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Scandinavian rivals seek group-stage returns

Norwegian titleholders Rosenborg BK take on Danish counterparts FC København with both seeking a return to the UEFA Champions League group stage after several years away.

Rosenborg's Steffen Iversen (left) has already scored against København
Rosenborg's Steffen Iversen (left) has already scored against København ©Getty Images

There will be plenty at stake when Rosenborg BK take on FC København in the UEFA Champions League play-off round with each seeking to return to the group stage after several years away.

• Norwegian champions Rosenborg featured most recently in the last 32 in 2007/08, with their Danish opponents making their one and only group-stage appearance the previous season.

• This is Rosenborg's first UEFA Champions League tilt for three seasons, while twice in the last three campaigns København have fallen at the final hurdle before the group stage.

• Both have cause for optimism this time around, Rosenborg keeping four clean sheets in eliminating Linfield FC (2-0 on aggregate) and AIK Solna (4-0) in the second and third qualifying rounds respectively. København showed their mettle in holding off FC BATE Borisov 3-2 to take a play-off place.

Previous meetings
• The teams have crossed paths only once in UEFA competition, sharing a 1-1 draw in Copenhagen in the UEFA Cup group stage on 4 December 2008. Steffen Iversen put Rosenborg in front (33) but Mikael Antonsson (85) earned the home side a point, eliminating the visitors in the process.

• The lineups for that game were:
København: Christiansen, Pospěch, Laursen, Antonsson, Wendt, Kvist (Nørregaard 71), Hutchinson (Júnior 71), Kristensen, Sionko, Nordstrand, César Santin.
Rosenborg: Jarstein, Lustig, Dorsin, Demidov, Alejandro Lago, Nordvik, Strand (Storflor 75), Konan Ya (Pelu 62), Tettey, Skjelbred, Iversen (Aas 84).

• The teams also met in the second stage of the inaugural Scandinavian Royal League in 2004/05. København were held 2-2 at home before a 1-0 win at Rosenborg – Hjalte Nørregaard scoring the only goal. The Danish club went on to win the trophy, retaining it the following year.

Match background
• Rosenborg are unbeaten against Danish opposition in UEFA competition and have won their two previous home matches – both against Brøndby IF – by a single goal. They won 1-0 in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round before a 3-2 victory in the UEFA Cup first round six years later when Per Ciljan Skjelbred was among the scorers.

• København are also unbeaten in their five UEFA games against Tippeligaen sides, all coming since August 2008. In Norway, the Copenhagen club defeated Lillestrøm SK 4-2 in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round, before sharing a goalless draw with Stabæk Fotball in last season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

Team ties
• Rosenborg's squad includes Danish centre-half Kris Stadsgaard, who spent four and a half years in his homeland with FC Nordsjælland before joining Reggina Calcio in 2007/08, moving on to Rosenborg in 2008.

• Rosenborg midfielder Fredrik Winsnes scored four goals in 45 league appearances for Danish club Aalborg BK between 2006 and 2007. Club-mate Rade Prica also played for AaB between 2006 and 2008, his 48 Superligaen outings bringing 28 goals including the winner in a 2-1 victory at København on 5 May 2007.

• København coach Ståle Solbakken and assistant Bård Wiggen are both Norwegian, with the former due to take charge of Norway's national side at the end of their UEFA EURO 2012 campaign.

• Jesper Grønkjær scored the only goal as Denmark beat Norway 1-0 in a UEFA EURO 2004 qualifier at the Parken Stadium, København's home ground, on 7 June 2003.

• Among the players to have represented both clubs are former Norway defender André Bergdølmo, winner of four successive league championships with Rosenborg between 1997 and 2000 before Danish title success with København in 2006 and 2007, and Harald Martin Brattbakk. The striker scored 14 goals in 31 league games for København between 2000 and 2001 having made his name at Rosenborg, his 149 goals in 223 Tippeligaen outings helping the club to eight league titles.