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Two coaches with much to prove will be in action in the Group A opener between FC Twente and Real Racing Club, with former England boss Steve McClaren coming up against the Santander side's new coach Juan Ramón López Muñiz.
• McClaren may feel he has unfinished business in the UEFA Cup, with his Middlesbrough FC side losing 4-0 to Sevilla FC in the 2005/06 final. A journeyman midfielder in his playing days, he was Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant at Manchester United FC and then manager of Middlesbrough between 2001 and 2006, before becoming England manager. He was dismissed after failing to lead England to UEFA EURO 2008™, and then replaced Fred Rutten at Twente.
• Racing's López Muñiz is also starting out at a new club, having replaced Marcelino García Toral this summer following his predecessor's decision to join Real Zaragoza. The former central defender got the job after leading Málaga CF to promotion back to the Spanish Liga last season.
• This is the teams' first meeting in UEFA club competition.
• Twente came up against Racing's Liga rivals Getafe CF in the first round of last season's UEFA Cup. They won 3-2 at home but had already lost 1-0 in Spain and bowed out on away goals. Prior to that, they played UD Las Palmas in the third round of the 1972/73 UEFA Cup, winning 3-0 at home and progressing despite a 2-1 loss in the return. Twente went on to reach the semi-finals that season, losing out to VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach.
• Racing have never met Dutch opposition before, though this is no great surprise as this is only their second European campaign. They previously reached the third round of the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2003.
• Twente finished fourth in the Dutch league last season, and then earned a UEFA Champions League qualifying berth through the end-of-season play-offs, beating league runners-up AFC Ajax in the final under Rutten, who then took over as coach of German side FC Schalke 04, who are also in UEFA Cup Group A.
• English coach McClaren took over for the new season, but his side lost 6-0 on aggregate to Arsenal FC in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, eventually reaching the UEFA Cup group stage on away goals after a 2-1 defeat away and a 1-0 win at home against Stade Rennais FC.
• Racing finished sixth in the Spanish top flight last season to earn their place in the UEFA Cup first round, where they beat Finland's FC Honka Espoo 1-0 home and away to reach the group stage.
• Twente striker Blaise Nkufo and Racing goalkeeper Fabio Coltorti will know each other from their time with the Swiss national team. Nkufo has scored five goals in 19 international games, while Coltorti has earned eight Swiss caps.
• Coltorti has also come up against Twente coach McClaren before, and was on the losing side as Grasshopper-Club lost 1-0 at home to his Middlesbrough team in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage.
• Twente's Ivorian defender Cheik Tioté and Racing's Congolese forward Mohamed Tchite were also team-mates at RSC Anderlecht in 2006/07, winning the Belgian title together.
• Schalke meet Paris Saint-Germain FC in Matchday 1's other Group A game. Manchester City FC are the only side in the section not in action on 23 October.
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