What to look out for on Thursday

HNK Hajduk Split have a new star, Trabzonspor have brought back an old one, and Śląsk Wrocław have brought in an interior designer; UEFA.com picks out some ones to watch.

Hajduk discovery Franck Ohandza
Hajduk discovery Franck Ohandza ©Getty Images

Hajduk star fulfils dad's dream
As they head to Slovenia to take on Koper in an Adriatic coast derby, Hajduk Split are hoping they have unearthed a jewel in summer signing Franck Ohandza. Acquired from Croatian First League rivals Sesvete, for whom he scored 15 goals last term, the 23-year-old Cameroonian registered twice in the first qualifying round against Estonia's Sillamäe Kalev, and set up his side's opener after a sparkling dribble in Sunday's 1-1 season-opening derby draw at Dinamo Zagreb.

"My father was a great player and had a promising career ahead of him, but my grandfather forbade him from playing and sent him to school," said Ohandza. "He became an engineer, but he was sad about his football career and dreamed that one day I would play serious football for a big club. I hope he feels a bit better now." Koper, meanwhile, are seeking vindication too; Three Canaries' regulars Goran Galešić, Matej Pučko and captain Ivica Guberac all came close to joining Hajduk in recent years.

Elvir Islamović, Rok Šinkovc

Shota Arveladze on the bench
Shota Arveladze on the bench©Getty Images

Arveladze's Trabzonspor comeback
Appointed at the start of the month, new coach Shota Arveladze is anything but an unknown quantity at Trabzonspor. The fifth-highest scorer in UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League history with 27 goals, the Georgian striker sparkled with the Black Sea club from 1993–97 and became only the second foreign player to finish as the Turkish league's top marksman, hitting 25 in the 1995/96 campaign.

The goals kept flowing at Ajax, Rangers and AZ Alkmaar, before the 42-year-old moved into coaching, the Trabzonspor appointment following spells with Süper Lig rivals Kayserispor and Kasımpaşa. "Eighteen years is a long time to be away," said Arveladze. "I like the people in Trabzon, so I couldn't stay away any longer. Trabzon is a nice city and our goal here is obvious."

The Kantrida Stadium overlooks the Adriatic
The Kantrida Stadium overlooks the Adriatic©AFP

Rijeka's clifftop fortress
Having battled through from the second qualifying round to the group stage last season, Rijeka will hope their Kantrida home stadium continues to have a talismanic quality, with the Croatian team going into their meeting with Aberdeen unbeaten in 12 UEFA games (W8 D4) at the picturesque arena since a 2-1 loss to Metalist Kharkiv back in 2009.

This could easily be Rijeka's last European game at the old ground, built on the site of an old quarry, a stone's throw from the Adriatic. Reconstruction work is imminent, with plans in place to upgrade the site to a 14,000-seater covered stadium. Whether it continues to be a lucky venue for the hosts is an issue of national importance: Croatia have yet to lose in 11 matches at the Kantrida.

Elvir Islamović

Gecov - one of the stars of U21 EURO in 2011
Gecov - one of the stars of U21 EURO in 2011©Getty Images

Śląsk's grand designer
Midfielder Marcel Gecov will look to be the architect of IFK Göteborg's downfall after signing for Śląsk Wrocław, the 27-year-old Czech having an exciting double life as an architect and interior designer. In parallel with his football career, the once-capped international is helping to run a practice back at home.

"I have been interested in architecture and design for a very long time," he explained. "I think about aesthetics every day and I ask myself why things look like they look, and whether they could look better. I have a good eye, and very often I can pick out details that others would miss. I do not consider myself a design professional. The creative process is what I enjoy most."

Piotr Koźmiński, Ondřej Zlámal

Željezničar, hungry for victory
Željezničar, hungry for victory©Fedja Krvavac

Željezničar's Hungarian grudge
Bosnia and Herzegovina has no land border with Hungary, but some fans of Sarajevo-based Željezničar bring more than a little baggage into the club's latest meeting with Ferencváros. Željezničar lost out to Ferencváros on penalties on home soil after trading 2-1 away wins in the 1971/72 UEFA Cup quarter-finals, and – more grievously – missed out on a 1985 UEFA Cup final encounter with Real Madrid after conceding a late second-leg goal at home against Videoton.

The Railwaymen's Riad Bajić – who scored twice against Balzan Youths in the first qualifying round – thinks revenge is overdue. "It's time to get even with the Hungarians for the two previous defeats," the 21-year-old said. "Ferencváros are the favourites, but we're going to spring a surprise."

Fuad Krvavac

Putting Botoşani on the map
One of Romania's 42 counties, Botosani boasts the nation's most celebrated composer George Enescu, its national poet Mihai Eminescu, and one of its most famous artists Ştefan Luchian, but – until now – has been something of a footballing black spot. However, having disposed of Georgia's Tskhinvali in the last round, Botoşani are enjoying being the first European contenders in an area which prides itself on producing Romania's most tasty cherries.

Sweet victory, however, is what Leo Grozavu's side are chasing as they come up against Legia Warszawa. "It's obvious that there is a big difference between Legia and us, but we will do our best to qualify – why not?" said the former defender, whose team have brought in 14 new players over the summer.

Paul-Daniel Zaharia

Caley Thistle won the 2015 Scottish Cup
Caley Thistle won the 2015 Scottish Cup©Getty Images

'Caley Jags' get Celtic help
Inverness Caledonian Thistle boss John Hughes will be tapping into the knowledge of close friend and Celtic assistant manager John Collins ahead of the Highlanders' maiden European campaign against Astra Giurgiu. The Romanian outfit tackled Celtic in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage and Hughes has turned to his former Celtic team-mate for inside information.

"We will get a lot of information and knowledge on them from John," said Hughes who led the club to their first major trophy, last season's Scottish Cup. "We'll get the DVDs and get a right good look at them. They'll be favourites and it is going to be very difficult, but it's one we have to prepare for and look forward to."

Alex O'Henley

Strømsgodset back in Bohemia
A little déjà vu lies in store for Strømsgodset on Thursday as they return to the Czech Republic two years after taking on Jablonec in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round. The Norwegian club lost 2-1 away and were then beaten 3-1 at home, but they will be hoping for a better outcome 50km away from Jablonec in Mlada Boleslav.

Their upcoming opponents are eager to learn more about the visitors, however, having watched both those matches from August 2013. "The Norwegians made it very difficult for Jablonec and they will be very hard opponents for us as well," said Mladá Boleslav captain Lukáš Magera. "Our coaches have already seen the footage of both games and may ask for more advice from Jablonec."

Ondřej Zlámal

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