Lugano entertain Malmö in St Gallen with a pressing need for victory if they are to keep alive their hopes of progressing from Group B.
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Lugano, led by new coach Maurizio Jacobacci, entertain Malmö in St Gallen with a pressing need for victory if they are to keep alive their hopes of progressing from Group B. The Swedish side were 2-1 victors in the clubs' first meeting on Matchday 3, but despite their first win in the section they remain outside the qualifying places, albeit just one point in arrears of both F.C. Copenhagen and Dynamo Kyiv.
• Defeated 1-0 at Dynamo in their opening fixture, Malmö came from behind to draw 1-1 against Scandinavian neighbours Copenhagen before continuing their upward trend by defeating Lugano with sixth European goals from both Jo Inge Berget (penalty) and Guillermo Molins. Lugano, meanwhile, followed up a 1-0 defeat in the Danish capital with a 0-0 home draw against Dynamo, their solitary goal so far coming from a Swede, Alexander Gerndt, in that 2-1 defeat in Sweden last time out.
• The Matchday 3 fixture was Lugano's first UEFA encounter with Swedish opposition.
• Malmö have now won two of their nine matches against Swiss clubs but have lost three and drawn one of their four previous games in Switzerland and have never scored in the country. The last visit brought their heaviest defeat – 3-0 by Thun in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round to seal their elimination 4-0 on aggregate.
• 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.
• The lakeside club have won four of their last six European home fixtures (D1 L1) and have a record of W2 D1 L1 in Switzerland in the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Swedish champions for a record 20th time in 2017, Malmö finished third in their 2018 title defence, behind AIK and Norrköping, to secure European football for a third successive season. They notched up a club-record 16 European matches last term, from their starting point in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round to the UEFA Europa League round of 32, where they lost to eventual winners Chelsea, home and away group wins against Beşiktaş having brought them springtime continental football for the first time in 32 years.
• Malmö ensured a second successive appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage – and third in total – by winning four qualifying ties this term. They overcame Ballymena, Domžale, Zrinjski and, in the play-offs, Bnei Yehuda, racking up 23 goals in the process and conceding just five.
• Malmö have lost only four of their last 13 European away fixtures, winning six. In the UEFA Europa League group stage, however, the all-important 1-0 win at Beşiktaş on Matchday 6 last term stands alone, with five of their other six away games having ended in defeat.
Links and trivia
• Lugano striker Gerndt is a former Sweden international, having won ten caps – and scored two goals – from 2010–13. He was the Swedish Allsvenskan's top scorer and player of the year in 2010, registering eight goals for Gefle (including one against Malmö) and 12 for Helsingborg.
• Gerndt helped Helsingborg to the Swedish league title in 2011. His last match in Sweden, before a mid-campaign move to Utrecht, was a derby against regional rivals Malmö in which he was sent off.
• Gerndt is a former international team-mate of Malmö's Molins, Markus Rosenberg, Rasmus Bengtsson, Johan Dahlin and Behrang Safari.
• Safari, who made his 100th UEFA club competition appearance on Matchday 2, is familiar with Switzerland having had two spells there with Basel, during which he won five Super League titles and one Swiss Cup.
• Malmö are one of only two clubs to have reached this season's UEFA Europa League group stage having started their campaign in the first qualifying round, the other being Rangers.
• The 2019 Allsvenskan concluded last weekend, with Malmö finishing runners-up, one point behind champions Djurgården, after a dramatic final day.
• Lugano appointed 56-year-old Maurizio Jacobacci as the club's new head coach on 28 October in place of Fabio Celestini. An experienced coach with a lengthy CV, Jacobacci arrived from third-tier neighbours Bellinzona, having previously served in the Swiss Super League with Sion from February to September 2018. A former striker, he played for several clubs, winning the Swiss league title with Neuchâtel Xamax in 1986/87, and led Vaduz of Liechtenstein to a famous 4-0 UEFA Cup qualifying win at Hungarian club Újpest two decades later.
• Born in the former East Germany, Uwe Rösler left his homeland in 1994 to play up front for Manchester City, which he did for four years, forming a bond with English football that brought him back to the country to manage four lower-league clubs – Brentford, Wigan, Leeds and Fleetwood. His coaching career had begun in Norway with Lillestrøm, his final club as a player, and in June 2018 he returned to Scandinavia to become the new boss of reigning Swedish champions Malmö, masterminding progress into the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League round of 32.