sport

FC Copenhagen v Molde preview

Molde coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows Thursday's Europa League opponents FC Copenhagen represent a step up in class for his team.

The Norwegian champions have already shown signs of promise in the competition by beating Heerenveen over two legs in the play-offs.

However, FCK have qualified for the group stage of a European competition for the last seven years and only narrowly missed out on a place in the Champions League after losing in extra-time to Lille in the play-offs.

Solskjaer admits that makes them an opponent to be feared in the Group E opener at the Parken Stadium.

"Now we're in the group stage, I expect to meet even bigger opponents," the former Manchester United striker told Romsdal Budstikke.

"And FCK are of a high standard. They have a really, really good team.

"They've reached the group stage (in Europe) for seven years in a row and have always put a huge amount of pressure on opponents on their home patch.

"FCK have played out a draw with Barcelona, they also beat Lille in the Champions League qualifiers quite recently (1-0 in the home leg of their play-off).

"This will be a big and important test for us. We'll see what kind of a level we have to play at if we want to continue to develop as a team."

Since the 2000/01 season, FCK have won eight of the Danish league titles on offer although they missed out to FC Nordsjaelland last term.

However, chief executive Anders Horsholt sees no reason why they cannot dominate a group which also includes Stuttgart and Steaua Bucharest.

"With the development the team and staff have shown so far this season, we have the right to be ambitious in the group stage even though we are up against talented opponents," he said on Copenhagen's website.

"I can tell throughout the club there is a strong belief we are well prepared for the exciting challenges which await us in Europe."