Genk and Malmö came through qualifying undefeated; the Belgian side scored 12 at home, the Swedes kept four away clean sheets.
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In-form Genk and Malmö meet on matchday one of the UEFA Europa League having both come through a series of qualifying fixtures undefeated. Furthermore, while the Belgian side have scored 12 goals in their three European home matches this term, their Swedish visitors are yet to concede in four away.
• This is the first meeting of the two clubs and Genk's first in UEFA competition against opponents from Sweden.
• Malmö have no wins in four games against Belgian opposition (D2 L2), and lost both of their European Champion Clubs' Cup ties to Anderlecht (1987/88) and Mechelen (1989/90).
• Fourth in the Belgian First Division A last term and also runners-up in the domestic cup, Genk's European prize was a UEFA Europa League second qualifying round berth. They sailed through their opening tie against Luxembourg's Fola Esch, 9-1 on aggregate (5-0 home, 4-1 away), before also winning both legs against Lech Poznań and Brøndby to make it six wins out of six with 22 goals scored.
• Genk have a perfect qualifying record from the UEFA Europa League group stage, having progressed to the knockout phase on each of their previous three participations, in 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2016/17. They reached the quarter-finals of the latter campaign, defeating fellow Belgian club Gent in the round of 16.
• Genk's three home wins this term have stretched their unbeaten run in Europe on Belgian soil to 13 matches (including a 5-2 win at Gent), winning 11 of those fixtures.
• Swedish champions for a record 20th time in 2017, Malmö began this season's European campaign in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round. Their bid to reach the group stage of that competition for the third time in five years was halted on the away goals rule by Hungarian champions Vidi in the third qualifying round but they secured an autumn of European participation – as Sweden's sole representative – by winning a Scandinavian derby against Danish title holders Midtjylland in the UEFA Europa League play-offs. Their eight qualifying matches brought four wins and four draws.
• Malmö's only previous UEFA Europa League group stage involvement was in 2011/12, when they got off to a bad start with a 4-1 defeat at Dutch club AZ Alkmaar and never recovered, finishing bottom of the section with just one point. The club have played nine away games in European group stages and lost the lot, conceding 34 goals in the process.
• Having lost all of their previous six European away fixtures, and 11 of the previous 12, Malmö have posted three wins and a draw on the road this term and have yet to concede to their hosts.
Links and trivia
• Genk's Jere Uronen played in Sweden for Helsingborg from 2012 to 2015 while his team-mate Joseph Aidoo was a Hammarby player from summer 2015 to summer 2017.
• Malmö's Behrang Safari (Anderlecht), Carlos Strandberg (Club Brugge, Westerlo), Guillermo Molins (Anderlecht), Anders Christiansen (Gent) and Lasse Nielsen (Gent) have all played in Belgium.
• A former Belgian international who represented his country at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2000 and won 38 caps, Philippe Clement was a defensive midfielder and centre-back who spent most of his career with Club Brugge, completing a decade at the club following a short spell in England with Coventry. He had made his Belgian top-flight debut with Genk, and it was to the Limburg club that he returned in December 2017 to become head coach following a six-month stint at Waasland-Beveren.
• Born in the former East Germany, Uwe Rösler left his homeland in 1994 to play up front for Manchester City, which he did for four years, thus forming a bond with English football that has brought him back to the country to manage four different lower-league clubs. His coaching career began in Norway, with Lillestrøm, his final club as a player, and in June 2018 he returned to Scandinavia to become the new head coach of reigning Swedish champions Malmö.