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Real mates and a birthday great on matchday two

Andriy Shevchenko turns 35 on UEFA Europa League matchday two, which also sees former Real Madrid CF team-mates meet and Malmö FF recall one of their finest European nights.

Andriy Shevchenko could celebrate his 35th birthday in Israel
Andriy Shevchenko could celebrate his 35th birthday in Israel ©Olexandr Zadiraka

Athletic Club's meeting with Paris Saint-Germain FC in Group F and Sporting Clube de Portugal's Group D encounter with S.S. Lazio look to be the big draws on matchday two of the UEFA Europa League, but the small ties may be juicier.

Lower down the programme, Dutch coaches Co Adriaanse and Robert Maaskant go head to head in FC Twente's Group K fixture against Polish champions Wisła Kraków, while a Ukrainian great reaches a milestone and Malmö FF have reason to hark back to perhaps their finest hour.

Happy birthday, Andriy
FC Dynamo Kyiv's Andriy Shevchenko celebrates his 35th birthday on the day of his side's Group E game at Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC. Shevchenko played his first UEFA matches in Israel; Ukraine lost 2-0 to the host nation in a UEFA European Under-18 Championship preliminary mini-tournament game on 14 November 1993, before the 17-year-old scored his first European goal in a 5-1 win against Georgia four days later.

Malmö's finest hour
Malmö can revisit their greatest achievement, reaching the final of the 1978/79 European Champion Clubs' Cup, when they take on the team they beat in the semis of that tournament, FK Austria Wien, in Group G. Tommy Hansson headed the only goal of that two-legged tie in Sweden, as Austria's current coach Karl Daxbacher doubtless remembers – he played in both legs. Bob Houghton's Malmö went on to lose 1-0 to Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest FC in the final.

Real friends
Former Real Madrid CF team-mates will find themselves on opposite sides when Stoke City FC face Beşiktaş JK in Group E, Black Eagles captain Guti having rubbed shoulders with home defender Jonathan Woodgate with the Merengues from 2004 to 2007. However, they may struggle to chat about old times in front of a crowd measured as the loudest in the English Premier League in 2008, with average match peaks of 101.8 decibels expected.

Rovers return
Shamrock Rovers FC have not played a competitive match in England since making their European debut in a 9-2 European Cup aggregate loss to the 1957 Manchester United FC side that would be decimated by the Munich air crash later that season. They head to Group A rivals Tottenham Hotspur FC boasting a White Hart Lane old boy, with 28-year-old midfielder Rohan Ricketts having played for Spurs between 2002 and 2005.

Romanian fortresses
Two impressive Romanian records will be tested. As they prepare to entertain PSV Eindhoven in Group C, FC Rapid Bucureşti have not lost at home in 16 UEFA games since their last Dutch visitors, Vitesse, won 1-0 on 3 October 2002. Tiny FC Vaslui, meanwhile, are unbeaten in seven European home matches, and when they tackle Group D opponents FC Zürich in Piatra Neamt, 100km from their home town, they can take some comfort: their coach, one-time FC Ceahlăul Piatra Neamţ boss Viorel Hizo, remains undefeated in six UEFA outings at the Stadionul Ceahlăul.