Copenhagen's third successive group stage campaign kicks off against Lugano, featuring for the second time in three seasons.
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Copenhagen's 19th successive European campaign – and third in succession in the UEFA Europa League group stage – kicks off with a home fixture against less frequent continental contenders Lugano, who are nevertheless back at this stage for the second time in three seasons.
• New ground is being broken by both clubs in this fixture as this is Copenhagen's first UEFA meeting with a club from Switzerland and Lugano's first against opposition from Denmark.
• Copenhagen regained the Superliga crown last term, relegating title holders Midtjylland into second place to become Danish champions for the third time in four seasons – and 13th in all. They lost on penalties to Crvena zvezda of Serbia in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round but were 3-2 aggregate winners over Latvian champions Riga (3-1 h, 0-1 a) in the UEFA Europa League play-offs.
• The Danish club are taking part in a seventh UEFA Europa League group stage and have made further progress just twice before, most recently in 2017/18, when they lost in the round of 32 to eventual winners Atlético Madrid (1-4 home, 0-1 away). They finished bottom of their group last season with five points.
• Copenhagen's victory against Riga was the first time they had scored more than one goal at Parken in seven European matches, the previous six having yielded just three in total for the home side. They took just one point out of nine on home soil in last season's group stage and their overall home record at this stage of the competition has brought as many defeats as victories – seven apiece – in their 18 fixtures.
• Lugano finished third in the 2018/19 Swiss Super League – 45 points behind champions Young Boys – to secure group stage involvement in the UEFA Europa League for the second time in three seasons.
• Also third in 2016/17, Lugano – from the Italian-speaking Ticino canton – secured a first ever group stage participation the following season, having been absent from UEFA competition since 2002/03. They won three and lost three of their six matches, finishing third in Group G.
• In 12 European away matches to date, Lugano have earned just two wins (D2 L8) and scored only six goals – though they were victorious in the most recent, overcoming Romanian side FCSB 2-1 in Bucharest on matchday six in 2017/18.
Links and trivia
• This is Copenhagen's seventh European match of the season – and Lugano's first.
• Ståle Solbakken's second coaching tenure at Copenhagen began in 2013. He has won eight Danish titles in charge of the club – five of those in his first spell from 2006 to 2011 – plus four domestic cups. The former Norway midfielder won 58 caps and scored nine goals for his country, appearing at both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2000, before being forced to retire following a heart attack. He also had short spells coaching in Germany (Köln) and England (Wolves) between two lengthy stints in the Danish capital.
• A former Swiss international midfielder whose 35 caps included a couple of outings at UEFA EURO 2004, Fabio Celestini started out with hometown club Lausanne before moving abroad to play in France (Troyes, Marseille) and Spain (Levante, Getafe). His coaching career took off back at Lausanne in 2015/16 as he led the club to promotion as Challenge League champions. He left in April 2018 shortly before their relegation from the top flight but resurfaced at Lugano six months later and led the side to a third-placed finish in the Super League.