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Midtjylland v Napoli background

UEFA Europa League group stage newcomers Midtjylland have taken Group D by storm, but will face a stern challenge against Maurizio Sarri's in-form Napoli.

Pione Sisto of Midtjylland celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Club Brugge
Pione Sisto of Midtjylland celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Club Brugge ©AFP/Getty Images

Something has to give in UEFA Europa League Group D as Danish champions FC Midtjylland take on SSC Napoli with both sides seeking a third win.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time. It is Midtjylland's first encounter with Italian opponents and Napoli's first game against a Danish side.

• Of the 38 UEFA club competition games between sides from these nations, Danish team have won three to the Italian sides' 25; it is 17 games (D7 L10) since the last Danish win – FC København's 2-1 victory at home to SS Lazio in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

Form guide
• Midtjylland are unbeaten in four European games (W3 D1) and kicked off Group D with back-to-back victories.

• Napoli also won their first two Group D matches, scoring seven goals without conceding.

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

• Napoli made it through to the knockout stage in all three of their previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Naples to Herning is around 1,750km.

• Midtjylland defender Francis Dickoh and Napoli winger Dries Mertens were team-mates at FC Utrecht in 2009/10.

• Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina has made 143 UEFA club competition outings – more than any other player in this season's tournament. He is tenth, alongside Edwin van der Sar and Andriy Shevchenko, on the all-time club appearance leaderboard. If he plays in Denmark he will join Roberto Carlos in ninth place.

• Midtjylland are one of ten domestic champions in this season's group stage, along with KF Skenderbëu (Albania), Qarabağ FK (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.

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 semi-finals. Midtjylland hired him this summer.

• Naples-born Maurizio Sarri replaced Rafael Benítez when the Spaniard left Napoli for Real Madrid CF at the end of last season. Having spent much of his career in the lower leagues, he led Empoli FC into Serie A in 2013/14 and kept them up comfortably last term.

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