UEFA Europa League - 2020/21 SeasonMatch press kits
|Dundalk FC||Tallaght Stadium - DublinThursday 22 October 2020|
18.55CET (17.55 local time) Group B - Matchday 1
The Tallaght Stadium in Dublin is the venue as the 2019 champions of the Republic of Ireland and Norway meet in their opening encounter of the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League group stage.
• This is the clubs' first encounter in UEFA competition.
• Dundalk's only previous encounters with Norwegian opposition came against Rosenborg in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, when they drew 1-1 at home before losing the tie with a 2-1 extra-time defeat in Trondheim.
• Likewise, Molde have been paired with opposition from the Republic of Ireland just once before, also in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, beating Sligo Rovers 1-0 away and 2-0 at home in 2013/14.
• Dundalk retained the League of Ireland title in 2019, making it five triumphs in six years and 14 overall. Runners-up also in the FAI Cup, losing on penalties to league runners-up Shamrock Rovers after a 1-1 draw, their 2019/20 European campaign ended in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League against Slovan Bratislava (0-1 a, 1-3 h). They had been eliminated from the UEFA Champions League a round earlier by Qarabağ (1-1 h, 0-3 a).
• Beaten 3-0 at Slovenian champions Celje in their UEFA Champions League first qualifying round tie this term, Dundalk came through three subsequent UEFA Europa League qualifiers – 1-0 at Inter d'Escaldes of Andorra, 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw away to Sheriff of Moldova, and 3-1 at home to KÍ of the Faroe Islands – to book their second appearance in the competition's group stage following a 2016/17 campaign in which they registered four points to finish bottom of a section including Zenit, AZ Alkmaar and Maccabi Tel-Aviv. The only other Irish participants in the UEFA Europa League group stage are Shamrock Rovers, who lost all six fixtures in 2011/12.
• Dundalk's victory over KÍ ended a run of four winless European qualifying matches in Ireland (D3 L1). In 2016/17 they won their first home group game, 1-0 against Maccabi Tel-Aviv, before losing the other two. Home and away, they have lost their last four UEFA Europa League group fixtures.
• Champions of Norway in 2019, claiming their fourth title in nine years, Molde are back in the UEFA Europa League group stage having just missed out on a place in the UEFA Champions League. Following qualifying victories against KuPS (5-0 h), Dundalk's conquerors Celje (2-1 a) and Qarabağ (0-0 a, 6-5 on pens), Erling Moe's side lost out in the play-offs on away goals to Ferencváros (3-3 h, 0-0 a).
• Defeated in the UEFA Europa League play-offs in each of the past two seasons – by Zenit in 2018/19 and Partizan in 2019/20 – Molde are competing in the group stage for the third time. Bottom of their group in 2012/13, they defied the odds to top a section including Fenerbahçe, Ajax and Celtic in 2015/16 before losing to eventual winners Sevilla in the round of 32 (0-3 a, 1-0 h).
• Molde have won just two of their last nine European away matches (D4 L3) but are unbeaten in six games, home and away (W2 D4).
Links and trivia
• Current Dundalk players Gary Rogers and David McMillan started both UEFA Champions League qualifying matches for Sligo against Molde in 2013.