Red Star Belgrade vs Spartak Trnava – Tuesday, August 7, 18:30 BST/19:30 CEST – Stadion Rajko Mitić, Belgrade, Serbia
Red Star Belgrade, or Crvena Zvezda in Serbian, may have been European champions in 1991. The collapse of Yugoslavia and the ensuing Civil War that ended in the country being split up into six countries meant that club football in the region has been in decline.
Although the club are reigning Serbian champions Red Star, like their rivals Partizan, are forced to sell all their best players abroad. This summer Aleksandar Pesić (Ittihad), Uroš Račić (Valencia) and Luka Adžić (Anderlecht) left the club.
The talent drain means that Serbian clubs have struggled in international competitions. As a result, Serbia’s UEFA five-year co-efficient standing means that Red Star are now forced to start their Champions League campaign in the first qualification round.
On the road to this stage, the 1991 European champions beat Spartaks Jūrmala and FK Suduva. In the Serbian SuperLiga, Red Star continue their dominance with three wins in their first three league games.
Spartak Trnava won their first ever Slovakian championship last season. Indeed, the club had their golden era in the 1960s and 1970s.
Back then Slovakia was still part of Czechoslovakia, and Spartak Trnava not only won five Czechoslovak titles between 1968 and 1972 but also reached the semifinal of the European Cup in 1969. Beaten by Ajax Amsterdam 3-2 on aggregate Spartak Trnava were one of the biggest clubs in the region.
Since then the club has won the Slovak Cup in 1991 and 1998. Going without a title for 20 years the title drought finally ended in 2018 with Spartak Trnava winning the Slovak championship ahead of Slovan Bratislava.
It has been a slow start to the current season, however. Spartak managed just three points from the first three games of the season.
Red Star Belgrade vs Spartak Trnava – Players to look out for:
#19 – Red Star Belgrade
Nikola Stojiljković will lead the attack for Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday. Signed on loan from Sporting Braga Stojiljković was developed by Red Star’s city rival FC Rad before moving to Cukaricki in 2013. Sold to Braga in 2015 Stojiljković struggled for regular first-team minutes, however, and was sent out on loan to Kayserispor in September 2017. But in 13 games the striker scored just twice – frustrated he has now returned home to Serbia where he hopes to regain his form.
Matej Oravec #24 – Spartak Trnava
Matej Oravec is likely to start from the bench on Tuesday. But the 20-year-old centre-back is considered one of the most talented defenders in Europe at the moment. Nominated for the Golden Boy Award by Tuttosport Oravec will slowly be integrated into the first team this season and has, without a doubt, a glorious future ahead of him.
Red Star Belgrade vs Spartak Trnava – Match Stats
- Serbian champions v Slovakian title holders
- Both teams started in the first qualifying round
- Trnava beat Legia in the previous round
- Hosts were European champions in 1991
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Red Star Belgrade vs Spartak Trnava – 2-1
Red Star Belgrade vs Spartak Trnava – Lineups
Red Star Belgrade:
Popović – Hajdin, Sumaila, Sumaila, Gobeljić – Jovičić, Jovančić – Milić, Simić, Srnić – Stojiljković
Head Coach: Vladan Milojević
Chudy – Conka, Godal, Toth, Kadlec – Rada, Gressak – Grendel, Sloboda, Jirka – Egho
Head Coach: Radoslav Latal
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.