After stunning Ukrainian giants in the third qualifying round for the second year running, Young Boys hope to fare better in the play-offs this time – but CSKA Moskva have a formidable record.
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A side who have never won a UEFA Champions League play-off take on a team who have never failed at the final hurdle in qualifying as BSC Young Boys host PFC CSKA Moskva.
• The clubs have never met in UEFA competition.
• Young Boys won both previous home games against Russian opposition – and lost both away. The Swiss team beat FC Zenit 2-1 in the first leg of their 2010/11 UEFA League round of 32 tie, but were eliminated after losing 3-1 in St Petersburg; in the group stage of the same competition in 2012/13 they went down 2-0 at FC Anji and won 3-1 at home.
• CSKA have won both of their previous games against Swiss clubs. They recorded a 3-0 victory at FC Lausanne-Sport in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League group stage and were then 5-1 winners at home.
• Young Boys entered the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round, knocking out FC Dynamo Kyiv courtesy of a 90th-minute goal from 18-year-old substitute Jordan Lotomba. That sealed a 2-0 success on the night and, given they had lost 3-1 in Ukraine, victory on the away goals rule.
• Young Boys also saw off Ukrainian opposition in last season's third qualifying round, edging past FC Shakhtar Donetsk on penalties; they then succumbed 9-2 on aggregate to VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach.
• This is Young Boys' fifth UEFA Champions League campaign and third play-off – they have never reached the group stage. Their previous play-offs came against Tottenham Hotspur FC (6-3 on agg) in 2010/11 and Gladbach 12 months ago. Young Boys did get to the semi-finals of the 1958/59 European Champion Clubs' Cup, losing 3-1 over two legs against Stade de Reims.
• CSKA also began their campaign in the third qualifying round, easing to a 3-0 aggregate triumph against AEK Athens FC.
• CSKA have a 100% record in this final stage of UEFA Champions League qualifying, prevailing in 2004/05, 2006/07 and 2015/16. You could also add 1992/93, when they overcame FC Barcelona to make the group stage though that was under a different competition format.
• The Army Men qualified directly for the group stage in 2016/17, their tenth campaign in the competition proper and fourth in a row. Pitted against AS Monaco FC, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Tottenham Hotspur FC, they bowed out after three draws and three losses.
• Both Young Boys and CSKA qualified for the 2017/18 competition by finishing second in their respective leagues last term.
Team and coach links
• Switzerland evokes happy memories for Igor Akinfeev and Sergei Ignashevich, who were in the Russia team that beat the Netherlands 3-1 after extra time in Basel to reach the UEFA EURO 2008 semi-finals.
• Georgi Milanov spent the second half of 2015/16 on loan at Swiss side Grasshopper Club Zürich.
• Alexander Gerndt and Pontus Wernbloom played together for Sweden.
• Adi Hütter made his name with minnows SV Grödig, leading them from the second tier to third in the Austrian Bundesliga in the space of two seasons. A midfielder best associated with SV Austria Salzburg, he promptly left Grödig for FC Salzburg, winning a league and cup double in his only campaign there. Hütter has been at the Young Boys helm since summer 2015.
• Belarusian Viktor Goncharenko is the youngest-ever coach to lead a team in the UEFA Champions League, setting the record ten seasons ago aged 31. Five times a title winner as boss of FC BATE Borisov, the club where his playing career ended at the age of 25, Goncharenko has spent the past four seasons in Russia, taking the reins at CSKA in December 2016.