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Twente aim to open account at Levante

Published: Sunday 14 October 2012, 9.19CET
FC Twente will be bidding for a first win in UEFA Europa League Group L when they head to Spain to face a Levante UD side whose home record in European competition is unblemished.
Twente aim to open account at Levante
Twente are yet to celebrate a Group L win ©Getty Images
Published: Sunday 14 October 2012, 9.19CET

Twente aim to open account at Levante

FC Twente will be bidding for a first win in UEFA Europa League Group L when they head to Spain to face a Levante UD side whose home record in European competition is unblemished.

Levante UD have a flawless home record in UEFA competition to defend as FC Twente return to Spain looking to record a first victory in UEFA Europa League Group L.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time, and this is European greenhorns Levante's first game against a Dutch club.

• Twente's seven games against Spanish teams have ended W3 D0 L4 (W3 D0 L1 in Enschede – W0 D0 L3 in Spain). On their last visit to Spain they came up against Levante's regional rivals Villarreal CF, losing 5-1 in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.

• Twente coach Steve McClaren also lost at Villarreal, 2-0 as coach of Middlesbrough FC in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup group stage.

Match background
• Levante suffered their first European defeat on matchday two, going down 2-1 at Hannover 96. Up until then, they were the only side in this season's UEFA club competitions who had never lost a game on the continental stage.

• Levante have won both of their previous European home games by a 1-0 scoreline. They have scored at least once in all four of their UEFA Europa League games and have yet to concede at home in Europe.

• Twente have drawn both of their opening Group L games 2-2. Their away form has been erratic this season – they have won one, drawn one and lost one on their last three trips, but they have not lost in 12 European home games (W9 D3) since their last visit from a Spanish team, with Villarreal winning 3-1 in the 2010/11 quarter-finals.

Team facts
• Rosenborg BK and Twente are the only sides to have made it all the way from the first qualifying round to the group stage.

• Levante's Greek striker Fanis Gekas could meet up with two former team-mates: he played alongside Twente's Russian forward Dmitri Bulykin at Bayer 04 Leverkusen (2007–08), and with defender Rasmus Bengtsson during a loan spell at Hertha BSC Berlin in 2009/10.

• Twente left-back Edson Braafheid and Levante right-back Christian Lell were also colleagues at FC Bayern München (2009–10).

• Levante midfielder Nabil El Zhar and Twente goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov were both on the books at Liverpool FC at the start of the 2007/08 campaign. While El Zhar made 21 first team appearances for the English club, Bulgarian Mihaylov never featured for the Reds, earning a permanent move to Twente in February 2010 following a two-and-a-half-year loan spell.

• This is Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martínez's first campaign in UEFA club competition. As a central midfielder, he never rose higher than the third tier in Spain, and coached in youth and women's football, working his way up the senior men's leagues to take charge of Levante in June 2011. He is often known by his initials, JIM, in Spain.

• Twente coach Steve McClaren kicked off a second spell in charge at the club in January, having won the 2009/10 Eredivisie title in his first spell before joining VfL Wolfsburg. A midfielder in the English lower leagues, he assisted Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United FC, then coached Middlesbrough FC to the 2005/06 UEFA Cup final, before embarking on an short-lived spell as England manager.

• This is FARE Action Week, with UEFA giving its support to Europe's biggest anti-discrimination campaign. There are activities before each UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League game which will be witnessed by thousands of fans in the stadiums and millions on television. A 30-second RESPECT TV spot and announcements over stadium loudspeakers will encourage fans to join the UEFA family in its call to unite against racism in football. Every team will be accompanied on to the pitch by children wearing Unite Against Racism T-shirts and captains will be asked to wear a Unite Against Racism armband.

Last updated: 24/10/12 13.21CET

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