The reigning champions of Denmark and Scotland come face to face at Parken Stadium as Copenhagen play host to Celtic.
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The reigning champions of Denmark and Scotland come face to face at Parken Stadium as Copenhagen play host to Celtic in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
• Copenhagen finished second in Group B during the autumn, ceding top spot to Scandinavian rivals Malmö after a 0-1 home defeat to the Swedish side on Matchday 6 but qualifying with nine points – two more than third-placed Dynamo Kyiv. Celtic also lost their final group encounter, 0-2 at CFR Cluj, but secured qualification after just four matches thanks to back-to-back wins against Lazio and ended up with 13 points to top Group E.
• The clubs have been paired together once before, in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League group stage. Both teams won at home, Celtic 1-0 in Glasgow, Copenhagen 3-1 in the Danish capital, but it was the Scottish side who progressed to the round of 16 as group runners-up, with Copenhagen finishing fourth.
• Copenhagen's overall record against Scottish clubs is W3 D1 L3. At home it is W2 L1, with that visit by Celtic the most recent such encounter.
• The Bhoys have won three and lost three of their six UEFA matches in Denmark, although they have been defeated on their last two visits, most recently 2-1 by Aalborg in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Copenhagen regained the Superliga crown last term, relegating 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 in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round but were 3-2 aggregate winners over Latvian champions Riga in the UEFA Europa League play-offs.
• The Danish club's seventh UEFA Europa League group stage participation brought a third qualification, though they managed just five goals in their six games, scoring once in each of the first five – including two 1-0 wins against Lugano and three 1-1 draws – before that Matchday 6 loss to Malmö.
• Copenhagen are in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 for the fourth time. They have won only one of their three previous ties at this stage – against Ludogorets in 2016/17 (2-1 a, 0-0 h). Their two defeats came against Marseille in 2009/10 (1-3 h, 1-3 a) and eventual winners Atlético Madrid in 2017/18 (1-4 h, 0-1 a).
• Copenhagen's 3-1 home win against Riga in August is the only one of their last ten European matches at Parken in which they have scored more than one goal, the other nine having yielded just five in total for the home side. Their overall home record in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, is W9 D6 L10.
• Celtic won the domestic treble of Premiership, Scottish Cup and League Cup for an unprecedented third successive season in 2018/19, but in Europe they missed out on the UEFA Champions League group stage and lost five matches out of eight in the UEFA Europa League, including both round of 32 encounters against Valencia (0-2 h, 0-1 a).
• This term Celtic again failed to negotiate the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, losing to CFR Cluj, but a play-off win against 2018 Swedish champions AIK put them into the UEFA Europa League group stage for the sixth time. They cruised through to the knockout phase with two games to spare, thanks to successive 2-1 wins against Lazio, and although they lost again to CFR on Matchday 6 (having beaten them 2-0 at home), they finished a point ahead of the Romanian side to claim top spot in a UEFA Europa League group for the first time.
• Celtic have lost all three of their previous UEFA Europa League round of 32 ties, going out to Internazionale in 2014/15 (3-3 h, 0-1 a) and Zenit in 2017/18 (1-0 h,0-3 a) before falling to Valencia last term. They have failed to score in all three away fixtures at this juncture, losing each game.
• Until last season's Matchday 5 victory at Rosenborg (1-0) the Glasgow club had never won outside Scotland in the UEFA Europa League. Their away record in the competition proper is now W2 D9 L10.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Stephan Andersen, Mikkel Kaufmann (Aalborg), Ragnar Sigurdsson (Rostov)
Out: Nicklas Bendtner, Nicolai Boilesen, Ahmed Daghim (Hamarkameratene), Frederik Ibsen (Kolding), Carlo Holse (Rosenborg), Robert Mudražija
In: Daniel Church*, Jeremie Frimpong, Ewan Henderson*, Patryk Klimala, Kieran McGrath*, Ismaila Soro (Bnei Yehuda), Stephen Welsh*
Out: Conor Hazard (Dundee, loan), Mark Hill, Lewis Morgan (Inter Miami), Grant Savoury, Marian Shved, Scott Sinclair (Preston North End)
Links and trivia
• Coaches Ståle Solbakken and Neil Lennon were in opposition when the teams met in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League, the latter as a player.
• Copenhagen striker Viktor Fischer scored for Ajax against Celtic in a 2-2 home draw on Matchday 1 of the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League, also featuring in a 2-1 win in the Glasgow return.
• Celtic are through to the round of 32 for the third year in a row. It is the first time that the Glasgow giants are playing European football in the spring for a third successive season since they reached the latter stages of the European Cup four years running from 1968/69 to 1971/72.
• Celtic won the Scottish League Cup for the fourth year in succession – and 19th time in all – with a 1-0 victory over Rangers at Hampden on 8 December, defender Christopher Jullien scoring the winning goal.
• The Hoops have won all seven of their Scottish Premiership matches in 2020 and now boast a ten-point lead over Rangers, who have a game in hand.
• 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.
• Having just left Hibernian, former Northern Ireland international Lennon returned for a second spell as Celtic manager in February 2019 following Brendan Rodgers' mid-season move to Leicester City, and duly sealed the club's 'treble treble' of domestic trophies. He had previously served the Glasgow club as player (2000–07) and manager (2010–14), capturing 16 trophies during those spells, though it was at Leicester, where he won two League Cups under his compatriot Martin O'Neill, that he first made his mark as an industrious and effective midfield anchorman.
UEFA Europa League knockout debut for VAR system
Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will be deployed in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. The decision was taken by the UEFA Executive Committee last September, following the introduction of the system in several UEFA competitions in the 2018/19 campaign.