'Time to chase that childhood dream': Mabil on cusp of UEFA Champions League
Awer Mabil’s "childhood dream" of UEFA Champions League football could soon become a reality with his Midtjylland on the brink of UEFA Champions League football as they prepare to face off against Slavia Prague in the second leg playoff on Thursday morning (AEST).
After the two sides drew 0-0 in the first leg of the playoff in Prague last week, the winner of Thursday's match will proceed to the UEFA Champions League group stage.
For both Mabil and his Danish club, it would be their first time playing in Europe's elite top tier club competition.
This is also the furthest that Midtjylland have come in qualifying for the showcase competition with their previous record set in 2015 where they progressed to the third round qualifiers before being knocked out by Cypriot side APOEL.
Fast forward five years and Mabil’s side have placed themselves in good stead to earn an elusive spot in the competition.
They are already three games into their domestic competition and sit in fourth on the Superligaen table with consecutive victories after falling to defeat in their season opener.
Their UEFA Champions League journey began just over a month ago after they overcame Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad 1-0 in the second round qualifier before coming away with a 3-0 win against Swiss side Young Boys to book their place in the playoffs.
Prague are five matches into their season and are one of just two sides in the Czech top flight which are undefeated this campaign.
They are no stranger to Champions League football, having qualified for the group stages on two occasions – with their most recent appearance coming last season as they finished bottom in a group that featured Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan.
Midtjylland coach, Brian Priske, believes that mentality will be key as the club look to make history.
“It’s about keeping ourselves focused. If we do, I'm sure we'll get into the [Champions League] group stage.”
The second leg play-off between Midtjylland and Slavia Prague will kick off at 5am* on Thursday morning.
*Time displayed is AEST