Wolves vs Crusaders FC Preview: Nuno's side hoping to make a ferocious return to European football
Andy Gray (far right) has scored the equalising goal for Wolverhampton Wanderers during their UEFA Cup 1st round 1st leg match against PSV Eindhoven at the Philips Stadium in Eindhoven, 17th September 1980. PSV Einhoven won the match 3-1. (Photo by Gerry Armes/Birmingham Mail/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

39 years have passed since Molineux last hosted a European game, a tidy 1-0 victory over PSV Eindhoven courtesy of former striker Mel Eves. A lot has changed for the Midlands side since, including yo-yo-ing up and down from the first to third divisions of the footballing pyramid, and being taken over by a mega-rich international businessman. 

Nuno Espirito Santo will be making sure tonight's game will be Wolves' first step on their 'crusade' into Europe to show their more established competitors that they are in it to win it.

Coming up against Crusaders won't be an easy test, as they are a team that consistently competes in European qualification year in year out - whether it be Europa League or Champions League. It's definitely going to be a game that needs to be carefully managed by the senior players in the squad.

Portuguese prominence

There is no doubt that since Wolves have been able to poach top-end Portuguese stars such as Joao MoutinhoRuben Neves, and Diogo Jota - they now have the quality to compete in the upper echelons of football. I'm sure many will be looking at these two to put a stamp on the game and really send warning signs out to all the others in qualifying.

Moutinho and Neves partner up in midfield as a master and his apprentice-style relationship. Despite Moutinho having a long-established career, the squad can rest assured that Neves has the credentials to lead the side in Europe. The promising Portuguese playmaker from Porto captained his side out to victory at the slender age of 18 years and so became the youngest Champions League captain of all time.

Crusaders lacking confidence

It is obvious that Wolves are the favoured team going into this first leg tie. It appears that Crues keeper Sean O'Neill isn't exactly banking on a Crusaders upset tonight. According to his interview with Belfast Live he has vowed to run through Belfast naked if he manages to keep a clean sheet at Molineux tonight. I'm sure I can speak for the majority of Belfast in hoping that Wolves at least knock in one.

The bookies aren't holding much hope for the travelling side either as you can find odds of up to 30/1. It almost seems like a mismatch on paper, but no doubt the Crues will give it their all in this huge European draw.

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