Elfsborg await away-specialists Esbjerg

IF Elfsborg will look to secure a first UEFA Europa League Group C win at the third attempt against an Esbjerg fB side on a four-game winning streak on their European travels.

Elfsborg (in yellow) celebrate their goal against Standard
Elfsborg (in yellow) celebrate their goal against Standard ©AFP/Getty Images

Having accounted for one Danish side in the play-offs, IF Elfsborg will look to collect another scalp from the other side of the Skaggerak when Esbjerg fB come to Sweden in UEFA Europa League Group C.

Previous meetings
• The two clubs are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition.

• Elfsborg's four games against Danish sides have ended W1 D2 L1 (W0 D1 L1 at home – W1 D1 L0 in Denmark). Those games include a 2-1 aggregate success against FC Nordsjælland in this season's UEFA Europa League play-offs.

• Esbjerg's only experience of Swedish opposition is a 1980/81 European Champion Clubs' Cup first round tie against Halmstads BK, which they won with a 3-2 home win after a 0-0 draw in Sweden.

• A draw looks the most likely outcome judging by the previous 22 encounters between Swedish and Danish clubs in UEFA competition; the Swedes trail the Danes 6-4 in terms of wins, but 12 of those matches ended in ties.

Match background
• Elfsborg picked up just one point in their only previous group stage tilt – in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup, when they were also in Group C: they drew their opener 1-1 at home against AEK Athens FC then lost to ACF Fiorentina (6-1), FK Mladá Boleslav (1-3) and Villarreal CF (2-0), finishing bottom of their section.

• They have already matched that total thanks to a 1-1 draw at home against R. Standard de Liège on matchday two – their third successive home draw in Europe since starting the season with a 7-1 win against FC Daugava Daugavpils.

• Esbjerg beat AS Saint-Étienne home and away in the play-offs to make it to their first UEFA club competition group stage.

• The Danish side kicked off with a shock 2-1 victory at Standard but came down to earth with a 2-1 home loss to FC Salzburg last time out.

• Esbjerg are on a four-game winning streak away from home in Europe, stretching back to a 6-0 success at FC Flora in the first qualifying round of the 2005/06 UEFA Cup.

Team facts
• Elfsborg defender Andreas Klarström spent five seasons with Esbjerg from 2006 to 2010, where he was twice a losing Danish Cup finalist.

• Elfsborg's Danish forward Mikkel Beckmann celebrates his 30th birthday on the day of the Esbjerg game. He played for Brønshøj BK, Lyngby BK, Randers FC and Nordsjælland before coming to Sweden after a short spell in Cyprus.

• Elfsborg also have a Danish goalkeeper – Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard, who also played for Nordsjælland and Randers, with Manchester City FC, Hertha BSC Berlin and sc Heerenveen his biggest foreign clubs.

• Elfsborg's Jon Jönsson (Brøndby IF 2008-10) and Lasse Nilsson (Aalborg BK 2008) also have Danish experience.

• Elfsborg are one of nine clubs who entered the group stage as domestic champions along with NK Maribor (Slovenia), FC Sheriff (Moldova), Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (Israel), PFC Ludogorets Razgrad (Bulgaria), Legia Warszawa (Poland), FC Shakhter Karagandy (Kazakhstan), APOEL FC (Cyprus) and GNK Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia).

Coach information
• Jörgen Lennartsson was dismissed as Elfsborg coach ahead of matchday two, with his side having failed to sparkle after winning the Swedish title in 2012.

• Youth coach Klas Ingesson has stepped up to take charge of Elfsborg for the remainder of the Swedish season. A bronze medallist with Sweden at the 1994 FIFA World Cup finals, the midfielder played abroad for KV Mechelen, PSV Eindhoven, Sheffield Wednesday FC, AS Bari, Bologna FC, Olympique de Marsille and US Lecce. His coaching career has been interrupted by an ongoing battle with cancer.

• Hired as Esbjerg coach in the summer of 2013 after Jess Thorup moved on to helm Denmark's Under-21 side, Niels Frederiksen took an unusual path into top-flight football. An economics graduate, he worked at a bank while coaching youth teams at B.93 København and Lyngby BK, eventually being hired as the club's senior coach in 2009. He led them to promotion in the first of his four seasons in charge.