CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu are up against it in their first Group E game as they take on the top scorers in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage, FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.
• The sides are meeting for the first time, and this is Pandurii's first encounter with Ukrainian opposition and Dnipro's first game against a Romanian side.
• Sides from Romania and neighbouring Ukraine have met in 20 UEFA club competition games, with the Romanian side having marginally the better of the encounters – W7 D7 L6 (W2 D4 L3 at home). Those fixtures include the 1987 UEFA Super Cup, where FC Steaua Bucureşti beat FC Dynamo Kyiv 1-0 in Monaco.
• The balance of power between the two nations has shifted in recent years; the Ukrainian side has won the last four encounters between Romanian and Ukrainian clubs.
• Pandurii's first three European home games have ended in a win, a draw and a defeat. However, they have eliminated FC Levadia Tallinn, Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC and then 2011 UEFA Europa League finalists SC Braga to reach this stage.
• This is Dnipro's fourth group stage campaign; in 2004/05 they reached the round of 32, losing to FK Partizan. They failed to reach the last 32 in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup but breezed through last season only to lose out to FC Basel 1893 in the first knockout round.
• Alexandru Vlad left Pandurii in the summer to move to Dnipro, having played 58 league games in the course of two seasons with the Romanian club.
• Pandurii's Brazilian midfielder Eric Pereira played for FC Karpaty Lviv in 2011/12.
• Pandurii are one of four teams in the UEFA Europa League group stage who are making their European debuts this season alongside Wigan Athletic FC (ENG), FC Kuban Krasnodar (RUS) and Estoril Praia (POR).
• Dnipro coach Juande Ramos won the UEFA Cup twice as Sevilla coach, in 2006 and 2007, and is one of only three coaches in the group stage to have had their hands on the trophy before. PAOK FC's Huub Stevens, who won it as a player (PSV Eindhoven, 1978) and a coach (FC Schalke 04, 1997), and Tottenham Hotspur FC manager André Villas-Boas (FC Porto, 2011) are the others.
• Dnipro were the top scorers in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League group stage with 16 goals.
• A prolific striker with CS Gaz Metan Mediaş and FC Unirea Alba Iulia, Pandurii coach Cristian Pustai never got to play in Romania's top division, but made up for that as a coach. He won promotion to the Liga with Gaz Metan, then took his old side into Europe for the first time, reaching the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League play-offs. Hired by Pandurii in January 2013, he helped the club secure a best-ever finish of second in the league last season.
• Dnipro coach since October 2010, Juande Ramos led Sevilla FC to back-to-back UEFA Cup successes in 2005/06 and 2006/07, before short and less successful spells in charge of Tottenham Hotspur FC, Real Madrid CF and PFC CSKA Moskva. A midfielder in the lower leagues in his native Spain, he worked his way up as a coach, taking over at Sevilla following a decent spell at Málaga CF in 2003/04, which included a celebrated 5-1 win against FC Barcelona.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.