Espanyol's first European campaign in 13 years has brought them up against fellow UEFA Europa League debutants Ferencváros.
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Espanyol's first European campaign in 13 years has brought them a maiden appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage, where they face Hungarian champions Ferencváros, another newcomer to this phase of the competition.
• Espanyol have never faced Hungarian opponents in UEFA competition.
• Ferencváros have a record of W1 D2 L1 against Spanish clubs; their last visit to Spain, in the 1995/96 UEFA Champions League group stage, ended in a 6-1 defeat at Real Madrid.
• Espanyol finished seventh in the 2018/19 Spanish Liga, edging out Athletic Club on the head-to-head rule to book a return to the European stage for the first time since their appearance in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup final, which they lost on penalties to Sevilla in Glasgow.
• The Barcelona-based club, who also lost the 1987/88 UEFA Cup final on spot kicks to Bayer Leverkusen, cruised through their first two qualifying ties this term, defeating Stjarnan 7-1 on aggregate and Luzern 6-0 over the two legs before overcoming Zorya Luhansk in the play-offs (3-1 h, 2-2 a).
• Espanyol have won their last ten home European home games, scoring at least three goals in eight of them including the last six. The last non-Spanish team to deny them victory in front of their own fans were Schalke, 3-0 winners in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup third round second leg.
• Ferencváros became champions of Hungary for a record 30th time last season, their first title in three years. In Europe they were ousted in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League by Maccabi Tel-Aviv (1-1 h, 0-1 a).
• This season, they won their opening two UEFA Champions League qualifying ties for the first time ever – against Ludogorets (2-1 h, 3-2 a) and Valletta (3-1 h, 1-1 a) – but bowed out to Dinamo Zagreb in the third qualifying round, losing 0-4 in Budapest (their joint heaviest home European defeat) after a 1-1 draw in Croatia. They ensured a debut UEFA Europa League group stage appearance by defeating Lithuanian champions Sūduva in the play-offs (0-0 a, 4-2 h).
• Fradi have appeared in two previous European group stages – the 1995/96 UEFA Champions League and 2004/05 UEFA Cup – but failed to win a home game in either of them (D3 L2). In UEFA Europa League qualifying their record in Budapest is W6 D1 L3.
Links and trivia
• Espanyol and Ferencváros are among six teams making their debut in the UEFA Europa League group stage this term, and the only two drawn in the same group. The others are LASK (Group D), Olexandriya (I), Wolfsberg (J) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (K).
• One of Ferencváros coach Serhiy Rebrov's most famous European goals opened the scoring in Dynamo Kyiv's 3-0 win at home to Espanyol's city rivals Barcelona in the 1997/98 UEFA Champions League group stage. He also scored in a 4-0 win at the Camp Nou a fortnight later.
• Appointed head coach of Espanyol in June 2019 following Rubi's departure for Real Betis, David Gallego has been on the coaching staff of the Barcelona-based club since 2013, working chiefly with the youth and B teams – although he did have a fleeting spell in charge of the first team at the end of 2017/18. A native Catalan, his playing career was spent at a multitude of clubs, all but one of them – Recreativo Huelva (2002/03) – in Spain's lower leagues. He decided to hang up his boots in 2009 at the age of 37.
• A glittering career as a player that brought Rebrov 15 goals in 75 internationals for Ukraine – where he was the regular attacking partner to Andriy Shevchenko – and no fewer than 12 domestic league titles, nine of them over two spells with Dynamo Kyiv, has been followed by a highly promising start on the coaching front. Hired by Dynamo in 2014, he won the Ukrainian title in each of his first two seasons and was at it again in the 2018/19 Hungarian NB I campaign with Ferencváros, overseeing the club's 30th national title before steering them into the UEFA Europa League group stage.