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Preview: Hacken vs. Molde - prediction, team news, lineups

sportsmole.co.uk, 7 November 2023, 21:15
Hacken play host to Molde on Thursday knowing that only a victory will realistically do if they wish to keep their hopes of qualification for the Europa League knockout stages alive.

Meanwhile, Molde make the short trip to Sweden aware that recording a second successive win over Hacken will guarantee third spot and Europa Conference League football after Christmas as a bare minimum.

Match preview

After last season's surprise Swedish title triumph, everyone associated with Hacken would have had high hopes for the months that followed.

However, not only have the Wasps relinquished their crown and will finish in third place, they also face an early exit from Europe.

Three successive defeats have been posted in Group H, their solitary goal coming in the reverse fixture versus Molde to get back on level terms before they eventually lost by a 5-1 scoreline.

As a result, it has left Hacken in a position where defeat at Ullevi will leave them at least six points adrift at the bottom of the table with two matches remaining.

Barring a miracle, Hacken would then fail to secure Europa Conference League football for after Christmas, heaping the pressure on them to deliver on Thursday.

Per-Mathias Hogmo's team have prevailed just twice from six matches in all competitions, a return that will give Molde every confidence that they can record the double over their next opponents.

That said, aside from their 5-1 demolition of Hacken two weeks ago, the Norwegian giants have lost their other five matches in all competitions.

With three matches remaining, Molde are already out of contention to qualify for Europe in 2024-25 through the league, instead having to rely on winning the cup final against Bodo/Glimt.

For now, though, their solitary focus will be on this encounter, Erling Moe and his side aware that success against their Scandinavian opponents will all but guarantee a consolation prize of Europa Conference League football after Christmas if they are unable to finish ahead of second-placed Qarabag FK.

Hacken Europa League form:

W

D

W

L

L

L

Hacken form (all competitions):

L

D

W

L

L

W

Molde Europa League form:

L

L

W

Molde form (all competitions):

L

L

L

W

L

L

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Team News

With Edward Chilufya sustaining an injury against Malmo last time out, Srdjan Hrstic could get the nod down the centre of the attack.

Barring any further fitness issues, the remainder of the team may stay the same, but Even Hovland is in contention for a return to the middle of defence.

With Molde having improved during the defeat to Rosenborg, Moe could be happy to name the same starting lineup.

If an alteration is made, Eric Kitolano could be recalled in midfield, while Veton Berisha is an option in attack should Moe opt for a different look.

Hacken possible starting lineup:

Abrahamsson; Sandberg, Hammar, Ousou, Totland; Dahbo, Gustafson, Abdulrazak; Layouni, Hrstic, Sonko

Molde possible starting lineup:

Petersen; Oyvann, Hagelskjaer, Haugan; Lovik, Breivik, Ellingsen, Kaasa, Haugen; Eikrem, Gulbrandsen

We say: Hacken 1-2 Molde

Given the manner of their defeat in the reverse fixture, this feels like an uphill task for Hacken, particularly when they must throw caution to the wind. With that in mind, we are backing Molde to come out on top, albeit by a narrower scoreline compared to two weeks ago.

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