FC Paços de Ferreira's trio of former Romanian champions may have some helpful tips as the Portuguese side welcome CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu in UEFA Europa League Group E.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition and this will be Paços' first encounter with Romanian opposition.
• Pandurii have already recorded one notable coup against Portuguese opponents this season, eliminating 2010/11 UEFA Europa League finalists SC Braga in the play-offs, winning 2-0 in Portugal to make up for a 1-0 home defeat in the first leg, staged in Cluj.
• This is only Paços' third season in European football. They are on a five-game losing streak following back-to-back losses against Bnei Yehuda Tel-Aviv FC in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round, an 8-3 aggregate loss to FC Zenit in this season's UEFA Champions League play-offs, and a 3-0 loss to ACF Fiorentina on matchday one – their heaviest away defeat in European competition to date.
• Paços' 4-2 loss to Zenit in their play-off second leg remains the only European game in which they have scored more than once; they have scored just four times in their nine European fixtures to date.
• Pandurii also lost on matchday one, 1-0 to FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk; it was their second successive 1-0 home defeat in UEFA club competition.
• The Romanian side are yet to lose in three European away games (W2 D1).
• 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).
• Pandurii boast Portuguese talent in the form of midfielder Paulinho and goalkeeper Pedro Mingote, both of whom have spent much of the last five years in Romania.
• Paços defender Tony, midfielder André Leão and forward Manuel José are all well acquainted with Romanian football: the trio all spent three years in Romania at CFR 1907 Cluj, during the period in which the club won the 2007/08 and 2009/10 league titles, and successive Romanian Cup finals in 2008, 2009 and 2010, although Manuel José left for Paços in 2009.
• Coach Sérgio Gaminho is on the bench for Paços, but the man picking the team is Costinha, who replaced FC Porto-bound Paulo Fonseca at the club in summer 2013. A midfielder in the Porto side that won the 2002/03 UEFA Cup and 2003/04 UEFA Champions League under José Mourinho, Costinha also played in France, Spain, Russia and Italy, and was sporting director at Sporting Clube de Portugal and Servette FC before taking charge of SC Beira-Mar.
• 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.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.