Without a goal at home in Group H, Ferencváros will hope to surprise already-qualified Espanyol for a second time this season.
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Without a goal at home in Group H, Ferencváros will hope to surprise Espanyol for a second time this season, although the Spanish side, who are struggling on the domestic front, arrive in Budapest with their place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 already secure.
• The Hungarian champions and league leaders sit third in the table with five points, having taken four of them from CSKA Moskva on Matchdays 3 (1-0 a) and 4 (0-0 h) to supplement the one they plundered on opening night at Espanyol. Since being held 1-1 by Ferencváros in Barcelona, the Spanish club have won all three matches without conceding – 2-0 at CSKA, 1-0 at Ludogorets, then 6-0 at home to the Bulgarian champions in what was their biggest European win.
• While Espanyol are already through, they will clinch top spot with a win, or with a draw if Ludogorets fail to win in Moscow. Ferencváros can still join their Spanish visitors in the knockout phase, but should they lose to Espanyol and Ludogorets defeat CSKA, European football will not be returning to Budapest in the early spring.
• Espanyol had never faced Hungarian opponents in UEFA competition prior to the 1-1 draw with Ferencváros on Matchday 1, an early Javi López own goal eventually being cancelled out on the hour mark by the home side's Argentinian striker Matías Vargas.
• Ferencváros's record against Spanish clubs is now W1 D3 L1 and they are undefeated at home (W1 D1), holding Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw on the last such occasion in the 1995/96 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Ferencváros became champions of Hungary for a record 30th time last season, claiming their first title in three years. In Europe, however, 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, however, 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. The two results in Budapest this season mean their all-time European group stage record in the Hungarian capital is D4 L3.
• 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 after a 2-2 draw 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 are undefeated in their last 24 European games against non-Spanish opposition (W19 D5), including the last 12 on their travels (W8 D4). They have not lost a continental encounter in regulation play since Schalke beat them home (2-1) and away (3-0) in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup third round.
Links and trivia
• Ferencváros and Espanyol 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).
• Espanyol are the only one of those six newcomers yet to be beaten. Indeed they are the only one of the 215 teams who have competed in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, yet to experience defeat.
• Víctor Campuzano has scored in Espanyol's last three group games. The only other player to have found the net on Matchdays 2, 3 and 4 is Rangers' Alfredo Morelos in Group G.
• 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.
• 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.
• Pablo Machín was appointed by Espanyol as David Gallego's replacement on 8 October, thus returning to Spanish Liga and UEFA Europa League duty seven months after being dismissed by Sevilla. He was in charge of the Andalusian side for less than a year following four progressive campaigns at the helm of Catalan outfit Girona, whom he guided into the Spanish top flight before further exceeding expectations by leading them to a tenth-placed Liga finish in 2017/18. Forced to retire from playing at 23, he had a lengthy association with home-town club Numancia before joining Girona in 2014.