By Michal Moch

Dundalk's Europa League play-off opponents Klaksvíkar Ítróttarfela didn't do much celebrating after surprising Dinamo Tbilisi in the third round - most of the players had to be in work the next day.

The sides meet on Thursday (Live on RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player from 7pm) with a place in the group stages and the huge financial reward that entails at stake.

Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers have both broken that barrier in the last 10 years but KI are the first team from the Faroe Islands to even reach the final qualifying round.

"The fans celebrated as if we had won the national championship," Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Jarosinski, one of four foreign players allowed in the Klaksvík squad, tells RTÉ Sport.

"Right at the entrance to our city, the fans welcomed us at every intersection. There were one or two beers but nothing else because we were conscious we had the most important match in the history of the club ahead of us.

"We couldn't afford a specific celebration, even more so because most of the players went to work the next day. Perhaps, after promotion to the Europa League, the entire Faroe Islands will have a day off."

Faroese champions KI had some good fortune when they were awarded a 3-0 win over Slovan Bratislava in the Champions League first qualifying round due to a Bratislava player testing positive for Covid-19.

They were beaten 3-1 by Swiss side Young Boys in the second round and then, like Dundalk, dropped down to the Europa League third qualifying round.

Georgian champions Tbilisi, who won the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1981, were hot favourites but KI stunned the visitors with a record 6-1 win in Tórshavn.

Lukasz Jarosinski

"We have a very good team," says Jarosinski. "Above all, our strength is our defence. Dinamo Tbilisi didn't have many shots on our goal. We were a better team.

"In the last 10 games we have conceded only six goals, three of which came in the game with Young Boys, and scored 34.

"Our strength is certainly set pieces - we train on them every day and very strong.

Jarosinski rates the one-off tie at the Aviva as evenly balanced and believes all the pressure will be on fully  professional Dundalk.

"We only play one game without a second leg, so everyone can win against anyone," he insists. "The chances are 50-50

"I know that in Ireland the players are well prepared physically and fight for every ball, but our team is also perfectly prepared, whether in terms of running or tactics.

"We have had many briefings where the staff discussed the game of the Dundalk team. We have analysed every detail of the rival.
 
"Dundalk will respect us. We beat Dinamo Tbilisi well. We did a good job. They must win. We simply can.

"We are going to Ireland to be promoted to the Europa League. The pressure is greater on the Irish, but we will do our best and play 100%."