Arsenal v Köln background

Arsenal make their UEFA Europa League debut in Group H – and hope to avoid a repeat of their last home result against Bundesliga opponents as Köln come calling.

Mesut Özil is one of three German players on Arsenal's books
Mesut Özil is one of three German players on Arsenal's books ©Getty Images

#EQUALGAME
This week, football fans watching UEFA Europa League matches in stadiums, online and on TV will witness the premiere of the new UEFA RESPECT TV ads, called #EqualGame. The adverts feature Ada Hegerberg, Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, Cristiano Ronaldo and amateur players and will run throughout the season to promote inclusion, diversity and accessibility in European Football with the motto "Everyone has the right to enjoy football, no matter who you are, where you're from, or how you play." More information on the campaign and on the advertisements can be found in the accompanying media release and on the campaign website: www.equalgame.com.

Arsenal will make their UEFA Europa League debut in Group H, hoping to avoid a repeat of their last home result against Bundesliga opponents as Köln come calling.

Previous meetings
• The clubs are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.

• Arsenal's record in 36 games against Bundesliga sides is W16 D6 L14 (W11 D1 L6 at home). They have lost five of their last seven home matches against German teams.

• Köln's record in 12 encounters with English clubs is W2 D4 L6 (D2 L3 in England)

Form guide
• Arsenal were beaten 5-1 at home by Köln's domestic rivals Bayern in their last European home fixture, in last season's UEFA Champions League round of 16.

• Köln have lost only one of their last five European away games (W3 D1 L1) – though all of those matches were played in the 1990s.

• Arsenal are making their UEFA Europa League group stage debut; their last appearance in this competition was the 2000 UEFA Cup final, which they lost on penalties to Galatasaray.

• Runners-up in the two-legged 1986 UEFA Cup final, Köln are back in Europe for the first time in 20 years; their only previous group campaigns were in the UEFA Intertoto Cup.

Watch all six of Arsenal’s UEFA Champions League hat-tricks
Watch all six of Arsenal’s UEFA Champions League hat-tricks

Links and trivia
• The journey from Cologne to London is around 500km.

• Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny is serving a one-match suspension for this game.

• Köln's Marco Höger (2015–16) and Christian Clemens (2013–16) played alongside Arsenal's Sead Kolašinac at Schalke in Germany.

• Arsenal's Per Mertesacker, Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Özil are all German, while Granit Xhaka (Mönchengladbach 2012–16), Francis Coquelin (Freiburg 2013–14) and Kolašinac (Schalke 2012–17) have Bundesliga experience.

• Arsenal fans may remember with fondness that Köln inflicted an 8-0 defeat on their north London neighbours Tottenham Hotspur in the 1995 UEFA Intertoto Cup – Spurs' worst result in European football.

The coaches
• Arsène Wenger has been Arsenal boss since 1996, leading the Gunners to three English titles, seven FA Cups and the 2006 UEFA Champions League final. An unremarkable player, he made his name as a coach with Nancy and Monaco in his native France.

• Peter Stöger has guided Köln back into Europe for the first time in 20 years. A four-time league champion – and 65-times capped international – as a player in his native Austria, he moved to Köln after steering Austria Wien to the 2012/13 title.