Everything you need to know about Hibs' potential Europa League opponents

Hibernian have been drawn against either Drogheda United or Sweden's Malmo. We take a look at both potential qualifiers.

Markus Halsti in action for Malmo against Rangers.
SNS Group

Hibernian will face either Drogheda United of Ireland or Sweden's Malmo in their quest to reach the second round of qualifiers in the Europa League.

The Swedes will go into the fixture as strong favourites, with far more European experience, and having beaten Scottish opposition in 2011/12 in the shape of Rangers.

The Irish side have only ever faced Swedish opposition once before, going down 4-1 to Helsingborgs in the 2007/08 Europa League qualifiers.

Who are the possible opponents on the 18th and 25th of July? How did they get to this stage and what would be the best way to get there if you plan on making the trip?

Drogheda United

Who?

Drogheda United play in Drogheda in County Louth, about 30 miles north of Dublin. The town has a population of around 30,000. They're certainly feeling confident...

How did they qualify?

Drogheda finished four points behind eventual League of Ireland champions Sligo Rovers. They were winners of the League of Ireland Cup, beating Shamrock Rovers 3-1 in the final.

Best results in Europe

Drogheda have a relatively successful record in European football, having won five of the 14 matches that they've played on the continent. Arguably their greatest result was a 4-2 aggregate win over HJK Helsinki. They were only eventually eliminated on penalties by I.K. Start.

Current squad

Declan O'Brien is the club's all-time top goalscorer, and should provide the greatest danger. He was the club's top scorer with 12 goals last season.

Stadium

The exceptionally named Hunky Dorys Park loans itself to all sorts of David Bowie related puns. 2,000 supporters can be accomodated to watch their Heroes.

Trivia

Drogheda's biggest ever defeat came against Hibernians. Cork Hibernians, who beat them 8-1 in January 1972. They are also the 'sister club' of Turkish side Trabzonspor.

How to get there

This one shouldn't cause too many problems. Ryanair offer regular direct flights between Edinburgh and Dublin, which at the time of writing were available for £50. There are good train links between Dublin and Drogheda.

Malmo

Who?

Malmo are, appropriately enough, based in Malmo, which is the third largest city in Sweden, offering a home to some 300,000 people. It's a regular feature on lists of the world's cleanest cities.

How did they qualify?

The Swedish side came third in the 2012 Allsvenskan, finishing just three points behind eventual winners IF Elfsborg and just one point behind BK Hacken. They've won 19 Swedish league titles.

Best results in Europe

Malmo have a strong European pedigree, and their greatest success was in the 1978/79 European Cup, when they only narrowly lost out to Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest in the final. Forest declined the invitation to play in the Intercontinental Cup in the same year, so Malmo represented Europe against Paraguay's Olimpia, and were beaten 3-1 on aggregate.

Current squad

Swedish under-21 Dardan Rexhepi, Finnish international midfielder Markus Halsti and Swedish international Pontus Jansson are the only survivors from Malmo's 2-1 aggregate win over Rangers in 2011. South African international Tokelo Rantie is likely to be a significant goal-threat, while midfielder Erik Friberg made his full debut for Sweden last year.

Stadium

The highly impressive Swedbank Stadion can hold up to 21,000 fans, and was only opened in 2009. Sweden have played three matches at the stadium, winning each and scoring nine goals.

Trivia

Both Malmo and Hibernian are former clubs of Jonatan Johansson, who (I think) expects a competitive game if Malmo progress...

How to get there

This one isn't easy. There are direct flights between London Stansted and Malmo for around £80 return at (at the time of writing), so as long as you don't mind a long-haul (albeit relatively budget) trip from Edinburgh to Stansted, you will be fine. Return flights between Edinburgh and Stockholm are relatively cheap with SAS and Ryanair (around £170), but it's a four-and-a-half hour train journey between the two cities, which will set you back another £40 or so.

It might seem counter-intuitive, but the easiest way to do it might actually be to fly to Copenhagen (£220 return), and then get the train to Malmo. It shouldn't more than an hour, and only costs £8.

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