Esbjerg fB will look to end a barren run for Danish sides against Italian counterparts when they take on ACF Fiorentina in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
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Esbjerg fB are through to the spring phase of a European competition for the first time and will look to rise to the occasion when ACF Fiorentina visit in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
• The sides are meeting for the first time. It is Esbjerg's first encounter with Italian opponents and Fiorentina's first game against a Danish club.
• Italian teams have had the better of the 32 previous UEFA club competition meetings between Danish and Italian sides, with 20 wins to the Danes' three in addition to nine draws.
• There have been no Danish victors in the last 13 encounters between clubs representing the two nations (seven Italian wins, six draws).
• Esbjerg are playing in the spring phase of a UEFA competiton for the first time, having made it through the group stage with a record of W4 L2.
• The first leg against Fiorentina will be their ninth European game this season, making this their longest continental campaign to date – eclipsing their eight-match journey to the 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup semi-finals.
• UEFA Cup finalists in 1990, when they were beaten by this season's final hosts Juventus, Fiorentina last reached this stage in 2008/09, losing to AFC Ajax.
• Fiorentina came through the group stage unbeaten (W5 D1), having eliminated Swiss side Grasshopper Club on away goals in the play-offs.
• Esbjerg midfielder Martin Bergvold turns 30 on the day of the first leg. He is the only Esbjerg player with Italian experience, having represented AS Livorno Calcio from 2007–10.
• Ukraine and Italy are the most represented nations in the round of 32 with four teams each.
• Hired as Esbjerg coach in the summer of 2013 after Jess Thorup moved on to 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 B93 København and Lyngby BK, eventually being hired as the latter club's senior trainer in 2009. He led them to promotion in the first of his four seasons in charge.
• 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 holding the reins at the Giallorossi and Calcio Catania, he led Fiorentina to a fourth-place finish in his first term in charge.
Round of 16
• The winner of this tie will take on Juventus or Trabzonspor AŞ in the round of 16, playing the second leg at home.
• Esbjerg have met neither of their potential moments.
• Fiorentina know Juventus well from Serie A, and lost 3-1 on aggregate to the Turin side in the 1989/90 UEFA Cup final. However, they have yet to encounter Trabzonspor.