A roundup of all the day’s action from around Europe as the final round of UEFA Europa League qualifying concluded on Thursday:
Midtjylland 1-0 (2-1 agg.) Southampton
The 2014-15 season, it is not, for Southampton Football Club. The saving grace for Saints, who are winless in three to start the 2015-16 Premier League campaign, was the hope of European football at St Mary’s Stadium this season. They put even that in jeopardy last Thursday with a 1-1 first-leg draw at home to Midtjylland, the reigning Danish champions.
Fast forward seven days, and Saints are out of Europe (maybe for another 12 years, who knows) following a 1-0 away defeat in Herning, Denmark. Morten Rasmussen — better known simply as “Duncan” — scored the game’s only goal on a quick turn and strike in the 28th minute. With Southampton and West Ham United each crashing out in the qualifying stages, only Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool will represent the Premier League in the Europa League’s group stage. Any number of Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal or Manchester United could join them in the knockout rounds should they finish third in their Champions League group.
Borussia Dortmund 7-2 (11-5 agg.) Odds BK
Last week’s 4-3 victory over Odd Ballklubb was thrilling in its own right, if only for Borussia Dortmund’s comeback from 3-0 down after 22 minutes. Thursday’s 7-2 thrashing of the Norwegian side was thrilling as well, if only because it’s not everyday (or week, or month) that we see somebody put a touchdown and an extra point on the board.
Marco Reus bagged a hat trick (27th, 31st and 57th minutes) to go along with Shinji Kagawa’s brace (40th and 90th) and individual tallies scored by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gundogan. For what it’s worth, Odds were level on aggregate (though behind based on away goals) from the 19th minute to the 25th minute, when Mkhitaryan restored order. It’s those small victories that keep you going.
UEFA will hold the draw for the Europa League group stage in Monaco on Friday (8 am ET).
Elsewhere in Europa League qualifying action (Italicized teams advance)
Athletic Bilbao 0-1 (3-3 – away goals) Zilina
Jablonec 0-1 (0-1) Ajax
Saint-Etienne 1-0 (2-1) Milsami
Kairat 2-1 (2-2 – away goals) Bourdeaux
Fenerbahce 3-0 (4-0) Atromitos
Red Bull Salzburg 2-0 (2-2; 2-3 – PK shootout) Dinamo Minsk
Panathinaikos 2-2 (2-2 – away goals) Gabala FC
AZ Alkmaar 2-0 (4-3) Astra Giurgiu
Legia Warsaw 3-2 (4-2) FC Zorya
Standard Liege 3-1 (3-3 – away goals) Molde
Brondby 1-1 (1-6) PAOK
Hajduk Split 0-1 (0-2) Liberec
HJK 0-0 (1-5) Krasnodar
Thun 3-3 (4-6) Sparta Prague
Rosenborg 0-1 (3-1) Steaua Bucarest
Qarabag 3-0 (4-0) BSC Young Boys
Rubin Kazan 1-0 (2-1) Rabotnicki
Vojvodina 0-2 (0-5) Viktoria Plzen
Videoton 0-1 (0-4) Lech Poznan