Aberdeen face a difficult evening in the Europa League against Viking FK on Thursday – but it’s still a very winnable tie for the Dons.
Having to travel away from home in the current situation may make things a little more problematic and with it being a one-legged tie there is no margin for error for the Reds.
But Derek McInnes’ side should be confident and will be viewing this as a good chance to reach the third qualifying round and set-up a glamour away tie with Sporting Clube de Portugal.
In recent weeks as a team Aberdeen have looked a very solid unit and that’s encouraging ahead of this second qualifying round clash.
In Europe you need to have solidity and be able to defend well, but the Dons have also shown in recent games that they carry a lot of threat in the forward areas and are capable of hurting teams.
Under McInnes Aberdeen have achieved a number of impressive results away from home in the Europa League.
Victories against Groningen and Rijeka probably stand out as the best of those, but there have been a number of others.
One of the reasons for the good results on their travels has been the organisation that McInnes has always set his teams up with.
On the road in Europe you need to be well-organised, disciplined and defensively sound.
When it comes to this season and the current squad some of the defensive performances have been as good as any I’ve seen from McInnes’ Aberdeen teams, with just one goal conceded in the last five games.
That should give the squad great confidence knowing they have the defensive stability to shut teams out and handle being under pressure.
If the Reds are able to snuff out the Norwegian Cup winners Viking on Thursday it will give them a great chance of progressing.
Alongside a good defence to win games you need to carry a threat at the top end of the pitch to score goals.
What the Dons have, which is vital, is a number of good ball carriers who can drag the team up the pitch with their positivity and direct play.
For a number of years Jonny Hayes and Niall McGinn have been very good in these roles away from home in Europe.
That duo can do it again in Norway this week and McInnes also has Matty Kennedy, Ryan Hedges and Scott Wright at his disposal who all have pace and are creative and could be key to beating Viking.
To win in Europe it takes an all-round performance being good defensively and also having the capabilities to hurt the opponent and I think Aberdeen have that all-round package which they will need to get through.
The tie would have been more straightforward for the Dons a for a number of reasons if it had been at home.
Aberdeen have been given special dispensation to travel to and from Norway without quarantining and although these are strange times the current situation surrounding coronavirus shouldn’t affect the players.
As professional footballers the focus is always on the next game and players are used to being in different situations with the rest of society because of games.
For example Christmas and New Year are times when footballers don’t enjoy themselves like other people because they have games to play.
Although the Covid-19 situation is very different to the festive season the point is that footballers are used to playing games in many different circumstances.
Having to travel in the current climate shouldn’t impact on the Dons’ performance this week, they’ll be fully-focused and believing they can get the job done.
They will have accepted the situation and whatever needs to be done when it comes to preparing for Thursday’s clash with Viking that’s what the Aberdeen players will be focusing on.