Hearts' European opponents confirmed as former Tynecastle winger prepares to return

FC Zurich will meet Hearts in the Europa League play-off after completing a 5-0 aggregate win against Linfield on Thursday evening.

Leading 2-0 from the first leg of their third qualifying round in Belfast, the Swiss champions won the second leg 3-0 as former Tynecastle winger Donis Avdijaj scored twice. He is now preparing to face his old club next week.

Hearts will travel to Switzerland to face Zurich next Thursday, August 18, with the return leg at Tynecastle Park seven days later. The first leg will take place at St Gallen's Kybunpark, 40 miles east of Zurich, as their own Stadion Letzigrund is unavailable because it is hosting a concert that weekend.

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It will be Hearts’ first European tie in six years since they lost to Maltese side Birkirkara in the Europa League qualifying rounds back in 2016.

Avdijaj may well feel he has something to prove against his former employers. He managed just three appearances in maroon during January and February 2020 before the Covid-enforced shutdown. He made little impact at the time and it was no surprise when he left the club that summer.

The comfortable win over Linfield is a much-needed boost for a struggling Zurich side. Eliminated from the Champions League’s second qualifying round by Qarabag of Azerbaijan, they sit bottom of the Swiss Super League after taking only one point from four matches so far.

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They face Winterthur on Sunday hoping to secure their first domestic victory of the campaign ahead of the tie with Hearts.

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FC Zurich coach Franco Foda is preparing to face Hearts.