UEFA Europa Conference League - 2021/22 SeasonMatch press kits
|CFR 1907 Cluj||Stadionul Dr. Constantin Rădulescu - Cluj-NapocaThursday 21 October 2021|
21.00CET (22.00 local time) Group D - Matchday 3
Regular European campaigners CFR Cluj and AZ Alkmaar meet for the first time in UEFA competition with the Romanian champions trailing their Dutch visitors by three points after two rounds of fixtures in UEFA Europa Conference League Group D.
• CFR lost 0-1 at Jablonec on Matchday 1 before drawing 1-1 at home to Randers, whereas AZ followed a draw (2-2 in Denmark) with a victory, their 1-0 win at home to Jablonec lifting them above the Czech side and into top spot in the section.
• The Romanian club's one previous pairing with a Dutch club came in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage when they lost both games (0-1 a, 0-2 h) to PSV Eindhoven, whereas AZ's only experience of Romanian opposition was a positive one as they recovered from a 3-2 away defeat to Astra Giurgiu in the first leg of the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League play-offs to win the return 2-0 in Alkmaar and qualify for the group stage.
• CFR won Romania's Liga I for the fourth successive season in 2020/21, making it seven titles in all, while also competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the second year in a row. Unlike in 2019/20, however, they failed to reach the knockout phase, finishing third in their section behind Roma and Young Boys.
• The Romanian title holders were again foiled by their Swiss counterparts in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, losing 4-2 on aggregate (1-1 h, 1-3 a) after earlier victories over Borac Banja Luka (3-1 h, 1-2 a aet) and Lincoln Red Imps (2-1 a, 2-0 h). They were then beaten in the UEFA Europa League play-off by Crvena zvezda (0-4 a, 1-2 h) to end up as Romania's sole group stage representatives in the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League, with coach Dan Petrescu returning for a third spell at the club to replace Marius Šumudică at the end of August.
• CFR failed to win any of their group games in Romania last season (D2 L1), having picked up a maximum nine points at home in 2019/20. Following the Matchday 2 draw against Randers their home record in UEFA group stages now reads W6 D5 L8.
• AZ finished third in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, one point behind runners-up PSV Eindhoven and 17 adrift of champions Ajax. They also featured in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the seventh time, registering eight points but failing to progress from a tightly-contested section including Napoli, Real Sociedad and Rijeka.
• The Alkmaar side, led since December 2020 by rookie head coach Pascal Jansen, are one of three Dutch sides competing in the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League group stage – a consequence of their UEFA Europa League play-off defeat by Celtic (0-2 a, 2-1 h).
• The 1980/81 UEFA Cup runners-up have lost six of their last eight European away games, five of them without scoring, the exceptions a 1-0 win at Napoli last term and this season's Matchday 1 draw at Randers.
Links and trivia
• CFR boss Petrescu was in the Chelsea side that beat Dutch club Feyenoord 3-1 both home and away in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League second group stage. He has never previously encountered Dutch opposition as a coach.
• Albert Gudmundsson, who scored AZ's Matchday 2 winner against Jablonec, played in Iceland's 0-2 home defeat by Romania in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier on 2 September. CFR's Camora and substitute Cristian Manea featured for the visitors.
• Gudmundsson and CFR's Rúnar Már Sigurjónsson are Icelandic internationals.