Hearts v Rosenborg or Crusaders: History, current season, managers, star players, what Hearts boss said
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Rosenborg are 26-time winners of the Norwegian top flight, more than any other team in the country, though they haven’t lifted the title since 2018. Once regulars of the Champions League group stages, they haven’t made it back there since 2007. Celtic are the team they’ve played against the most in European competition, squaring off 10 times, losing seven and winning once.
Crusaders have won the Irish League on seven occasions and, like Rosenborg, their last triumph came in 2018. They’ve won just five ties in their European history, the first of which came against Ekranas of Lithuania in 2014. They haven’t played a Scottish club in Europe before.
Only London Gatwick offers direct flights to Trondheim, which is where Rosenborg play. Flights from Edinburgh to Oslo leave every day, and there are flights to Trondheim from there. Alternatively, travelling between Oslo and Trondheim on a train is a six-and-a-half-hour journey which costs between £50 and £75.
For Belfast, there are flights every day which leave from both Edinburgh and Glasgow, while there is the option of a ferry from Cairnryan in Dumfries and Galloway.
Rosenborg currently have Svein Maalen as their interim manager after 83-cap former Norwegian international Kjetil Rekdal was dismissed last month following the club’s poor start to the campaign.
Stephen Baxter has been in charge of Crusaders since 2005. He’s managed over 900 games, has won three league titles and five Irish Cups.
Rosenborg are sitting a disappointing tenth in the 16-team Eliteserien after 16 games played. They went through a dire run which saw them win just two of 12 fixtures after emerging victorious from the first game of the season. They have bounced back recently, though, winning their last two.
The Irish League kicks off the same weekend as the cinch Premiership with Crusaders welcoming Carrick Rangers for their first game. They have already been in European action, though, defeating Haka of Finland 3-2 on aggregate in the first qualifying round.
Rosenborg have a pair of wing wizards in Danish former teenage athletics star Carlo Hosle and Canadian international Jayden Nelson, who joined from Toronto FC in the MLS earlier this year.
Philip Lowry was Crusaders’ top league scorer last term with 17. The squad also includes ex-Kilmarnock pair Rory McKeown and Jude Winchester, and former Partick Thistle keeper Jonathan Tuffey.
What Frankie McAvoy said about the draw
"Any team that you get is going to be a tough one, but in terms of travelling it's either Northern Ireland or Norway, so we could have got worse in the draw.
“Crusaders have gone through a round and will face a tough opponent, while Rosenborg would probably think they should have made a better start to their season as they're mid-table right now.
“The plus is that the second leg is back at Tynecastle where we'll know what we need to do.
“We've got St Johnstone in the league first of all. We've also got a couple of games coming up - a closed-door game and then Leeds United on Sunday - so hopefully we're as best prepared as we can to give it our best shot.”