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Feyenoord v Man. United background

UEFA Cup winners in 2002, Feyenoord kick off their Group A campaign with a massive challenge, as José Mourinho returns to the competition with Manchester United.

José Mourinho is leading United into their maiden UEFA Europa League group stage campaign
José Mourinho is leading United into their maiden UEFA Europa League group stage campaign ©Getty Images

Feyenoord provide the opposition in UEFA Europa League Group A as José Mourinho prepares for his first European match as Manchester United manager.

Previous meetings
• The clubs went head-to-head in the 1997/98 UEFA Champions League group stage, United winning 2-1 at Old Trafford and 3-1 away. Andrew Cole scored a hat-trick in the latter game, on 5 November. The sides in Rotterdam were:

Feyenoord: Dudek, Boateng, Graff (Claeys 33), Van Wonderen, Van Gastel, Schuiteman, Cruz (Vos 75), Sánchez, Van Bronckhorst, Bosvelt (Zwijnenberg 80), Carvalho.
United: Schmeichel, G Neville (P Neville 81), Irwin, Pallister, Beckham, Butt, Cole (Solskjær 75), Sheringham, Giggs, Scholes (Poborský 75), Berg.

• Feyenoord's record in 21 fixtures against English teams is: W6 D5 L10 (W3 D1 L6 at home). Those matches include a 4-2 aggregate triumph over Tottenham Hotspur in the 1974 UEFA Cup final.

• United have won half of their 14 games against Dutch opposition, their record reading: W7 D3 L4 (W2 D2 L3 away). They lost on their most recent visit to the Netherlands, going down 2-1 to PSV Eindhoven on UEFA Champions League matchday one last season.

Form guide
• Feyenoord last featured in this competition in 2014/15, reaching the round of 32, where a 2-1 home reverse to Roma ended their challenge.

• Feyenoord have won the UEFA Cup twice, in 1973/74 and 2001/02.

• This is United's first UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League group stage campaign.

• United have lost their last three UEFA Europa League away fixtures, a sequence stretching back to a 2-1 defeat at Athletic Club in the 2011/12 round of 32. Their last away win in the competition came in the Netherlands, at AFC Ajax in the 2011/12 round of 32.

• United are without a victory in five European away trips in all competitions (D1 L4).

• The UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League is the only major European trophy United have never won.

Links and trivia
• Zlatan Ibrahimović has not played in the UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League since 2001, when he was on the books of Feyenoord's rivals Ajax. He has scored twice in four UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League appearances.

• United's Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar, 2007/08 to 2010/11), Daley Blind (Ajax, 2008/09 to August 2014) and Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven, 2011/12 to 2014/15) also have considerable Eredivisie experience.

• In Blind, Depay and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who joined United aged 16 from Ajax in September 2014, the Red Devils have three Dutch players on their books.

• Feyenoord's Dirk Kuyt had six seasons with United's north-west rivals Liverpool from 2006/07 to the close of the 2011/12 campaign, making 208 top-flight outings. Three of his 51 Premier League goals came in a 3-1 success over United on 6 March 2011.

• Feyenoord's Brad Jones was reserve goalkeeper at Liverpool for three seasons before leaving the club in June 2015. He faced United once, in a 3-0 loss at Old Trafford on 14 December 2014.

• Wayne Rooney needs one more goal to join Ruud van Nistelrooy as United's all-time top scorer in UEFA competitions with 37 goals.

The coaches
• Giovanni van Bronckhorst led Feyenoord to Dutch Cup glory last term, his first in charge of his old club. As a player, the former Netherlands captain landed league titles with Rangers, Arsenal and Barcelona, scooping the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League with the Catalans.

• José Mourinho took over as United boss this summer. Having made his name winning the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League with Porto, he lifted Europe's top club prize again with Internazionale Milano and three Premier League titles in two stints at Chelsea.

• Mourinho's last game in this competition was the 2003 UEFA Cup final, in which his Porto side edged Celtic 3-2 in Seville. He has accumulated 125 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup fixtures since then.