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Midtjylland v Legia background

Group stage debutants Midtjylland have quite a task on their hands in their opening Group D game, Legia Warszawa having cut a swathe through qualifying.

Midtjylland coach Jess Thorup
Midtjylland coach Jess Thorup ©Getty Images

Danish champions FC Midtjylland embark on their first ever UEFA Europa League group stage campaign with a tough home test against seasoned campaigners Legia Warszawa in Group D.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time; it is Midtjylland's first encounter with Polish opponents.

• Legia's four previous games against Danish sides ended W1 D2 L1 (D1 L1 in Denmark).

Form guide
• Midtjylland eliminated Southampton FC to make it through the play-offs.

• Legia won all six of their qualifying games to make it to the group stage.

• This is Midtjylland's first UEFA group stage campaign.

• Legia have made it to the round of 32 in two of their three UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Warsaw to Herning is just under 900km.

• Midtjylland are one of ten domestic champions in this season's group stage, along with KF Skenderbëu (Albania), FK Qarabağ (Azerbaijan), APOEL FC (Cyprus), FC Viktoria Plzeň (Czech Republic), KKS Lech Poznań (Poland), FK Partizan (Serbia), Celtic FC (Scotland), Molde FK (Norway) and FC Basel 1893 (Switzerland).

• Midtjylland (literally: central Jutland) were formed in 1999 with the merger of Ikast fS and Herning Fremad BK.

• Midtjylland boast Polish talent in the form of goalkeeper Patryk Wolański, formerly on the books at RTS Widzew Łódź – where his team-mates included Legia defender Łukasz Broź.

• Legia striker Marek Saganowski has some experience of Danish football; he spent the first half of the 2008/09 season on loan at Aalborg BK.

The coaches
• Midtjylland boss Jess Thorup played in Germany and Austria as a forward. He made his name as a coach at Esbjerg fB, where he won a Danish Cup before taking Denmark to the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. Danish champions Midtjylland hired him this summer.

• Henning Berg won a league title and a Polish Cup in his first two seasons in Poland. A defender, he won English titles with both Blackburn Rovers FC and Manchester United FC. He returned to his native Norway to start his coaching career with Lyn Fotball and then Lillestrøm SK.