Rapid Wien and Vitesse meet for the first time in European competition as the teams from Austria and the Netherlands seek a place in the round of 16.
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Rapid Wien and Vitesse meet for the first time in European competition as the teams from Austria and the Netherlands seek a place in the UEFA Europa Conference League round of 16.
• Rapid claimed third place in UEFA Europa League Group H with a 1-0 win at Genk on Matchday 6, which enabled them to leapfrog their Belgian hosts in a section headed by West Ham United and Dinamo Zagreb. Vitesse were runners-up to Rennes in UEFA Europa Conference League Group G on ten points.
• While this is Vitesse's first official encounter with Austrian opponents, Rapid have met Dutch teams 12 times in the past, though only in one other tie this century, a memorable 5-4 aggregate victory over Ajax in the third qualifying round of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League (2-2 h, 3-2 a).
• Rapid's home record against Dutch visitors is W3 D1 L2, the most recent victory another unforgettable affair as Ernst Dokupil's side beat Feyenoord 3-0 in the semi-final second leg of the 1995/96 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup – after a 1-1 first-leg draw in Rotterdam – to reach the final, which they lost 1-0 to Paris Saint-Germain in Brussels.
• Runners-up in the Austrian Bundesliga for the second successive campaign, with a 15-point deficit on serial champions Salzburg, Rapid entered this season's UEFA Champions League second qualifying round but lost out to Sparta Praha before overcoming Anorthosis and Zorya Luhansk to secure a competition joint-best ninth appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Third last season in a UEFA Europa League section comprising Arsenal, Molde and Dundalk, the Viennese side looked poised to finish fourth this term after losing four of their first five matches in Group H, but that all-important 1-0 win at Genk – their first European game under new head coach Ferdinand Feldhofer – enabled them to snatch third place with just six points, one more than the Belgian side.
• Rapid have won four of their six European games in Vienna this term, the exceptions group encounters against Genk (0-1) and West Ham (0-2). Since that victory against Feyenoord in 1996 they have played three European home games during the spring and lost them all without scoring, the most recent against Inter (0-1) in the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League round of 32, a tie they lost 5-0 on aggregate.
• Vitesse ended their 2020/21 Eredivisie campaign in fourth place, which earned them a return to Europe after a two-season absence, as one of three Dutch teams in the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League group stage – the most of any nation.
• Thomas Letsch's side earned their group stage berth with two tight qualifying phase victories over Dundalk and Anderlecht, and they came through Group G in second place, the highlight a 1-0 home win against Tottenham Hotspur, whose 0-3 forfeit against section winners Rennes on Matchday 6 meant that Vitesse's 3-1 win at home to bottom club Mura was sufficient to secure the Arnhem club's first ever qualification for springtime European football.
• Vitesse's 2-1 win at Dundalk in the third qualifying round second leg was their first outside the Netherlands in UEFA competition since 2002 – a run of 11 matches (D6 L5). However, a defeat at Tottenham (2-3) on Matchday 4 is their only one on the road in Europe this term (W2 D2); they have scored 12 goals in their five European away fixtures in 2021/22, at least two in every game.
UEFA Europa Conference League squad changes
In: Christopher Dibon, Ferdy Druijf (AZ Alkmaar, loan), Rene Kriwak (Wiener SC)
Out: Thierno Ballo (Chelsea, end loan), Ercan Kara (Orlando City), Max Ullmann
In: Gyan de Regt, Adrian Grbić (Lorient, loan), Eric Verstappen
Out: Oussama Darfalou (PEC Zwolle, loan), Oussama Tannane (Göztepe), Julian von Moos (St Gallen)
Links and trivia
• Vitesse coach Letsch managed Rapid's arch-rivals Austria Wien from February 2018 to March 2019. He was also on Salzburg's coaching staff between 2012 and 2015 before taking charge of feeder club Liefering for the next two seasons.
• The Arnhem club’s Croatian youth international defender Alois Oroz was born in Vienna and spent three seasons with Liefering before moving to Arnhem in January 2021.
• Vitesse's new January loan signing Adrian Grbić is a Vienna-born Austrian international who spent his formative years in Rapid's youth sector.
• Maximilian Wittek (Vitesse) and Filip Stojković (Rapid) played together in the German 2. Bundesliga for 1860 München in 2016/17.
• Danish striker Nikolai Baden Frederiksen joined Vitesse last summer after scoring 18 goals in the Austrian Bundesliga for WSG Tirol – the second-highest total in the division – including one in a 3-0 win away to Rapid.
• Vitesse's Riechedly Bazoer was in the Ajax side defeated by Rapid in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.
• Dutch forward Ferdy Druijf joined Rapid on loan from AZ Alkmaar in January.