Vitesse advanced to this stage after finishing second in their Conference League group, while their hosts were eliminated from their Europa League group but earned a place in Europe’s secondary competition by finishing third.
After failing to finish in the top two of their Europa League group, Rapid Vienna is fighting for a place in the Europa Conference League round of 16.
Die Grun-narrow Weissen’s victories over Genk and Dinamo Zagreb were not enough to get them through, as they lost in the rematches of those games, as well as two losses to West Ham United.
They now enter the continent’s third league in the hopes of improving their spirits following a poor start to the season, with the 32-time Austrian champions currently fifth in the domestic top flight with an uninspiring tally of 24 points from 19 games by their own standards.
The Dutch team has now lost four straight games in league and cup play, allowing 16 goals and scored only once, including back-to-back 5-0 thrashings heading into Wednesday.
Tottenham Hotspur’s postponement against group winners Rennes was met with a forfeit, leaving the English team three points behind Vitesse in this stage of the campaign.
Thomas Letsch’s team, on the other hand, fought hard for their promotion, with a thrilling 1-0 home victory over Tottenham in October, as well as a couple of victories against Mura and a creditable 3-3 draw with Rennes in France.
Rapid Vienna vs Vitesse – Team News:
Rapid Vienna will be without Leo Greiml and Lion Schuster for the time being, as the duo is still undergoing treatment.
Meanwhile, captain Maximilian Hofmann is doubtful, therefore the starting lineup against Red Bull Salzburg on Friday could serve as a template for the first leg.
Yusuf Demir, a promising young forward, will be hoping for a starting spot, while Kevin Wimmer, a former Tottenham Hotspur center-back, is another contender.
After two 5-0 thrashings in a row, Thomas Letsch may look to make changes to his Vitesse team in order to inspire a change of fortune.
Lois Openda, who scored two goals in the Conference League group stage and 11 goals in 22 Eredivisie games this season, should again play a role in the attack following his return to the starting XI last time out.
He’ll almost certainly back up striker Adrian Grbic, who joined on loan from Lorient in January.
With the Dutch midfielder sliding into the center of a back three, Riechedly Bazoer will continue to play an important role in possession.
Rapid Vienna possible starting lineup:
Gartler; Schick, Wimmer, Moormann, Auer; Aiwu; Petrovic, Grahovac; Oswald; Demir, Grull
Vitesse possible starting lineup:
Houwen; Doekhi, Bazoer, Rasmussen; Dasa, Bero, Domgjoni, Wittek; Frederiksen, Grbic, Openda
Rapid Vienna vs Vitesse – Head-to-Head:
Our Prediction: Under 3.5 Goals