BALA TOWN’S heroics in the UEFA Europa League has earned them a place in the second qualifying round of the competition for the very first time.

A daunting but nevertheless exciting trip to Belgium to face Pro League giants Standard Liege now awaits the Lakesiders on September 17.

Once at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne, Colin Caton’s side will tackle one of the most difficult tasks the club has faced in its history against a side that has played more than two hundred matches in various European competitions since forming in 1898.

Standard Liege are a well-known side that finished fifth in the Belgian Pro League last season and are currently sat in second place on ten points in the 2020/21 campaign, which is already four matches in.

Current club vice-president is Michel Preud'homme, who is considered a legend in his native of Belgium, having earned 58 caps as a goalkeeper between 1979 and 1994.

He won three Belgian Pro League titles as a player and won the 'Best European Goalkeeper' prize in 1994. He was also nominated for the highly-prestigious Ballon d'Or award in the same year, as well as in 1988 and 1989.

Frenchman Philippe Montanier is the club's manager. He's been managing since the early 2000's and his most notable success to date was taking Rennes to the Coup de France final in 2013/14. He was also voted Ligue 2 Manager of the Year in 2008/09 whilst with Boulogne.

But, who are the danger men for Montanier's current side? Their standout star so far this season had been central midfielder Samuel Bastien, who picked up two goals in the first two matches. However, he suffered a torn tendon and is now expected to be out until October.

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PICTURE: Standard De Liege.

22-year-old goalkeeper Arnaud Bodart (above) is establishing himself as one of the best in the division and captain Zinho Vanheusden, who is only 21, is an up and coming centre back that many a big club in Europe are said to be keeping close tabs on.

Full-back Nicolas Gavory is never afraid to break forward with the ball and centre back Konstantinos Laifis, who appeared for Cyprus in their 2-0 UEFA Nations League loss to Montenegro on Saturday, is a solid and reliable defender.

In the middle of the pitch, and aside from the injured Bastien, Gojko Cimirot, who just recently made his 100th league appearance for the club, is a key player.

Another exciting young star in the team is central midfielder Nicolas Raskin, 19, but it is attacking midfielder Selim Amallah, 23, and winger Maxime Lestienne, 28, (picture in order below) that are most probably the club’s two most dangerous attacking options. Both of them scored nine goals each in all competitions last season and have one apiece so far in 2020/21.

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PICTURES: Standard De Liege.

A monumental task is expected for Colin Caton and his side in Belgium on September 17, but first a trip to 2019/20 JD Cymru Premier champions Connah's Quay Nomads awaits them this coming Saturday in what should be a fantastic 2020/21 season opener.