With a quartet of Champions League victories already under their belts, Ferencvaros prepare for battle in the third qualifying round on Wednesday during their first leg against Czech powerhouses Slavia Prague.
The Hungarian champions have already sent FC Prishtina and FK Zalgiris packing to reach this stage of the tournament, while Slavia Prague enter at this stage courtesy of their 2020-21 Czech First League triumph.
Despite opening their 2021-22 season with four successive wins during the early stages of Champions League qualifying, Ferencvaros were unable to translate those results into the perfect start on the domestic scene against Kisvarda on Saturday.
Taking charge of his first league game with Ferencvaros, Peter Stoger saw his side concede twice in the second 45 minutes as Kisvarda pair Matheus Leoni and Jaroslav Navratil made the net ripple, and Ryan Mmaee's 80th-minute penalty was nothing more than a consolation in a 2-1 defeat.
A shock opening defeat to their title defence is hardly what the doctor ordered for Ferencvaros, and former Borussia Dortmund coach Stoger pulled no punches after the final whistle, claiming that his side were made to pay for their 'arrogant' performance on the day.
However, the Hungarian champions do boast a 100% success record from their Champions League ventures so far this season, defeating Prishtina 6-1 on aggregate before dumping Zalgiris out 5-1 over two legs as they seek back-to-back appearances in the group stages.
Barcelona and Juventus proved too hot for Ferencvaros to handle in last season's group stage - their first appearance at the proper tournament since the 1995-96 season - and standing in their way of another venture in the promised land is a Slavia Prague side with their own point to prove in Europe.
Despite making it to the Europa League quarter-finals, Slavia Prague's 2020-21 continental campaign was not looked back on fondly, with Ondrej Kudela being found guilty of racially abusing Rangers' Glen Kamara and being hit with a 10-game ban by UEFA.
The images of Alexandre Lacazette kneeling in front of the Slavia Prague team before the second leg of their quarter-final battle became poignant, and Arsenal would proceed to end Slavia's European journey with a dominant second-leg showing after the Czech side claimed a last-gasp draw in the first leg.
Slavia's home fortress became Arsenal's playground that day, but Jindrich Trpisovsky's side still stormed to the league title without suffering a single defeat, and they have opened their 2021-22 domestic season with back-to-back wins against Zlin and Teplice.
Slavia Prague have avoided what would have been a tense encounter with Rangers in the playoff round, with the winners of this tie set to face Cluj or Young Boys for the right to enter the group stage of the tournament, where the Czech side last featured in a group of death with Barcelona, Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund in the 2019-20 season.
Ferencvaros and Slavia Prague have only ever met twice before in European competition - two group clashes in the 1986-87 Intertoto Cup - and the Czechs claimed a pair of 2-0 and 1-0 victories over their Hungarian counterparts during the now-abolished tournament.
Ferencvaros manager Stoger will certainly ponder changes to his starting XI after a dismal league performance at the weekend, starting with Denes Dibusz potentially replacing Adam Bogdan in between the sticks.
Mmaee's goal at the weekend came after he struck twice in his side's 3-1 second-leg win over Zalgiris, and the 23-year-old could edge out Franck Boli at the forefront of the attack here.
Midfield duo Igor Kharatin and Kristoffer Zachariassen both found themselves on the bench for the encounter with Kisvarda after starting their side's most recent Champions League battle, and Stoger could consider reintroducing the pair this week.
Slavia defender Kudela continues to serve a ban from all UEFA competitions after racially abusing Kamara, which prevented him from linking up with the Czech Republic's Euro 2020 squad.
Lukas Provod and David Hovorka remain unavailable for the visitors as they battle back from devastating cruciate ligament injuries, while attacker Abdallah Sima was only used as a substitute at the weekend amid links with a move away.
New arrival Ivan Schranz notched up all three of his side's goals in their 3-1 win over Teplice last Friday and is expected to continue in the final third, potentially with Peter Olayinka coming back in to provide support on the left flank.
Ferencvaros possible starting lineup:
Dibusz; Botka, S. Mmaee, Blazic, Cabraja; Zachariassen, Kharatin, Vecsei; Zubkov, R. Mmaee, Mak
Slavia Prague possible starting lineup:
Kolar; Bah, Zima, Kacharaba, Dorley; Holes, Sevcik; Sima, Stanciu, Olayinka; Schranz
We say: Ferencvaros 0-2 Slavia Prague
Desperate to kick off their new European campaign on the right foot after last year's controversy-filled travails, Slavia undoubtedly possess the higher calibre of players than Ferencvaros, and that should become apparent during this first leg.
The Hungarian champions have had it all their own way in the Champions League so far, but opening their title defence with such a dampening defeat has surely sapped the confidence in the camp, with Stoger's efforts to restore unity in midweek likely proving unfruitful.
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