Swansea City AFC are high on confidence after defeating Valencia CF last time out but may have reason for caution as they tackle FC St Gallen in UEFA Europa League Group A.
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Swansea City AFC's tails are up after a terrific away win on matchday one, but they may have reason for caution as they meet FC St Gallen in UEFA Europa League Group A.
• This is the sides' first UEFA club competition meeting, and Swansea's first encounter with Swiss opponents.
• St Gallen's only previous meetings with English Premier League opponents are fondly remembered; under Marcel Koller, the Swiss club eliminated Chelsea FC in the first round of the 2000/01 UEFA Cup, overturning a 1-0 deficit from the Stamford Bridge leg with a 2-0 win in St Gallen.
• Swansea are based in Wales but qualified for the UEFA Europa League as winners of the English League Cup. Only four UEFA club competition games have been played between Welsh and Swiss sides, with the Welsh having slightly the better of them – W2 D1 L1 (W2 D0 L0 at home – W0 D1 L1 in Switzerland).
• Prior to this season, Swansea had not played in Europe since the 1991/92 European Cup Winners' Cup, when they were beaten 10-1 on aggregate by AS Monaco FC in the first round. Back then, they qualified as Welsh Cup holders.
• Their 3-0 win at Valencia CF on matchday one was their first UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League away victory and their second most emphatic victory on their travels in UEFA club competition, after a 5-0 win at Maltese side Sliema Wanderers FC in the 1982/83 European Cup Winners' Cup.
• St Gallen last played in this competition when they were eliminated in the second round of the 2001/02 UEFA Cup by SC Freiburg.
• The Swiss side also made a great start in Group A; their 2-0 victory against FC Kuban Krasnodar matched their biggest previous home win in this competition, the aforementioned success against Chelsea.
• On matchday one of the UEFA Champions League, FC Basel 1893 beat Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge to become the first Swiss club to win a European away game against English league opponents in 20 visits (D6 L14) since FC Luzern beat Tottenham Hotspur FC 2-0 in a 1995 UEFA Intertoto Cup fixture.
• St Gallen's Croatian midfielder Ivan Martić turns 23 on the eve of the match against Swansea.
• St Gallen forward Alhassane Keita nominally played under Swansea manager Michael Laudrup – and alongside midfielder Jonathan De Guzmán – at RCD Mallorca in the 2010/11 season, though the trio barely saw each other as Keita was loaned out to Real Valladolid CF and then Saudi Arabian side Al-Shabab FC.
• Michael Laudrup's first season in south Wales ended with Swansea winning the first major English trophy in their history – the 2012/13 League Cup. The playmaker's career haul included the 1991/92 European Champions' Club Cup with FC Barcelona and seven league titles: one apiece with Juventus, Real Madrid CF and AFC Ajax, and four with Barça. As a coach, he won a Danish title with Brøndby IF and took unfashionable Getafe CF to the 2007/08 UEFA Cup quarter-finals.
• St Gallen coach Jeff Saibene is the first Luxembourger to lead a club in a major UEFA club competition group stage. Having moved abroad as a teenager to sign for R. Standard de Liège, the midfielder left three years later for Switzerland, where he spent much of his career. After coaching spells at FC Thun and FC Aarau, he joined St Gallen in March 2011, leading them back to the top division in his first full season and to third place in his second.