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Astra Giurgiu v Genk background

Having taken eight points from their final four group stage games, Astra Giurgiu will look to keep the momentum going as the Romanian champions welcome Genk.

Astra celebrate one of their seven goals in the 2016/17 group stage
Astra celebrate one of their seven goals in the 2016/17 group stage ©AFP/Getty Images

Astra Giurgiu are on something of a roll in Europe as they head into the UEFA Europa League round of 32, but the Black Devils will not have it easy against Genk.

Previous meetings
• The clubs are meeting for the first time; it is Astra's first encounter with a Belgian side and Genk's maiden meeting with Romanian opponents.

Form guide
• Astra are unbeaten in four European games (W2 D2) after kicking off the UEFA Europa League group stage with two defeats.

• Genk have won four of their last five European matches and did not concede in three of those fixtures.

• This is Astra's fourth – and most successful – season in UEFA competition; they failed to make it through the group stage in their only previous attempt, in 2014/15.

Genk lost to Anji when they were last in the round of 32
Genk lost to Anji when they were last in the round of 32©AFP/Getty Images

• Genk are in the round of 32 for a third time but have never made it further. Most recently, they lost to Anji at this stage in 2013/14. They have yet to win a springtime UEFA match (D2 L2).

Links and trivia
• The journey from Genk to Giurgiu is around 2,100km.

• As well as scoring four goals, Genk's Leon Bailey had 14 shots on target during the group stage – two more than any other player in the competition. He left for Leverkusen on transfer deadline day.

• Astra are one of eight domestic champions involved in the round of 32, along with Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL), APOEL (CYP), København (DEN), Olympiacos (GRE), Hapoel Beer-Sheva (ISR), Legia Warszawa (POL) and Beşiktaş (TUR).

Leon Bailey left Genk in the winter
Leon Bailey left Genk in the winter©AFP/Getty Images

• Genk and Osmanlıspor are the only sides to have made it from the second qualifying round of this season's competition to the round of 32; APOEL, Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Legia, Ludogorets and København have had similarly long campaigns, having started out in the equivalent round of the UEFA Champions League.

Suspended: Florin Lovin, Silviu Lung (Astra).
Misses next match if booked: Tino-Sven Sušić (Genk).

The coaches
• Marius Șumudică steered Astra to a maiden Romanian title in 2015/16, having previously won the league as a player with Rapid Bucureşti in 1998/99. He played in Portugal, Hungary and Cyprus as a striker, and has coached in Greece and the United Arab Emirates.

• Peter Maes took Genk to the round of 32 but was dismissed in late December after a disappointing run of league results.

• Genk's new boss is Albert Stuivenberg. Once a Feyenoord trainee, he later ran the club's academy, and led the Netherlands to UEFA European Under-17 Championship successes in 2011 and 2012. He was Louis van Gaal's assistant at Manchester United from 2014–16.

UEFA makes new donation of €100,000 to ICRC
UEFA will mark a decade of helping Afghan landmine victims on Wednesday, when Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos presents a cheque for €100,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

"I would like to pay tribute to the ICRC, who have been working relentlessly to help landmine victims, many of whom are children. Their programme in Afghanistan, which has been in place for several years, shows that football can offer real hope in challenging times," said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin.

"I am glad that UEFA can help this cause, and that the sport we love can have a positive impact on the rehabilitation process of so many people in this troubled region," he added.

The donation supports the ICRC's physical rehabilitation programme for landmine victims and other people with disabilities in Afghanistan – providing artificial limbs, physiotherapy, vocational training and access to the rehabilitation centre's football team. About a third of patients are children.

Sergio Ramos will present the donation before his side's UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match against Napoli at the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid on 15 February.

"The people benefiting from the ICRC programme in Afghanistan are an inspiration to us, as they set an example of how to approach life in a positive manner despite the problems that they face," the Real Madrid captain said.

Sergio Ramos was chosen to hand over the cheque after receiving the most votes in's Team of the Year, which was published in January, and added that it is "a privilege" to be "a source of motivation" to so many people.

"They don't stop dreaming, and they fight to make their dreams come true. As key figures in this sport, it's a true privilege for us footballers to be a source of motivation in their day-to-day lives, and to help them out," he said.

Over the course of a partnership lasting almost 20 years, UEFA has donated in excess of €3.5m to the ICRC to help disadvantaged people around the globe. Meanwhile, over 7 million votes were cast in selecting the users' Team of the Year 2016. More information on the award is available online at