There is cause to expect a high scoring affair as RSC Anderlecht face the UEFA Europa League group stage's star performers FC Dinamo Moskva in their round of 32 opener.
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RSC Anderlecht will look to build on a rare autumn home win as they welcome the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League's most consistent performers, FC Dinamo Moskva.
What they say
Anderlecht coach Besnik Hasi: "Dinamo Moskva are a quality team, very difficult opponents. Steven Defour is feeling much better and joined us for training today; we will decide on Thursday if he plays. It is very difficult to replace a player like Steven. We will miss Denis Praet and [Ibrahima] Conté, too. Dinamo are a great team but like in the Champions League we will have extra motivation."
Dinamo Moskva coach Stanislav Cherchesov: "It will be a very interesting game with a lot of pressure on both teams. Anderlecht played very well in the Champions League and it is a very well-known club in Europe. Aleksei Ionov has flu and Igor Denisov is recovering from serious injury – we will discover whether or not they are ready in training. We are very happy to have Valbuena with us."
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.
• Anderlecht's home games against Russian clubs tend to be high-scoring; their six such home matches to date have included 29 goals – 16 for the home team, 13 for the visitors.
• Dinamo's most recent fixture in Belgium was also a thriller: they beat RFC Seraing 4-3 in a UEFA Cup first-round clash in September 1994.
• Anderlecht's 2-0 win against Galatasaray AŞ in their final 2014/15 UEFA Champions League group stage home game ended a run of six straight European home defeats. It was their sole victory in their last 14 European matches (W1 D5 L8).
• The only side to make it through the UEFA Europa League group stage with a 100% record, Dinamo last featured in the spring phase of a UEFA competition when they bowed out to SK Rapid Wien in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals.
• Dinamo are one of five teams to have advanced from the third qualifying round to the round of 32 along with BSC Young Boys, Club Brugge KV, PSV Eindhoven and Torino FC. They are unbeaten in those ten games (W8 D2) and have won all five European away matches this term, all by one-goal margins.
Trivia and links
• Dinamo's French midfielder William Vainqueur played alongside Anderlecht's Steven Defour (2011–12) and Cyriac (2011–14) during his time at R. Standard de Liège.
• Defour can make his 50th UEFA club competition appearance in the Dinamo game.
• Anderlecht (Belgium) are one of seven reigning domestic champions in the round of 32, along with Legia Warszawa (Poland), Aalborg BK (Denmark), FC Salzburg (Austria), Celtic FC (Scotland), Olympiacos FC (Greece), and AFC Ajax (Netherlands).
• Anderlecht (1983) are among 11 former UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League winners in the last 32 along with Tottenham Hotspur FC (1972 and 1984), Liverpool FC (1973, 1976 and 2001), VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach (1974 and 1979), Feyenoord (1975 and 2002), PSV Eindhoven (1978), SSC Napoli (1989), FC Internazionale Milano (1991, 1994 and 1998), Ajax (1992), holders Sevilla FC (2006, 2007 and 2013) and FC Zenit (2008).
• Anderlecht coach Besnik Hasi was capped 47 times by Albania, but spent the bulk of his playing career in Belgium, winning a championship with KRC Genk in 1998/99 and then three more with Anderlecht. The midfielder returned to Brussels to join Anderlecht's coaching staff in 2008, and took sole command last March, helping steer the club to the Belgian title.
• Dinamo coach since April 2014, Stanislav Cherchesov made his name as a goalkeeper with FC Spartak Moskva, 1. FC Dynamo Dresden and FC Tirol Innsbruck, also playing international football for the Soviet Union, the CIS and Russia. As a player, he claimed three Austrian titles with Tirol, going on to coach FC Wacker Innsbruck along with a number of Russian sides including Spartak.