So who are Dundalk's Europa League opponents KI Klaksvik of the Faroe Islands

Wed, Sep 30 2020

Faroe Islands Credit: Macdara Ferris (ETPhotos)

After a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Sheriff Tiraspol last week, Dundalk welcome Faroese side KÍ Klaksvík to the Aviva Stadium this Thursday for the Europa League Play-Off. 

Who are KÍ Klaksvík?

Also known as ‘KÍ’ they are a Faroese professional football club based in Klaksvík the second largest town of the Faroe Islands.

The club was founded in 1904 and is one of the most successful clubs in Faroese football, having won the Faroe Islands Premier League 18 times and the Faroe Islands Cup 6 times.

‘KÍ’ had won 17 of their 18 league titles by 1999 but failed to win their 18th until 2019. This 20-year drought saw them overtaken by HB as the most successful domestic side in Faroese football. 

By defeating Dinamo Tbilisi 6-1 in the previous round they became the first Faroese team to reach the Europa League Playoff Round 

What European pedigree do  KÍ Klaksvík have?

KI is the best performing Faroese team in the Europa League by nature of reaching this round. They were helped in some part after being awarded a 3-0 victory over Slovan Bratislava in the Champions League 1st Qualifying Round in August. The game was cancelled by UEFA after a member of the Bratislava squad contracted COVID-19.

Their first foray in European competition came in the 1992/93 season when they were comfortably beaten 6-1 on aggregate in the Champions League Preliminary Round by Skonto Riga of Latvia.

KI’s biggest win came in 2019/20 over Tre Fiori from San Marino when they beat the semi-professionals 9-1 over two legs. 

In the 1995/96 edition of the Cup Winners Cup, the Faroese side recorded an impressive 3-2 victory over Israeli giants Maccabi Haifa but lost the second leg 4-0 and failed to progress.

Who to watch out for?

The Klaksvík squad is made up of mostly Faroese players with a smattering of foreign imports. 

Striker Páll Klettskard could be a dangerman after he bagged a hat-trick in the 6-1 defeat of Dinamo Tbilisi in the last round. 

Jóannes Bjartalid who plays attacking midfield or wide is another to look out for. The 22-year-old has 13 goals and 13 assists in 20 league games this season. 

Who is their manager? 

KÍ are managed by Mikkjal Thomassen the 44-year-old was appointed in 2015 and before that he managed B36 Tórshavn from 2009 - 2014. To date, he has won two Faroese League titles, two Faroese Cups and a Super Cup. He has managed in the Europa League 14 times, winning four times, drawing five and losing five. 

Who will the winners of the tie face?

The winner of the tie between Dundalk and KÍ Klaksvíkar will qualify for the Europa League Group Stage. The draw will take on Friday. 

Where can I watch the match?

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the play-off round is a single leg and will be played behind closed doors but RTÉ’s cameras will be in the Aviva Stadium 

Their coverage begins at 7.00pm and the game kicks-off at 7.30pm with Darragh Maloney on commentary assisted by former Faroe Islands assistant manager Johnny McDonnell on co-commentary duty.

What is at stake?

Just the small matter of €2,920,000 is at stake. That money will end up resting in the account of the winners of the tie. Whoever progresses to the group stage will earn a further €190,000 for each point they can get. This compares with €120,000 when Dundalk last played in the Europa League group stages in 2016 and €70,000 in 2011 when Shamrock Rovers failed to get a point in the group stages.

Additional reporting by Macdara Ferris