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Valencia in town for Bursaspor's big night

It is a milestone night at the Atatürk Stadyumu on 14 September when Turkish titleholders Bursaspor make their UEFA Champions League debut against Group C rivals Valencia CF.

Valencia in town for Bursaspor's big night
Valencia in town for Bursaspor's big night ©UEFA.com

Bursaspor will enjoy a milestone night whatever the outcome of their Group C opener against Valencia CF, for this is their first ever match in the UEFA Champions League.

• Ertuğrul Sağlam's charges are the first team from outside Istanbul to have claimed the Turkish title since 1984 and, ignoring their dalliance with the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1995, have not won a match on the European stage for 36 years.

• In contrast Valencia return to the UEFA Champions League after a two-season absence for their seventh campaign in the group stage.

Match background
• Bursaspor are competing in a major UEFA club competition for the first time since a first-round loss to eventual winners AFC Ajax in the 1986/87 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

• Their only previous victories in Europe came in 1974/75 when home successes against Finn Harps FC (4-2) and Dundee United FC (1-0) carried them to the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals, where they fell to home (0-1) and away (0-2) losses against an FC Dynamo Kyiv side that would also go on and claim the trophy.

• Unai Emery's Valencia performed impressively on their travels in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League, suffering just one defeat in seven away matches – although they won only two – before succumbing on away goals to eventual winners Club Atlético de Madrid in the quarter-finals.

• Although Bursaspor have never met Spanish opposition, their coach Sağlam faced Valencia as a player with Beşiktaş JK in the 1996/97 UEFA Cup third round. Sağlam played in a 3-1 first-leg defeat for Beşiktaş in Spain but missed the 2-2 return draw in Istanbul. The substitute who replaced him in the first leg was Mutlu Topçu, today his assistant coach.

• The man in charge of Beşiktaş for that contest, Rasim Kara, had previously kept goal for Bursaspor in their 1974/75 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup run.

• Valencia's two other previous encounters with Turkish opponents came in their triumphant 2003/04 UEFA Cup campaign. The Spanish side needed a last-minute David Navarro goal to defeat Beşiktaş 3-2 at home in the third round first leg before a 2-0 success in Istanbul. Rafael Benítez's team faced Gençlerbirliği SK in the next round and overcame a 1-0 first-leg loss with a 2-0 victory, Vicente Rodríguez hitting the extra-time winner at Mestalla.

Team ties
• David Albelda was also involved in those 2003/04 ties, appearing in the first leg against Gençlerbirliği. Bursaspor right-back Ali Tandoğan played in both matches for Gençlerbirliği.

• Bursaspor's Argentinian midfielder Federico Insúa spent 2003/04 on loan at Málaga CF and was in the team beaten 1-0 at Mestalla and 6-1 at home by Valencia.

• Bursaspor's Serbian defender Milan Stepanov had a loan spell at Málaga last season and suffered a 1-0 loss at Valencia on his second Liga appearance.

• Juan Mata appeared as a second-half substitute in Spain's 1-0 home victory against Turkey in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying.

• Valencia's summer acquisition from Turkey, midfielder Mehmet Topal, played for Çanakkale Dardanelspor and Galatasaray AŞ before moving to Mestalla. He suffered a 1-0 defeat in Bursa with Galatasaray last season.