- Leicester City face Legia Warsaw in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday (5:45pm kick-off)
- The clash at Stadion Wojska Polskiego sees the Foxes face the Polish champions
- Polish football expert Ryan Hubbard has spoken to LCFC TV ahead of the Group C clash
- He says Czesław Michniewicz's side will be confident of getting a result
Matchday two in the UEFA Europa League sees FA Cup holders Leicester tackle Polish Ekstraklasa champions Legia at Stadion Wojska Polskiego in a 5:45pm kick-off. While the Foxes drew 2-2 with Napoli on Filbert Way last time out, Wojskowi secured a 1-0 win at Spartak Moscow.
Hubbard, a close follower of the Polish game, spoke to LCFC TV earlier this week to preview the clash in Poland's capital and he started by addressing the domestic form issues which Czesław Michniewicz's side have encounters over the early weeks of the 2021/22 campaign.
"They’ve got the potential to be very good, as they shown against Spartak Moscow in the first game in the Europa League," he told the Matchday Live show. "In the domestic league, they haven’t particularly shown that form. They’ve been a bit disappointing and not up to the standards which the fans expect.
"They’re in 15th place in the Polish Ekstraklasa, which is far below any standard that Legia teams normally set, but you can expect a team that, in some ways, is very similar to Leicester.
They’ll be extremely pleased to have won their first game. Qualification for the knockout stages, whether it be in the Europa League or the Conference League, is the minimum target, really, for Legia.Ryan Hubbard Polish football expert
"There have been slight concerns over the defensive performances, although they’ve looked very strong in attack, so there’s potential for a very high scoring game. They don’t miss out on the league title very often and they’re now the most successful club in Polish history.
"They won their 15th league title last season, which surpassed Górnik Zabrze. They are by far the biggest club and they have the biggest budget of all the Polish clubs. Qualification for Europe is their aim every year and to have actually done it this year is a big thing for them.
"They’ll be extremely pleased to have won their first game. Qualification for the knockout stages, whether it be in the Europa League or the Conference League, is the minimum target, really, for Legia. Theoretically, it’s going to be between themselves and Spartak to take that third space or possibly second.
"To have won that game, it gives them a good footing. They did see it as their biggest opportunity to get a victory and three points on the board, so it’s a massive thing for them."
European football is often a priority for Polish clubs, says Hubbard, but Legia will be looking to buck a trend which has seen domestic form suffer as a result. New signing Mahir Emreli, on the other hand, is just one of several players who the author believes could cause issues for City in Warsaw.
Legia secured an impressive victory over Spartak Moscow on the opening matchday in this season's UEFA Europa League.
"If a Polish club gets into European competition, they usually have to prioritise that or the league and it tends to be European competition and they try and make up the ground in the league later on," he added. "It’s not unusual as we saw it with Lech Poznań last year.
"They were in the Europa League and started poorly in the league and, unfortunately for them, they were unable to make any ground back up and they finished midway in the table. Legia have had a couple of injury problems as well, one of the big ones being Bartosz Kapustka.
"Obviously, he’s a former Leicester player, but he tore his knee ligaments while celebrating a goal in the early qualifying stages. There’s a few things going on for Legia and I would expect them to pick up the pace in the league again pretty soon.
"One player they will look to is their new striker, Mahir Emreli, who is an Azerbaijan international they signed from Qarabağ in the summer. He’s chipped in with a few goals, he scored a goal at the weekend too, which was an absolute rocket. He’s a big, strong striker who has a very powerful left foot behind him.
They’ll have the backing of what’s expected to be a full stadium as well, which is always an intimidating atmosphere for any visiting team.Ryan Hubbard
"He could cause real havoc in the Leicester defence potentially. There’s also a couple of players in the midfield. Bartosz Slisz, who is on the fringes of the Poland national team despite his young age. He’s put in some impressive performances recently.
"There’s also Luquinhas, who’s a Brazilian midfielder and, again, he could cause some chaos from defensive midfield for the Leicester City defence."
Hubbard is certain that Legia will be confident ahead of tackling Leicester, especially as their first-ever meeting will occur in front of a raucous home crowd at the always-loud Stadion Wojska Polskiego.
"They will definitely fancy their chances," he explained. "They’ll have the backing of what’s expected to be a full stadium as well, which is always an intimidating atmosphere for any visiting team. Legia, despite their form in the league, will look at it as potential scalp.
"It’s always a big thing for an English club or one of the teams from the big leagues to visit Poland. It’s the one they probably marked on their calendar."
All times BST.
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