VfB Stuttgart's fifth group stage campaign in this competition – and FC Steaua Bucureşti's sixth – begins with a first UEFA Europa League meeting between the two sides in Group E.
• The teams are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.
• Stuttgart are unbeaten in their five games against Romanian opponents, which have ended W3 D2 L0 (W2 D1 L0 at home – W1 D1 L0 in Romania).
• Steaua's 14 fixtures against German sides have ended W1 D5 L8 (W1 D3 L2 at home – W0 D2 L5 in Germany). Those results include a 1956/57 European Champion Clubs' Cup replay, which Steaua lost 3-1 to Borussia Dortmund on neutral ground in Bologna.
• Steaua's lone victory against German opponents came in the second leg of that Dortmund tie on 8 December 1957, meaning they have not beaten a Bundesliga side in 12 games spanning almost 55 years.
• This is Stuttgart's fifth group stage campaign in this competition, and they have never failed to reach the knockout phase. They have won their last four group stage games.
• Steaua won both of their qualifying away matches this season without conceding.
• This will be Steaua's sixth UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League group stage campaign: they have come through to the round of 32 in three of their previous five attempts. This is their fourth successive tilt at this group stage.
• Steaua are unbeaten in their last seven group stage games – three wins and four draws – but while they have competed in a group stage (UEFA Champions League or UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League) in every season since 2004/05, they have not started a group stage with a win since the 2005/06 campaign, recording two draws and four first-night defeats since.
• Steaua's Polish defender Łukasz Szukuła grew up in Trier, and played in Germany with TSV 1860 München (2004-08) and TSV Alemannia Aachen (2008-10).
• Steaua's Brazilian striker Adi Rocha also played in Germany with FC Energie Cottbus (2009-11).
• Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia played up front for some of Germany's top clubs – Hamburger SV, FC Bayern München and SV Werder Bremen among others – and is the only player to have scored more than 100 goals in both of Germany's top divisions. Since starting his coaching career at home-town side SV Darmstadt 98, he has been in charge at Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Hamburg, taking over at Stuttgart in 2010.
• A right-sided midfielder, Laurenţiu Reghecampf was capped once by Romania and played for Steaua from 1996-2000, before finishing his career in Germany with Energie Cottbus, Aachen and 1. FC Kaiserslautern. Since taking up coaching in 2009, he has had eight jobs; he has been in charge of FC Snagov three times, FC Universitatea Craiova twice and CF Gloria 1922 Bistriţa and FC Concordia Chiajna once each, taking command at Steaua in the summer of 2012.
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