Fresh from a historic opening win, Luxembourg champions Dudelange host Azerbaijani counterparts Qarabağ in buoyant mood.
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Fresh from a spectacular and historic opening-night win in Cyprus under their newly-appointed coach Bertrand Crasson, Luxembourg champions Dudelange host their Azerbaijani counterparts Qarabağ in buoyant mood on matchday two of Group A.
• While Dudelange gave up a 2-0 lead then came from behind to beat APOEL 4-3 in Nicosia with a late Danel Sinani winner on matchday one, recording the first ever victory for a team from Luxembourg in a UEFA group stage, Qarabağ conceded three times in the second half to lose 0-3 at home to Sevilla.
• The clubs met three seasons ago in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round. Gurban Gurbanov's Qarabağ won the home leg 2-0 with a double from Richard Almeida before clinching qualification with a 1-1 draw in Dudelange's Stade Jos Nosbaum.
• Those are the only matches Dudelange have played against opposition from Azerbaijan and Qarabağ's sole previous encounters against a team from Luxembourg.
• The premier force in Luxembourg since the turn of the millennium, Dudelange won their 15th national championship last season to make it four in a row. They also shone in continental competition, becoming the first club from Luxembourg to reach a European group stage when they beat CFR Cluj home and away in the UEFA Europa League play-offs. They lost their first five group games before bowing out with a 0-0 draw at home to Real Betis.
• Like last season, Dudelange lost their UEFA Champions League first qualifying round tie – albeit only on away goals to Valletta (2-2 h, 1-1 a) – but once again impressed in the UEFA Europa League preliminaries, eliminating Shkëndija of North Macedonia and Estonia's Nõmme Kalju before seeing off Ararat-Armenia on penalties in the play-offs.
• Dudelange are unbeaten in five home European fixtures (W2 D3), winning the last two. However, they have yet to register a victory, or score a goal, at home in the UEFA Europa League group stage (D1 L2).
• Qarabağ were Azerbaijani champions for the sixth season running in 2018/19 – and seventh overall – having finished eight points clear of runners-up Neftçi. They also made it to a fifth successive European group stage, in the UEFA Europa League, though lost five of their six matches, including both against Sporting CP and Arsenal, the only consolation a 1-0 win away to Vorskla Poltava.
• This season, as in 2018/19, Qarabağ began their European journey in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round but were eliminated two rounds later, by APOEL (2-1 a, 0-2 h), before an away-goals win against Linfield in the UEFA Europa League play-offs (2-3 a, 2-1 h). They have never extended their European involvement into the spring.
• Qarabağ's record outside Azerbaijan in the UEFA Europa League group stage is W3 D1 L8, with all four of their first away games of the section – whether on matchday one or two – having ended in defeat.
Links and trivia
• Dudelange and Qarabağ are their respective countries' sole autumn European representatives for the second season in succession.
• Dudelange goalkeeper Jonathan Joubert became the 11th player over 40 to appear in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, when he took the field against APOEL aged 40 years and seven days. The competition's oldest participant is Brad Friedel, who was aged 42 years and 173 days when he played for Tottenham against Sheriff of Moldova in 2013/14.
• Former Belgian international Bertrand Crasson stepped into the breach at Dudelange ahead of matchday one after his compatriot Emilio Ferrera's short reign ended on 17 September. A defender during his playing days, Crasson won 26 caps for Belgium and appeared at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, while also enjoying lengthy stints at Anderlecht either side of a two-year stay in Italy with Napoli. He joined Dudelange's coaching staff in September 2019, swiftly finding himself in temporary charge following Ferrara's departure.
• Qarabağ coach Gurban Gurbanov is Azerbaijan's highest-scoring international with 12 goals in 64 matches. While he regularly changed club as a player, he celebrated 11 years as head coach of Qarabağ in August 2019, during which time he has led the club to six successive national league titles, four Azerbaijani Cups and European group stage involvement in each of the last six seasons, including a maiden UEFA Champions League adventure in 2017/18. He doubled up as the coach of Azerbaijan from January to December 2018.