Malmö have already booked their place in next season's competition as Group I leaders Genk come to Sweden.
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Having secured a return to the UEFA Europa League next season by finishing third in the 2018 Allsvenskan, Malmö are still in the hunt to extend their participation in this season's competition as they host Group I front-runners Genk in southern Sweden. The incentive is considerable for the visitors, who will book their ticket for the round of 32 with a victory.
• Malmö are on a three-match unbeaten run in the section, having beaten Beşiktaş 2-0 at home before trading 1-1 draws with Norwegian neighbours Sarpsborg. A win against Genk cannot secure a place in the knockout phase but it would lift them into the top two with one game to play.
• Genk won their last away fixture 4-2 at Beşiktaş – a positive response to a 3-1 defeat on matchday two at Sarpsborg – but needed a late equaliser to hold the Turkish side 1-1 at home two weeks later. They lead the group by two points, and three more against Malmö will take them through to the knockout phase – as group winners if Sarpsborg do not beat Beşiktaş in Norway.
• Genk were 2-0 winners at home to Malmö on matchday one thanks to a goal in each half from Leandro Trossard and Mbwana Samatta. That was the Belgian club's first UEFA encounter against opponents from Sweden.
• Malmö now have no wins in five games against Belgian opposition (D2 L3), their two European Champion Clubs' Cup ties against Anderlecht (1987/88 first round) and Mechelen (1989/90 second round) having both ended in elimination.
• 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 checked 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 representatives – by prevailing 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 opened with a 4-1 defeat at Dutch club AZ Alkmaar and never recovered, finishing bottom of the section with just one point.
• Malmö are unbeaten in their last seven continental home games, though five of those have been draws. The last time they lost a European encounter in their own stadium– 0-5 against Paris Saint-Germain in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League – it constituted the club's heaviest home defeat in UEFA competition.
• 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 have won six of their last nine European games on the road, losing only twice during that run, at Celta Vigo (2-3) in the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League quarter-finals and on matchday two at Sarpsborg. Their overall away record in the UEFA Europa League group stage is W5 D3 L3.
Links and trivia
• Malmö's Behrang Safari (Anderlecht), Carlos Strandberg (Club Brugge, Westerlo), Guillermo Molins (Anderlecht), Anders Christiansen (Gent) and Lasse Nielsen (Gent) have all played for Belgian clubs.
• Genk's Jere Uronen played in Sweden for Helsingborg from 2012 to 2015; his team-mate Joseph Aidoo was on Hammarby’s books from summer 2015 to summer 2017.
• Malmö completed their 2018 Allsvenskan campaign on 11 November by beating Elfsborg 2-0 at home and therefore moving up from fourth place to third in the final standings – on goal difference above Hammarby, who were held 3-3 at Östersund. Malmö finished nine points adrift of AIK, who succeeded them as Swedish champions.
• 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.
• 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.