Former Aberdeen striker Arild Stavrum has backed the Dons to get past Viking FK as his old club head to his native Norway.
Stavrum, who scored 29 goals in 67 games for the Dons between 1999 and 2001, reckons the Scottish and Norwegian leagues are comparable but believes Aberdeen’s stronger squad will see them through.
Speaking on this week’s episode of the Northern Goal podcast, Stavrum also discussed his time at Aberdeen and the current resurgence in Norwegian football.
He will be tuning for tomorrow evening’s game and the 48-year-old has faith the Dons can book safe passage to the third qualifying round of the Europa League.
Stavrum said: “The two cities are quite similar. Both are ‘oil cities’ on the coast and the two clubs were maybe stronger going back a few years. Viking was the best team in the 70s in Norway and won the league four times in a row. They had a coach who was a big part of making modern football in Norway.
“Aberdeen of course had the 80s with Ferguson, so they are two historically strong teams who have maybe not doing the best when it comes to titles in the last few years. There are a lot of similarities between them.
“Viking have been doing well lately. They beat Molde 3-2 and Kristiansund 5-3; they look alright. They are in mid-table and I think the Norwegian league and Scottish league is not so different. When you see a mid-table team in Norway, I think it would be a mid-table team in Scotland.
“I would hold Aberdeen as slight favourites, but not big favourites. I think Aberdeen has a stronger team than Viking and therefore hold them as slight favourites. It will be difficult for them but I think Aberdeen will win.”
Stavrum, who also turned out for Brann, Molde and Helsingborgs as well as winning two caps for the Norway national side, left Aberdeen in 2001 for Turkish side Besiktas.
He now works as a teacher and author, as well as coaching his son’s youth football team.
He added: “I loved my time in Aberdeen. I still follow results and I promised my son to come over and watch a game, as he is now 13 years old. It’s problematic at the moment but I hope we can do that in the near future.
“I had a great relationship with a lot of people. I enjoyed living in the city and it was just a nice place to live. I remember a lot of the games; before this I had played in Norway and Sweden, which is the same country basically. The same language, the same culture, everything.
“To come over, speak English but do something else, with a lot of different nationalities in the dressing room, was great. Everything was a bit different and I love to experience new things.”