Derek McInnes decided to go with the team that had started the home leg against FK Daugava. Jamie Langfield was in goal with Jonny Hayes moving to left back, Russell Anderson came back into the team to partner Mark Reynolds in the centre of defence and Shay Logan was at right back. Flood and Jack were the central midfielders with Barry Robson on the right and McGinn on the left. Peter Pawlett was fit again and played his usual position in behind Rooney. Groningen meanwhile, playing their first European journey for seven years, named two new signings in their starting line-up, with former Ajax striker Danny Hoesen and goalkeeper Sergio Padt making their debuts of the Dutch side.
The early stages were quite cagey. Groningen as expected looked very comfortable in possession.
The first opening came on 6 minutes after great play by Pawlett down the left, he played it into the box but Burnet cleared for Groningen. Seconds later, a Robson effort went just over the bar. Then on 10 minutes a weak shot from Hoesen was saved comfortably by Langfield.
On 12 minutes a real chance for The Dons. After a good build up McGinn released Peter Pawlett who ran at the Groningen defence down the left and his shot was parried by Padt and then bounced off a defender and behind for a corner. Adam Rooney was not far away from getting a touch.
15 minutes in, and the Dons were starting to get on top. Peter Pawlett was causing the Dutch all kinds of problems. On 18 minutes McGinn tried a curling shot at goal from the edge of the box but it went over the bar. Aberdeen continued to enjoy a good spell and keeper Padt was forced to come off his line quickly to deny McGinn and then he produced a good save from a Hayes header.
Just after the half hour there were claims for a penalty after McGinn played in a free kick and Russell Anderson went down in the box but nothing was given. On 39 minutes Robson played a long ball forward to Rooney but he couldn't gather and eventually Groningen clear up field. Rooney was well guarded all evening.
Although Aberdeen dominated the first half Groningen almost snatched an away goal just before the break. The right back Hans Hateboar got the better of Hayes and his cutback appeared to deflect off Mark Reynolds, but Jamie Langfield was very alert and made a good diving stop to his left. The ball though then fell to Hoesen, but from a very tight angle was unable to find the net and Logan was eventually able to clear.
The second half continued is a similarly vein - very cagey. Again Groningen looked comfortable in possession like they did at the start of the game. Aberdeen tried to force things when they had possession but both Pawlett, McGinn and Hayes were given no space or time to create anything. There were a few strong challenges flying about as well as the game started to get heated.
Nick van der Velden and Johan Kappelhof were both booked. On 53 minutes a cross was played towards Niall McGinn but he could not direct his header goalwards and it went harmlessly wide. On 58 minutes the Dons won a free kick as Hayes broke forward from his own half and brought down.
On 61 minutes the visitors had a chance, midfielder Rasmus Lindgren found space on the edge of the box and he fired in a low shot that Langfield was forced to turn away for a Groningen corner. A decent save in the end.
On 64 minutes another Groningen player was booked, this time for a challenge another foul on Pawlett. A minute later Groningen made a change. Antonia came on for Hoesen. Much was expected of Hoesen but he was very well marshalled by Mark Reynolds. Antonia actually looked more dangerous, he looked very pacey.
On 68 minutes a more direct approach from the Dons and the ball was played over the Groningen defence, McGinn picked it up and drove into the box before sweeping the ball across goal but no one there to get on the end of it. The Dutch side were by now sitting very deep which did not allow the Dons much of a chance to get in behind them, like they had done in the first half. Aberdeen were attacking carefully, rightly not committing too many men forward. At this point you felt both teams would not have been unhappy with a goalless score line. It was very much like a boxing match, both opponents were still sussing each other out, without going for the killer punch.
On 73 minutes Hayes tried to weave his way through the Groningen defence but was eventually tackled, the ball fell to Jack but he could not get a shot away. Then on 75 minutes a change for The Dons. Recent signing David Goodwillie came on to make his Aberdeen debut, replacing Adam Rooney. David was given a tremendous reception by the Aberdeen fans. The striker had some nice touches and linked up well but the Dons were unable to create any clear cut openings for him in the final 15 minutes.
On 79 minutes a free kick was played deep to back post from Robson but it was too high for Reynolds to head on target and it went out for a goal kick. That summed up the second half. Just not enough quality with the final ball but it has to be said Groningen defended well.
Aberdeen must have been tempted to throw bodies forward in the closing stages but the Dutch side had looked dangerous on the break all evening and losing an away goal at this stage would have been disastrous. That very nearly happened when the two substitutes Jarchinio Antonia and Dino Islamovic who had also come on, linked up well, with Islamovic flashing a shot just past Langfield's near post.
So at the end of the day not the worst result, it is going to be another very close game in the Netherlands next week.