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Genk's tough test against Valencia's strong starters

In the group stage for only the second time, KRC Genk will be looking for a flying start against a Valencia CF side who have become accustomed to claiming three points on matchday one.

Genk celebrate their play-off round success
Genk celebrate their play-off round success ©Getty Images

For the start of their second participation in the UEFA Champions League, KRC Genk play host in Group E to a Valencia CF side who are traditionally strong starters in the competition.

Previous meetings
• This is the teams' first meeting and the Belgian side have only faced Spanish opponents in four previous fixtures. They have yet to win although three of those encounters ended all square, including the two home games, against Real Madrid CF in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League and RCD Mallorca in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. Both finished 1-1.

• Valencia's only previous visit to Belgium for a UEFA Champions League fixture ended in a 2-1 win at RSC Anderlecht in the 2004/05 group stage. They have enjoyed four wins in nine matches against Belgian sides; away from home they have lost two and drawn one of four fixtures.

Match background
• Genk reached the group stage for the first time in nine years in dramatic circumstances, the Belgian champions overturning Maccabi Haifa FC's 2-1 advantage in the play-off first leg to win by the same score in the return. With no addition to the 3-3 aggregate score in extra time, it went to the shoot-out, Genk winning 4-1 thanks to two saves from goalkeeper László Köteles.

• Coach Frank Vercauteren stepped down after the first leg against Haifa. Pierre Denier was in caretaker charge for the return before Mario Been was appointed as Vercauteren's permanent successor on 30 August.

• The Belgian side defeated FK Partizan in the third qualifying round, winning 2-1 at home with goals from Jelle Vossen and Marvin Ogunjimi. Vossen's penalty equaliser earned a 1-1 second-leg draw in Belgrade.

• In Genk's only previous UEFA Champions League participation, in 2002/03, they finished bottom of their group with four points, drawing at home with AEK Athens FC and Real Madrid while AS Roma inflicted a 1-0 defeat in Belgium.

• In last season's competition – their seventh in the UEFA Champions League – Valencia began with a 4-0 away victory against Bursaspor en route to finishing second in their group behind Manchester United FC. They drew 1-1 away to both United and Rangers FC and shared the same scoreline at home to FC Schalke 04 in the round of 16 first leg, subsequently losing 3-1 in Germany to bow out.

• Last season's matchday one victory was in keeping with the way the Blanquinegros, who finished third in last season's Liga, have begun previous campaign; it was their seventh successive victory in the opening fixture. Their last three opening-day wins all came away from Spain; the first four were at Mestalla.

Team ties
• Jeroen Simaeys was in the Club Brugge KV team that drew 1-1 away to Valencia in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage.

• Anthony Vanden Borre's RSC Anderlecht lost 2-0 in Valencia in the UEFA Champions League group stage on 14 September 2004.

• Vanden Borre was also part of the Belgium team that lost both FIFA World Cup qualifiers to Spain in October 2008 (1-2) and September 2009 (0-5) as well as the 2-0 World Cup qualifying reverse in October 2005, which also featured Thomas Buffel and David Albelda. Albelda was also involved in the 2-0 home win for Spain against Belgium a year earlier.

• Elyaniv Barda was a member of the Maccabi Haifa FC side who lost 4-0 at home to Valencia in the second round of the 2003/04 UEFA Cup, a competition the Spanish side went on to win.

• Pablo Hernández struck two extra-time goals against Club Brugge to send Valencia into the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League round of 16. Éver Banega, Albelda, Miguel, Ángel Dealbert and Hedwiges Maduro were also involved in Valencia's 3-0 second-leg win at Mestalla.

• Adil Rami played in the first leg of LOSC Lille Métropole's 2-1 UEFA Europa League play-off triumph at Genk in August 2009, part of a 6-3 aggregate success.

• Mehmet Topal came on as a substitute in Turkey's 1-1 UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying draw away to Belgium on 3 June. The midfielder also featured in a World Cup qualifier against the Red Devils that finished 1-1 in September 2008.

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