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Roma v Feyenoord background

AS Roma had a tough autumn in the UEFA Champions League group stage and will hope for better as they take on Feyenoord in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

Rudi Garcia is hoping for a birthday treat
Rudi Garcia is hoping for a birthday treat ©AFP/Getty Images

AS Roma will look to provide an early birthday present for coach Rudi Garcia as the side transferring from a tough UEFA Champions League group take on Feyenoord in their opening UEFA Europa League round of 32 fixture.

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

Roma are unbeaten in their two home games against Dutch opponents (W1 D1), but lost both of their away games in the Netherlands by one-goal margins.

Feyenoord's only win in their last five games against Serie A opponents came in Italy – a 1-0 semi-final success against FC Internazionale Milano en route to winning the 2001/02 UEFA Cup.

Form guide
Roma are without a win in their last five European games, a run including home defeats by FC Bayern München (7-1) and Manchester City FC (2-0) in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage.

Feyenoord ended a ten-game wait for a European away win (D1 L9) when they triumphed 3-0 at R. Standard de Liège in their final UEFA Europa League group stage game of the winter.

Feyenoord have not won a springtime UEFA club competition tie since they beat Borussia Dortmund in the 2001/02 UEFA Cup final.

Trivia and links
Feyenoord's Colin Kazim-Richards played alongside Roma's Vasilis Torosidis and Kostas Manolas during his time at Olympiacos FC in 2012.

Feyenoord defender Khalid Bouhlarouz is up against three former team-mates: Roma's Ashley Cole (Chelsea FC, 2006-07), Morgan De Sanctis and Seydou Keita (Sevilla FC, 2007/08).

Roma's Dutch forward Urby Emanuelson and Feyenoord's Kenneth Vermeer came through the youth ranks together at AFC Ajax, and were team-mates until Emanuelson left for AC Milan in 2011.

Roma's Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman started his career with Feyenoord's neighbours Sparta Rotterdam; he was born in Ridderkerk, which is around 15km south-east of Rotterdam.

Feyenoord (1975, 2002) are among 11 former UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League winners in the round of 32. They are one of the six last-32 contenders who have won the European Cup or UEFA Champions League (1970).

The coaches
• The son of a footballer, Roma's French coach Rudi Garcia was a midfielder for LOSC Lille and SM Caen, among others, though he was forced to retire aged 28. He studied and did media work before making his name as a coach with AS Saint-Étienne and Dijon FCO. His attack-minded LOSC side won the French title in 2010/11, with Roma bringing him in as coach in June 2013.

• Garcia turns 51 the day after the first leg against Feyenoord.

Feyenoord coach Fred Rutten was a defender for FC Twente, and coached the club in two spells before heading abroad to join FC Schalke 04 in 2008. He returned to the Netherlands the following year and spent nearly three years in charge at PSV Eindhoven and then a season with Vitesse, taking up his current post in March 2014.

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