European Away Days: Shamrock Rovers vs Breiðablik

Shamrock Rovers have touched down in Iceland to face Breidablik in the second leg of their 2023/24 Europa Conference League first-round qualification tie.

The Hoops will travel to Kópavogsvöllur, a multi-use stadium based in Kopavogur, just south of the nation’s capital, Reykjavik.

Stephen Bradley’s side were surprisingly beaten 1-0 in Tallaght Stadium in the first leg. Despite an improved second-half performance, the Icelandic outfit left Dublin as rightful winners after a fantastically drilled performance.

Rovers are without Jack Byrne, Trevor Clarke, and Neil Farrugia, but surely will pull the trigger on starting either Graham Burke or Johnny Kenny to provide optimal assistance for Rory Gaffney up-front.


Breidablik was founded in 1950 but didn’t play its first competitive game until 1957.

They spent their early years in the lower leagues of the Icelandic footballing system. That all changed when they won the 1. deild karla, Iceland’s second division in 1970, earning them promotion to the top flight for the first time.

Breidablik took their place as the stereotypical yo-yo club, spending the next several decades in a constant loop repeat of promotions and relegations.

Since winning the 1. deild karla for the sixth time in 2005, Breidablik has established itself as a permanent fixture in the Icelandic top-tier, Besta deild karla.

Breidablik won the Icelandic Cup for the first time in 2009, and carried that momentum to the following season, when they won the topflight title for the first time in 2010.

They’re currently 15 matches into their current campaign. Vikingur Reykjavik leads the way, but Breidablik is only eight points off the top in third position as they chase another lucrative European spot.

European History

Breidablik is thriving in this golden era that started back in 2009, and that brought European adventures for the club and its fanbase.

They made their European debut against Motherwell in the 2010/11 Europa League first qualifying round, losing 2-0 on aggregate.

The Iceland natives have been a part of the early qualification round for the Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League ever since.

Rosenborg, Sturm Graz, Austria Wien, Aberdeen, and Istanbul Başakşehir are some of the more notable sides they’ve faced in their European runs.

Breidablik is already three games into their current qualification campaign.
They were involved in this season’s Champions League preliminary round, which they utterly dominated.

San Marino’s Tre Penne was smashed 7-1, and a 5-0 victory against Montenegro’s Buducnost Podgorica sent them on a collision course with Shamrock Rovers.

Shamrock Rovers vs Breidablik

Stephen Bradley’s side isn’t out of the tie but struggled against the suffocating style of their Nordic opponents in the opening leg.

Damir Muminovic blasted a free-kick past Rovers keeper, Leon Pohls. But, the likes of Viktor Einarsson, and Gisli Eyjolfsson will need to be curtailed in the Breidablik midfield.

It’s a side with a clear identity of producing home-grown talent, as their current squad is wedged with Icelandic players. Breidablik is where Burnley’s Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Premier League regular, Gylfi Sigurdsson began their youth careers.

Shamrock Rovers have been criticised for failing to reach the heights of last season’s stellar performances, but still sit four points clear at the top of the Premier Division.

Before turning their focus on Breidablik, Rovers only lost once in their previous seven outings, but drew 0-0 to relegation-threatened Drogheda, and lost 2-0 to Dundalk before welcoming their Icelandic counterparts to Tallaght.

Denmark giants Copenhagen awaits the winners of this tie in the Champions League second round of qualification, but Rovers will have to turn around their current deficit if they’re to visit the Danish capital.

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