Slavia Praha and Feyenoord meet for the fourth time in the UEFA Europa Conference League, drawing a dramatic quarter-final first leg 3-3 in Rotterdam.
Article top media content
Slavia Praha and Feyenoord meet for the fourth time in the UEFA Europa Conference League, having previously been paired together during the autumn group stage before drawing a dramatic quarter-final first leg 3-3 in Rotterdam.
• Slavia, who have played in all three European club competitions this term, came through their UEFA Europa Conference League group in second place with eight points, one more than Union Berlin, then posted two 3-2 wins against Fenerbahçe to progress through the knockout round play-offs before overcoming LASK in the round of 16 (4-1 h, 3-4 a).
• Feyenoord finished six points ahead of Slavia to top Group E undefeated and qualify directly for the round of 16, where they added two more victories in comfortably disposing of Partizan 8-3 on aggregate (5-2 a, 3-1 h), striker Cyriel Dessers taking his competition tally to six goals with one in each leg.
• The teams could not be separated last time out in Rotterdam, Ibrahim Traoré's 95th-minute equaliser crowning a six-goal thriller in which both teams had seized the advantage. Feyenoord went ahead first through Luis Sinisterra (10), then Slavia took charge with goals from their Nigerian strikers Peter Olayinka (41) and Yira Sor (67) – the winter recruit's sixth goal in his last four UEFA Europa Conference League games – before Feyenoord regained the lead through Marcos Senesi and Orkun Kökçü.
• Feyenoord's winless record against Czech opponents ended on 30 September last year when they beat Slavia 2-1 in Rotterdam, first-half strikes from Kökçü and Bryan Linssen putting them two goals up before Tomáš Holeš reduced the deficit after the interval. In the Matchday 5 return in Prague, Slavia led twice, through Olayinka and Jan Kuchta, only for Dessers to equalise twice, his second leveller coming three minutes into added time.
• Slavia's only other previous home fixture against Dutch opposition yielded a 2-1 win against Ajax in the second leg of the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round to send them through 3-1 on aggregate.
• Feyenoord had not beaten Czech opposition in six attempts prior to that home win against Slavia in the autumn, and they remain without a victory in four visits to the Czech Republic (D2 L2). Furthermore, they have lost all three previous knockout ties to Czech clubs, two of them to Slavia's city rivals Sparta Praha.
• Slavia went through the entire 2020/21 domestic 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 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 hosts Union's expense. A 6-4 aggregate defeat of Fenerbahçe then took them through the knockout round play-offs before they scored another seven goals in seeing off LASK.
• This is Slavia's third quarter-final appearance in four European campaigns. They lost to English opposition in the last eight of the UEFA Europa League in 2018/19 (0-1 h, 3-4 a to Chelsea) and 2020/21 (1-1 a, 0-4 h to Arsenal), making their all-time record in European quarter-finals W1 L4, the victory having come at the first attempt, after extra time on away goals against Roma in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup (2-0 h, 1-3 a aet).
• Slavia have lost just one of their last 14 European matches in Prague (W8 D5) – 0-4 to Arsenal in last season's UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg – and are unbeaten at home in this continental campaign (W5 D2), scoring 16 goals.
• Slavia have won six of the nine UEFA competition ties in which they drew the away first leg, losing the most recent against Arsenal last season. Their only other two eliminations have been on the away goals rule after a goalless first leg. They have never previously recorded a 3-3 away draw in the first leg but have succeeded on all four occasions when the scoreline has been 2-2, most recently against Sevilla in the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League round of 32, when they thrillingly won the return fixture 4-3 after extra time in Prague.
• Fifth in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, 29 points in arrears of champions and traditional rivals Ajax, Feyenoord secured their fifth European group stage appearance in six seasons by coming through three UEFA Europa Conference League qualifying rounds under new head coach Arne Slot at the expense of Drita, Luzern and Elfsborg.
• The Rotterdam club had failed to make further progress in four successive European group stage participations until this season, most recently finishing third in their UEFA Europa League section last term, but they had no such difficulties in UEFA Europa Conference League Group E, taking four points off both Slavia and Maccabi Haifa (0-0 a, 2-1 h) and all six off Union Berlin (3-1 h, 2-1 a).
• This is Feyenoord's first European quarter-final since they lifted the UEFA Cup for the second time 20 years ago. They defeated fellow Dutch side PSV Eindhoven on penalties after two 1-1 draws in that season's last-eight tie to make their overall record in UEFA quarter-finals W7 L4.
• The 5-2 win in Belgrade last time out was one of just five victories in Feyenoord's last 34 European away fixtures (D9 L20). Their away record in the UEFA Europa Conference League, however, is W3 D3 L1, the sole defeat 1-3 at Elfsborg in the second leg of the qualifying play-offs after they had won the first game 5-0 in Rotterdam.
• Feyenoord won the first of the 11 UEFA ties in which they drew the first home leg, albeit after a deciding third game against Vasas in the second round of the 1962/63 European Cup (1-1 h, 2-2 a, 1-0 replay), but they have lost all ten since, the most recent against Czech opposition, in their 2012/13 UEFA Europa League qualifying play-off with Sparta (2-2 h, 0-2 a). This is the first time they have drawn the opening home leg 3-3.
Links and trivia
• Opposing forwards Olayinka and Dessers both play international football for Nigeria.
• Aiham Ousou (Slavia) and Patrik Wålemark (Feyenoord) are current Swedish Under-21 internationals.
• Mads Emil Madsen (Slavia) and Gernot Trauner (Feyenoord) were team-mates at LASK in 2020/21.
• Slavia midfielder Holeš scored his first competitive goal for the Czech Republic in their 2-0 win against the Netherlands in the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 – and was voted Star of the Match. Lukáš Masopust, Petr Ševčík and substitute Michael Krmenčík also featured in the game.
• Traoré's late equaliser in Rotterdam means that Slavia and Feyenoord have both scored three goals or more in all of their UEFA Europa Conference League knockout phase matches, the Czech side striking 16 in five games, their Dutch opponents 11 in three.
• Feyenoord are one of two Dutch teams in the UEFA Europa Conference League quarter-finals, along with PSV Eindhoven. No other nation has more than one representative. Feyenoord and PSV are two of three former European Cup/UEFA Champions League winners in the quarter-final line-up – along with Marseille.
• 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. They are also one of three domestic cup holders in the field, alongside Leicester City and PAOK.
• Slavia are the only Czech club still involved in this season's three European club competitions.
• Slavia moved to the top of the Czech Liga table on Sunday, one point ahead of Viktoria Plzeň, with a 4-0 home victory against Pardubice, while Feyenoord also posted a big win in the Eredivisie, coming from behind to beat Heracles 4-1 away.
• The winners of this tie will face Marseille or PAOK in the semi-final.
• Slavia's record in two UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L0:
5-4 v Schalke, 1998/99 UEFA Cup first round
4-3 v Žilina, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
• Feyenoord's record in two UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L0:
5-3 v Sion, 1991/92 European Cup Winners’ Cup second round
5-4 v PSV Eindhoven, 2001/02 UEFA Cup quarter-final