Aussies Abroad: Brad Smith and Bailey Wright back in business

A new season beckons for Brad Smith as the MLS gets underway this weekend, while two Socceroos are set to go head to head in England.

Here is where our Aussies in Europe and Asia are set to do battle over the coming days. 

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This weekend spells the beginning of the MLS season which means it will be our first time to see Smith in action since his Seattle Sounders fell to defeat in last season’s showcase event.

First up on the Sounders’ calendar will be a home fixture against Minnesota United who they managed to overcome in last season’s conference finals.

Across the Atlantic, Bailey Wright made a long-awaited return to the pitch for Sunderland in their midweek fixture at Wigan Athletic.

It turned out to be a bitter-sweet night as his side were outdone 2-1. They will need to quickly shift their focus to this weekend’s showdown with Kenny Dougall’s Blackpool.

The Black Cats hold a six point advantage over their promotion rivals ahead of their meeting at Bloomfield Road on Saturday. Their last meeting ended all square with the north-east club coming from behind to rescue a point.

In Japan, record-shattering Mitch Langerak will be between the sticks for Nagoya Grampus when they host Sagan Tosu on Sunday.

The Aussie shot stopper recently recorded his ninth clean sheet on the bounce, yes, you read that correctly!

His side edged out Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0 in their previous fixture which adds to a growing tally that currently stands at 818 minutes without picking the ball up from the back of the net.

Harry Souttar will be in his usual centre back role for Stoke City when they face off against Preston North End in their Championship fixture on Saturday.

Back-to-back defeats for the Potters have seen them slowly drop in the standings while a third loss could see them drop out of the top half of the table.

In Denmark, Awer Mabil’s Midtjylland meet Randers on Monday night for their Superligaen affair.

His side are on a four match winning streak and could further consolidate top spot on the ladder if they make it five in a row on Monday night.

Meanwhile, Alex Gersbach and Zach Duncan’s AGF Aarhus have a date with second placed Brondby on Sunday.

In the Bundesliga, Mathew Leckie’s Hertha Berlin have a relegation six-pointer with Mainz on Monday night.

The men from the capital sit one place above the relegation zone while their upcoming opponents are situated just above them with only two points separating the two teams.

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This crucial clash could be hard to call given that the two sides could not be split in their first meeting with 0-0 the final score back in December.

Elsewhere, Ajdin Hrustic’s Eintracht Frankfurt will be targeting another victory as they travel to Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.

Making our way to Greece where James Jeggo and his Aris FC will be looking to return to the winners circle when they travel to Panathinaikos on Sunday.

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Jeggo’s side were soundly beaten by AEK last time out which means that they now only hold a three point advantage over the team from the capital.

Milos Degenek’s Crvena Zvezda entertain Radnik Surdulica in the Serbian SuperLiga on Saturday.

In Turkey, Aziz Behich will be featuring for Kayserispor on Friday when they make the trip to Konyaspor.

Behich’s side have dropped back into one of the four relegation places and are without a win since the beginning of March.

In the Israeli Premier League, Nikita Rukavytsya will be pushing for a place in the starting line-up when his Maccabi Haifa host Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Saturday.

The Aussie striker is being eased back into action following an injury and was an unused substitute in his side’s 3-0 win over Ashdod earlier this week.

Brandon Borrello and his Fortuna Dusseldorf will be on the road this weekend as they travel to Osnabruck for their 2. Bundesliga match.