PFC CSKA Sofia's solid recent record in Europe will receive a tough Group E test from Fulham FC, with Roy Hodgson's side having proved to be tough customers away from their London home.
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PFC CSKA Sofia's solid recent record in Europe will receive a tough test as Group E rivals Fulham FC head for Bulgaria, with Roy Hodgson's side having proved to be tough customers away from their London home.
• CSKA and Fulham have never met before, but the Cottagers will be the sixth English side to face the Army Men in Sofia following Chelsea FC, Nottingham Forest FC, Liverpool FC (three times), Newcastle United FC and Blackburn Rovers FC. The home side's record in those seven games reads W2 D1 L4.
• CSKA missed the cut in their only UEFA Cup group stage appearance in 2005/06, while Fulham are competing in the group stage of a major UEFA club competition for the first time.
• CSKA are unbeaten in nine European games since losing 2-0 at Beşiktaş JK on 14 September 2006 in the first round of the 2006/07 UEFA Cup, drawing six of those matches and winning three. They have not lost in eight UEFA club competition home fixtures since Hamburger SV ran out 1-0 victors at the Bulgarska Armiya Stadium in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage.
• Fulham have lost just twice in their nine UEFA club competition away games to date, against Hertha BSC Berlin and – in this season's UEFA Europa League play-off – FC Amkar Perm.
• CSKA are coached by Luboslav Penev, who replaced his uncle – iconic former Bulgaria coach Dimitar Penev – in February. The 43-year-old played up front alongside Hristo Stoichkov at CSKA in the late 1980s, and went on to shine in Spain, representing Valencia CF and winning a Spanish domestic double with Club Atlético de Madrid in 1995/96.
• Penev's three games against English clubs as a player produced two wins and a defeat. He was also involved in three games for Bulgaria on English soil at EURO '96™.
• Penev faced Fulham coach Roy Hodgson as a player in a 1992 friendly game, when he helped Bulgaria beat the Englishman's Switzerland side 2-0 at the Wankdorf Stadium in Berne.
• Hodgson came up against CSKA before during his time as coach of Norwegian side Viking FK, with the Bulgarian outfit – under Serbian Miodrag Ješić – prevailing 2-0 at home in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage.
• Fulham's Damien Duff also visited CSKA with a previous club, scoring his side's third as Blackburn Rovers FC drew 3-3 in Sofia to come through a 2002/03 UEFA Cup first-round tie on away goals.
• CSKA will visit AS Roma on Matchday 2, with Fulham at home against FC Basel 1893 on the same night, 1 October.