Aussies Abroad Preview: Socceroos set to feature in season openers

Two Socceroos are set to take to the pitch as the Saudi Pro League campaign begins this weekend while Aziz Behich is primed to make his debut for Kayserispor in the Turkish SuperLig.

Socceroos Craig Goodwin and Mitch Duke will be in action this Sunday (AEDT) as the 2020/21 Saudi Pro League season commences.

Goodwin is expected to make his debut for Abha Club after joining the club on loan from Al-Wehda.

Goodwin was one of Al-Wehda’s star performers last season, picking up seven assists and four goals as his side finished the campaign in a record high 4th place and qualified for the AFC Champions League for the first time in their history.

The Australian’s new side, Abha Club , finished 9th in last season, winning 11 games, drawing 5 and losing 16.

Their first match of the season sees them travel to Al Shabab with kick off scheduled for 2am on Sunday.

Duke will be turning out for Al-Taawoun on the same morning with his side set to face off against Al-Faisaly at 2:10am.

Duke linked up with the Saudi outfit at the back-end of last season which saw his side finish in an underwhelming 16th position.

They entered the ACL hub in Qatar shortly after the season finished where they managed to make it out of their group before being knocked out in the round of 16.

Heading to Turkey where Aziz Behich is likely to debut for Kayserispor in their SuperLig affair against Sivasspor at 12am on Sunday.

Behich’s new side sit in 10th position in the 21-team competition while their upcoming opponents sit in 13th spot.

In the English Premier League, Maty Ryan will be in between the sticks for Brighton & Hove Albion when they meet Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park at 12am on Monday.

Brighton have suffered back-to-back league defeats against Manchester United and Everton respectively and occupy 15th position coming into this fixture.

Aaron Mooy is set to be involved in a blockbuster clash on Sunday night when his Shanghai SIPG do battle against fierce rivals Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League at 10:35pm.

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Mooy’s side sit top of their conference on 32 points and have a four point lead over second placed Beijing Guoan.

However, they fell to a shock defeat last time out against Chongqing Lifan and will be eager to make things right in the derby this weekend.

Stoke City defender Harry Souttar will be featuring in the heart of defence for the Potters when they travel to Luton at 1am on Sunday.

Harry Souttar
Harry Souttar

Souttar’s side are on a four-match unbeaten streak which dates back to mid-September in which time the towering defender has collected three cleansheets and two man of the match awards.

Elsewhere in the Championship, Massimo Luongo will be gearing up for Sheffield Wednesday when they go head to head against Birmingham on Sunday at 1am.

Luongo has become one of the key members of Wednesday’s starting eleven this season and will have a tough job on his hands at St Andrews this Sunday as they take on a Blues side who are undefeated so far.

Martin Boyle’s Hibernian have a date with Ross County in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday, with kick off scheduled for 1am.

Hibs have averaged two points per game after the first 10 league matches of the campaign and sit in 3rd spot on the table but they have Aberdeen hot on their heels who are two points behind them but have two games up their sleeves.

Over to Denmark where Awer Mabil’s Midtjylland are set to host Odense at 1am on Sunday.

Midtjylland are currently on a six match unbeaten run which saw them recently qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time.

The reigning champions have been a bit scratchy in the league with two wins, a draw and a defeat recorded from their four matches.

Awer Mabil
Awer Mabil (R)

In the German Bundesliga, Ajdin Hrustic could make his Eintracht Frankfurt debut on Monday when his new club play Koln at 12:30am.

Eintracht have had an inspired start to the season and sit in 3rd spot ahead of the league’s return following the international break.

Hrustic will be hoping to seamlessly slot into the starting line-up this weekend as they look to maintain their unbeaten record against their 16th placed opponents.

Ajdin Hrustic Frankfurt
Ajdin Hrustic

Mathew Leckie and his Hertha Berlin entertain Stuttgart at 12:30am on Sunday.

Berlin have endured consecutive defeats after starting their season with a comfortable victory away to Werder Bremen.

Leckie is set to be available for selection after missing his side’s last two fixtures due to a minor neck injury.

Heading to the Netherlands where Daniel Arzani will be in contention for a starting place for FC Utrecht when they face off against FC Groningen on Monday at 1:45am.

The Aussie winger is slowly establishing himself at the Dutch club and could be in line to make his full debut for the club come Monday morning.

In the Greek Super League, James Jeggo will be taking to the pitch for table-toppers Aris Thessaloniki when they meet newly-promoted Apollon Smirnis at 2:15am on Sunday.

Aris have been an unstoppable force in the Greek top flight with 10 points collected from their four matches this season.

Apollon are back in the top tier after a season’s absence, they have played just one match this campaign in which they registered a 1-0 win at home to Larissa.

Apostolos Giannou will be gearing up for OFI Crete when they go head to head against Panathinaikos at 12am on Monday.

Crete occupy 7th position on the league table while their upcoming opponents sit in second last spot.

Over to Belgium where Trent Sainsbury will be featuring for Kortrijk when they battle it out against KV Mechelen at 3:30am on Sunday.

Kortrijk are winless since mid-September and sit in 10th spot on the Belgian Pro League table while their opponents occupy 14th on the ladder.

In Japan, Mitch Langerak will be going in search of his 10th cleansheet of the season when his Nagoya Grampus host league leaders Kawasaki Frontale at 9pm on Sunday.

Another five star mid-week performance saw the Aussie shot stopper register yet another shut-out as his side saw off Consadole Sapporo 3-0.

Grampus will be heading into their clash with the league leaders high on confidence as they are the only side to beat Kawasaki in the competition this season.

Adam Taggart’s Suwon Bluewings will be aiming to extend their four match unbeaten streak when they travel to Busan I’Park at 4pm on Sunday.

Suwon seemed to have found their rhythm at just the right time with the club currently in 8th position – six points clear of the relegation spot.

Busan are one of the few times that failed to beat the Bluewings this season with Taggart’s side drawing 0-0 in their first match before coming away with a 3-1 victory in their most recent meeting at the end of August.

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Bailey Wright will be back in action for Sunderland at 1am on Sunday when they come up against Swindon Town.

The Black Cats are yet to taste defeat this season and have kept an impressive three consecutive league cleansheets.

Their defensive shut-outs have been in large thanks to Wright and his trusted backline which have the best record in the division with just one goal conceded from their four fixtures.

In the 2. Bundesliga, Brandon Borrello’s Fortuna Dusseldorf will entertain Jahn Regensburg at 10:30pm on Sunday.

Back-to-back defeats has seen Fortuna slip down the table while their upcoming opponents are undefeated after their first three matches.