By Mark McKillen
After defeating Bala Town 2-0 on aggregate in the first qualifying round, Larne’s next Europa Conference League opponents are Aarhus Gymnastikforeing (AGF).
Aarhus were formed in 1880 as a gymnastics club and began playing football in 1902.
Larne’s opponents are based in Aarhus which is Denmark’s second largest city with a population of over 300,000. Aarhus finished 4th in the Danish Superliga last season which secured qualification to the Europa Conference League.
Larne will be travelling to Aarhus Stadium which is the third largest stadium in Denmark. It has a capacity of just over 19,000.
AGF have been successful domestically and in Europe throughout their history no team has won the Danish Cup more times than AGF. They have hoisted the trophy nine times, last winning the tournament in 1996. Most recently they were runners up in 2016, losing 2-1 in the final to FC Copenhagen. Aarhus have been Danish league champions on five occasions, their last league title came in 1986.
The Danes faced Glenavon in the 1957-58 European Cup, the first ever European tie for an NI team. After winning 3-0 at Mourneview Park and 0-0 home draw, it was the Danes who emerged victorious.
There are number of current and former internationals amongst the Aarhus squad, such as left back Alex Gersbach who has 6 caps for Australia.
Winger Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson has 9 caps for Iceland and one goal which came against Sweden.
21-year-old centre back Sebastian Hausner is arguably their most exciting prospect. He has represented Denmark from under 16 to under 21 level and will surely make his full international debut soon.