A first European meeting between frequent continental travellers Fenerbahçe and Slavia Praha takes place in Istanbul in the first leg of their knockout play-off.
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A first European meeting between frequent continental travellers Fenerbahçe and Slavia Praha takes place in Istanbul as the clubs contest the first leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League knockout play-off.
• Fenerbahçe finished third in UEFA Europa League Group D during the autumn, behind Eintracht Frankfurt and Olympiacos, while Slavia, who have played in all three European club competitions this term, came through their UEFA Europa Conference League section in second place behind Feyenoord, finishing on eight points, one more than Union Berlin.
• Although the clubs have never previously met in UEFA competition, Fenerbahçe have faced Czech opponents ten times (W4 D1 L5). At home their record is W2 D1 L2 with no defeats in the last three. The Istanbul side's record in two-legged knockout ties against Czech clubs is W2 L2, the most recent having ended in their favour as they ousted Viktoria Plzeň from the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League round of 16 (1-0 a, 1-1 h) en route to reaching the semi-finals in what remains the club's most successful European campaign.
• Slavia's lone previous experience of Turkish opposition was a fourth-round tie in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup which they lost 4-3 on aggregate to Fenerbahçe's city rivals Beşiktaş (1-0 h, 2-4 a).
• Third in the 2020/21 Turkish Süper Lig, two points behind both champions Beşiktaş and runners-up Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe returned to Europe after a two-season absence and defeated HJK Helsinki in the play-offs to make a sixth appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• The Istanbul club's perfect qualifying record at that stage of the UEFA Europa League ended this term, however, as they were beaten home (0-3) and away (0-1) by Olympiacos and held to two 1-1 draws by Eintracht Frankfurt. Their only win was 3-0 away to Antwerp, with whom they had drawn 2-2 at home a fortnight earlier.
• Fenerbahçe were unbeaten in Istanbul in six European matches (W4 D2) until that defeat by Olympiacos on Matchday 2 but are now without a home win in three. They do, however, boast an impressive home record in the spring, having never lost in Istanbul in the knockout phase of either the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League (W8 D3).
• Slavia went through the entire domestic 2020/21 season unbeaten to win a Czech league and cup double, and also enjoyed a lengthy run in the UEFA Europa League, reaching the last eight for the second time in three seasons, where they lost to Arsenal having previously overcome two other British clubs, Leicester City and Rangers, in the knockout phase.
• This European campaign, however, did not start off well during the summer for Jindřich Trpišovský's side with defeats in both qualifying ties – against Ferencváros in the UEFA Champions League and Legia Warszawa in the UEFA Europa League play-offs. That meant a switch to the UEFA Europa Conference League, where they won two, drew two and lost two of their group games, a vital 1-1 draw in Berlin on Matchday 6 enabling them to qualify as Group E runners-up at the German club's expense, albeit six points in arrears of section winners Feyenoord.
• Slavia lost their first four European away matches this season, including the Group E games in Rotterdam (1-2) and at Maccabi Haifa (0-1), before drawing against Union. In their last two UEFA Europa League knockout phase campaigns, however, their record on the road is W3 D2 L1, the only defeat 3-4 at eventual winners Chelsea in the 2018/19 quarter-final second leg.
UEFA Europa Conference League squad changes
In: Serdar Dursun, Ozan Tufan (Watford, end loan)
Out: Max Meyer (Midtjylland, loan), Diego Rossi, Muhammed Gümüskaya (Giresunspor, loan)
In: Mads Emil Madsen, Yira Sor (Baník Ostrava), Maksym Talovierov (Dynamo České Budějovice)
Out: Jan Boříl, Ubong Ekpai (Baník Ostrava, loan), Christian Fülöp, Jan Kuchta (Lokomotiv Moskva), Ladislav Takács
Links and trivia
• Fenerbahçe defender Filip Novák is a Czech international. He played six times against Slavia in the Czech league for Zlín and Jablonec (W3 D2 L1), scoring in both games against them for Jablonec in 2014/15 (1-1 a, 2-1 h).
• Novák has played alongside several Slavia players for the Czech Republic and is a former Jablonec team-mate of Lukáš Masopust (2014–16) and Stanislav Tecl (2015/16).
• Tecl made his senior debut for the Czech Republic as a substitute in a 2-0 win against Turkey in a Manisa friendly on 6 February 2013.
• Fenerbahçe appointed a new head coach on 12 January, İsmail Kartal replacing Vítor Pereira, who was dismissed on 20 December.
• Slavia are one of two reigning domestic champions participating in the UEFA Europa Conference League knockout round play-offs, the other Norwegian title holders Bodø/Glimt.