The Norwegian side are currently in third with three points to Leverkusen and Metalist at seven.

Diskerud will undoubtedly feature on the road in Kharkiv, with some of his best performances of the season coming in the Europa League.

Hannover 96 - Helsingborg

American defender Steve Cherundolo and Hannover will play host to Alejandro Bedoya and Helsingborg.

Two weeks ago, Helsingborg thought they had stolen a point after a 90th minute equalizer, but the ever-impressive Didier Yan Konan managed a 94th minute winner for Hannover, securing the lead in Group L once again.

Cherundolo and Bedoya are both expected to feature for their respective teams, with both playing integral roles in the on-field operations.

While Hannover nearly have advancement locked up atop the group, Helsingborg have secured only one point in a draw with FC Twente and will need to show much better in their final three games.