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Pandurii on edge as Fiorentina visit

CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu will look to keep their maiden UEFA Europa League campaign afloat as they play host to an ACF Fiorentina side already in sight of the round of 32.

Pandurii are playing their European home games at the Cluj Arena
Pandurii are playing their European home games at the Cluj Arena ©Getty Images

CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu will hope to hang on to their dream of a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 as they welcome Group E pacesetters ACF Fiorentina on matchday four.

Previous meetings
• The sides met for the first time on matchday three, when Pandurii's first encounter with Serie A opponents ended in their heaviest European defeat to date – 3-0 in Florence.

• Fiorentina's nine games against Romanian sides have ended W4 D3 L2 (W3 D2 L0 at home – W1 D1 L2 in Romania). They are unbeaten in their last six encounters with Liga I opposition (W4 D2) since a 3-1 loss at FC Universitatea Craiova in the second leg of a UEFA Cup first round game on 15 September 1982.

• Italian clubs are unbeaten on their last ten visits to Romania (W6 D4) since Bologna FC lost 3-1 at FC Naţional Bucureşti in the 1998 UEFA Intertoto Cup third round.

Match background
• Fiorentina are one of five clubs who are going into matchday four with 100% records along with Eintracht Frankfurt, PFC Ludogorets Razgrad, FC Salzburg and Tottenham Hotspur FC.

• This is Fiorentina's first appearance in the group stage since they reached the semi-finals of the 2007/08 UEFA Cup, though they subsequently appeared in the UEFA Champions League group stage in 2008/09 and 2009/10.

• Pandurii are one of four teams in the UEFA Europa League group stage who are making their European debuts this season alongside Wigan Athletic FC (ENG), FC Kuban Krasnodar (RUS) and Estoril Praia (POR).

• Pandurii are without a win in three home games since beating FC Levadia Tallinn 4-0 at their own Tudor Vladimirescu Stadium in this season's first qualifying round. Those matches (D1 L2) have all been played at the Cluj Arena in Cluj-Napoca.

Team facts
• Aged 36 years and 127 days, Fiorentina's Massimo Ambrosini became the competition's fourth oldest goalscorer with his winning strike at FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk on matchday two. The record is held by Czech midfielder Pavel Horváth, at 37 years and 214 days.

• Ambrosini has made more UEFA club competition appearances than any other outfield player in this season's group stage, 111 in total. Only FC Dynamo Kyiv goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovskiy (123) can top that.

Coach information
• A prolific striker with CS Gaz Metan Mediaş and FC Unirea Alba Iulia, Pandurii coach Cristian Pustai never got to play in Romania's top division but has made up for that as a coach. He won promotion to Liga I with Gaz Metan, then took his old side into Europe for the first time, reaching the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League play-offs. Hired by Pandurii in January 2013, he helped the club secure a best ever finish of second in the league last season.

• Fiorentina coach since June 2012, Vincenzo Montella is still best remembered as a striker for AS Roma, where he was known as L'Aeroplanino (the Little Aeroplane) because of his modest stature and trademark goal celebration. He won the 2000/01 Serie A title and two Coppa Italias with Roma before moving on to coach their youth team. After coaching Roma and Calcio Catania, he led Fiorentina to a fourth-place finish in his first season in charge.

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