It was barely a month ago that Porto were beating Portuguese rivals Braga in Dublin to win the Europa League, much to the delight of football betting fans who backed them.
And while the majority of the world’s top stars are now enjoying a well-earned summer break, the new season begins in earnest this week for a number of teams from across the continent.
The long road to the 2011-12 Europa League final commences with the first leg of the first qualifying round and Premier League side Fulham are undoubtedly the biggest name set to feature.
While some of the Cottagers’ players will have been reluctant to cut their holidays short, the early start will give new boss Martin Jol a chance to experiment and assess the strengths and merits of his squad.
The west Londoners have been paired with Faroese minnows NSI Runavik and will be expected to negotiate that test and press ahead with their aim of reaching the main draw.
Several other British and Irish teams – such as The New Saints, Cliftonville, Neath, St Patrick’s Athletic and Glentoran – will also be hoping to prolong their European adventure beyond the first hurdle.
Elsewhere, some of the biggest names in action on Thursday include Hungarian giants Ferencvaros, Swedish side Elfsborg and Norwegian outfit Tromso.
Of course, we have all the latest Europa League odds covered, so be sure to head to bwin.com to place your bets!
New customers can register here to claim a £25 free bet. Punters who then use this stake to bet on Fulham to beat NSI Runavik 3-0 would win £150 if their prediction proves correct.