Aussies Abroad Preview: Hrustic's historic Camp Nou victory, Genreau one week from promotion

As fans prepare for a long weekend of festivities, many of our Socceroos look forward to a crucial round of domestic and continental football. 

Ajdin Hrustic kicked the celebrations off early on Thursday night, after a famous victory over Barcelona in the Europa League quarter-finals.

While Denis Genreau will be gearing up for a promotion party, with just two wins separating the midfielder from France's top flight.

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Possibly the most famous night in Eintracht Frankfurt's recent history, the German outfit overturned a first-leg deficit in the UEFA Europa League against FC Barcelona, by defeating the Catalans 3-2 at the Camp Nou. Australian midfielder Ajdin Hrustic was in the thick of the action late-on, with the Socceroo brought on for the last 20 minutes to hold a wave of Barcelona counter-attacks.

Such is the class of the Blaugrana, Hrustic and his men were pegged back during injury-time after being three goals ahead, yet managed to hold on in remarkable fashion, with the sea of Eintracht White in the stands sent into raptures as the final whistle blew, sealing their passage to the semi-finals - where they will face West Ham. 


The result in Europe might prove to be the spark that Frankfurt were looking for domestically, as Hrustic's team fight for the last European qualification spots in the Bundesliga. With nine league matches to play and five points to make up on their rivals, a win away against fellow continental hopefuls Union Berlin (Monday 1:30am AEST) has almost become essential for the Socceroo.

Meanwhile in the northern city of Hamburg, Jackson Irvine and FC St Pauli will get a golden chance to return to the top of the 2. Bundesliga, with Irvine facing off against lower-half Sandhausen away from home. Incredibly, just a single point separates St Pauli from both the automatic promotion position and the league leaders Schalke, with only five games yet to play.


Riley McGree's first game back for Middlesbrough after returning from injury didn't deliver the desired result for the side from the North-East, who slipped to eighth after the 1-0 loss at home Hull City. The search for victory for McGree will continue this weekend, with Boro travelling to promotion-bound AFC Bournemouth.

Despite the task, Middlesbrough have already showed that they have the resolve to defeat larger sides away from home, having already knocked out multiple Premier League outfits in the FA Cup.

Mainland Europe

The week of Easter may well be historic for Toulouse and young Socceroo Denis Genreau, with the side from the South of France needing two wins from the next seven days to secure automatic promotion to Ligue 1.

The first match comes during the weekend, with Toulouse matching up against league battlers Quevilly Rouen (Saturday 11pm AEST), in a match in which Genreau's side are expected to emerge victorious. With an 11-point gap from 3rd place being the worst-case scenario if Toulouse win, a second three points in their match mid-week against title challengers Sochaux (Wednesday 4am) could be the promotion clincher if their rivals elsewhere drop any points.


Just four games remain in the league for Fran Karacic and Brescia, with automatic promotion to Italy's first division still very much in their sights. Their upcoming opponent stands in the way, with Monza just two points in front of Karacic's side. That lead can be flipped however, if the Socceroo and his team win away from home against their promotion rivals (Tuesday 4:30am AEST), putting Karacic in prime position for Serie A football next season.

Joel King and Odense BK have recently accrued a month-long undefeated run in the Danish Superliga that has pushed the north coast side out of relegation contention and into a respectable mid-table position. King was been instrumental in that rise since his arrival in January, with the 21-year-old hoping to continue that form into their next match away at Viborg (Monday 2am AEST), the side who currently occupies the position above OB.

In Turkey, Awer Mabil and his side Kasimpasa broke a five-game winning run last weekend, and are set for their next clash at home to an in-form Adana Demirspor (Sunday 11pm AEST).

Meanwhile defender Aziz Behich will have the perfect opportunity to defeat a fallen Turkish giant this weekend, with his side Giresunspor looking to continue their strong form against Istanbul outfit Besiktas (Monday 3:30am AEST), who are suffering through their worst campaign in recent memory.

Gianni Stensness will be looking to make it 3 wins from 3 matches for Viking Fotballklubb in the Norwegian Eliteserien. Already the defensive midfielder has impressed since transitioning abroad from the A-League Men's competition, with a third consecutive league start on the cards, when Stensness comes up against mid-table outfit Odd.

Asia & The Middle-East

Martin Boyle is already loving life in the AFC Asian Champions League, with an assist in his second group match helping claim all three points for Saudi side Al-Faisaly. Boyle and his team will need to traverse a further two matches this week, starting with a top-of-the-group tie against Uzbek outfit Nasaf (Saturday 6:15am AEST), before backing up during the week to face the same side once again (Wednesday 6:15am AEST), with both matches possibly deciding who progresses through to the quarter-finals.

Fresh off his first goal in the J2 League with club side Fagiano Okayama, striker Mitch Duke will hope to turn his strike into a streak as he prepares to host another top-half outfit Albirex Niigata (Sunday 3pm AEST). Despite Duke's goal, Okayama failed once again to finish off their matches, with the team desperate to claim all three points this time around, as the race for promotion heats up in Japan.


The United States

Columbus Crew will need to snap a two-game losing streak if they are to return to the top of the MLS Eastern Conference, with their next test proving just as difficult for Milos Degenek's side, with current Conference runners-up Orlando City travelling north from Florida to Ohio (Sunday 9:30am AEST).