Malmö's second successive appearance in the round of 32 takes them to Germany, where Wolfsburg have a proud recent record.
Article top media content
Malmö's second successive appearance in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 takes them to Germany, where Wolfsburg will be hoping to prolong a proud recent record of achievement in European competition.
• The Swedish side won 1-0 at Scandinavian rivals Copenhagen on Matchday 6 to top Group B with 11 points – two more than they managed in finishing runners-up last season – while Wolfsburg came through as runners-up to Gent in Group I, also accumulating 11 points thanks to three wins, two draws and one defeat.
• This is the clubs' first encounter. Wolfsburg have only been drawn against Swedish opposition once before, when they beat IFK Göteborg 2-0 in both legs of a 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup third-round tie.
• Malmö have never won in five previous visits to Germany (D2 L3), though they have not played there since drawing 1-1 at then East German champions Dynamo Dresden in the second round of the 1990/91 European Cup – and then losing the tie on penalties at home. They also drew 1-1 on their last visit to a Bundesliga side, holding Werder Bremen in their 1982/83 UEFA Cup first round first leg before losing 1-2 in Sweden. Malmö have lost their last four two-legged UEFA ties against German opposition, having won the first.
• A sixth-placed finish in last season's Bundesliga ensured Wolfsburg direct entry into the UEFA Europa League group stage and a first European adventure since they reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2015/16.
• Wolfsburg made it three UEFA Europa League group stage qualifications out of three as they finished runners-up to Gent this season, six of their points coming against Olexandriya (3-1 h, 1-0 a) and four against Saint-Étienne (1-1 a, 1-0 h).
• The German club are competing in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase for a third time, the last two participations having both ended in the quarter-finals. Their two previous round of 32 ties brought qualification at the expense of Villarreal in 2009/10 (2-2 a, 4-1 h) and Sporting CP in 2014/15 (2-0 h, 0-0 a). They are unbeaten in four games at this stage.
• Quarter-finalists also in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League and therefore in each of their last three continental campaigns, Wolfsburg have won seven of their last eight European home games, the exception a 1-3 defeat by Gent on Matchday 4. They have won seven of their 12 home matches in the UEFA Europa League (D1 L4).
• Swedish champions for a record 20th time in 2017, Malmö finished third in their 2018 title defence to secure European football for a third successive season. They notched up a club-record 16 European matches in 2018/19, from their starting point in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round to the UEFA Europa League round of 32, which brought them springtime European 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, racking up 23 goals as they knocked out Ballymena, Domžale, Zrinjski and Bnei Yehuda. They lost their opening Group B fixture, 0-1 at Dynamo Kyiv, but remained unbeaten thereafter, collecting seven points at home before memorably beating Copenhagen at Parken Stadium with a late own goal to leapfrog their local rivals into first place.
• The Swedish side's only previous round of 32 tie ended in a 1-5 aggregate defeat to eventual winners Chelsea last season (1-2 h, 0-3 a).
• Malmö have lost only four of their last 15 European away fixtures, winning seven. In the UEFA Europa League proper their record on the road is W2 D2 L6, the only win pre-Copenhagen also coming with a Matchday 6 1-0 victory, when they beat Beşiktaş in Istanbul to qualify last season.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Mamoudou Karamoko, Ulysses Llanez, Marin Pongračić (Salzburg)
Out: Jeffrey Bruma (Mainz, loan), Phillip König (Holstein Kiel), Lukas Nmecha (Middlesbrough, loan), Elvis Rexhbecaj (Köln, loan), Yunus Mallı (Union Berlin)
In: Anel Ahmedhodzic, Hugo Andersson*, Adi Nalic, Isaac Kiese Thelin (Anderlecht, loan)
Out: Felix Beijmo (Greuther Fürth, loan), Franz Brorsson (Esbjerg), Markus Rosenberg, Laorent Shabani
Links and trivia
• Malmö's new coach Jon Dahl Tomasson played in the German Bundesliga for Stuttgart from 2005–06.
• Malmö defender Rasmus Bengtsson also has experience of playing in Germany, albeit brief, having made six Bundesliga appearances for Hertha Berlin in 2009/10, while Oscar Lewicki started his professional career with Bayern München's second team in 2010/11.
• Malmö's new loan signing from Anderlecht, Isaac Kiese Thelin, spent 2018/19 in Germany on loan at Bayer Leverkusen but made only six Bundesliga appearances.
• Behrang Safari (Malmö) and Renato Steffen (Wolfsburg) were team-mates at Basel in 2016.
• Malmö are one of only two clubs to have reached this season's UEFA Europa League knockout phase having started their campaign in the first qualifying round, the other being Rangers.
• The 2019 Allsvenskan concluded on 2 November, with Malmö finishing runners-up, one point behind champions Djurgården.
• Malmö played their first competitive match of 2020 last weekend, and first under new boss Tomasson, beating Syrianska 8-0 at home in the group stage of the Swedish Cup.
• Austrian coach Oliver Glasner signed a three-year contract in the spring of 2019 to succeed Bruno Labbadia at Wolfsburg. He arrived in Germany with a growing reputation having led LASK Linz to a runners-up spot in the Austrian Bundesliga just two seasons after steering the club to promotion from the second tier. A former centre-back, Glasner spent virtually his entire career with Ried, with whom he won the Austrian Cup twice, 13 years apart, in 1998 and 2011. He also spent a season as the club's coach before joining LASK in 2015.
• Former Danish international striker Jon Dahl Tomasson was named as the new head coach of Malmö on 5 January, succeeding Uwe Rösler, who guided the club through the UEFA Europa League group stage. The 43-year old thus ended a four-year stint as assistant coach to the Danish national side, where he served ex-Malmö boss Åge Hareide, his only previous head coach roles having been with Dutch clubs Excelsior and Roda in 2013 and 2014. A successful playing career brought him a joint-record 52 goals for Denmark (in 112 appearances) plus a UEFA Cup triumph with Feyenoord in 2001/02 and UEFA Champions League glory with AC Milan the following season.
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.