UEFA Europa League matchday three looms

An Italian trio, a dynamic duo and the would-be final hosts are the sides with top marks after two matchdays as old friendships are put under strain on matchday three.

Six points, six goals and none conceded have made Fiorentina early group stage stars
Six points, six goals and none conceded have made Fiorentina early group stage stars ©Getty Images

Six sides have taken maximum points from their opening two games and seven have taken none at all as the UEFA Europa League group stage reaches its halfway point on matchday three.

Serie A sides FC Internazionale Milano, ACF Fiorentina and SSC Napoli have all won their opening two games – Inter and Fiorentina without conceding – with Russia's FC Dinamo Moskva and Ukraine's FC Dynamo Kyiv proving to be an equally dynamic duo with two wins apiece. Perhaps more surprisingly, Legia Warszawa are also yet to drop a point as they head to FC Metalist Kharkiv looking for a third 1-0 win in a row. They lost their first five games in last season's group stage, but perhaps the prospect of playing in the final in their home city has helped the Warsaw club to raise their game.

Raising their game is an urgent challenge, meanwhile, for the group stage's have-nots: HJK Helsinki, FC Astra Giurgiu, ŠK Slovan Bratislava, Rio Ave FC, FC Dinamo Minsk, Metalist and Panathinaikos FC. The Greek side's next challenge is unexpectedly a bottom-of-Group-E meeting with the only side to have featured in all six editions of the UEFA Europa League, PSV Eindhoven. To make things more complicated, former team-mates will be featuring on opposite sides, not least the Greens' Swedish striker Marcus Berg, who represented PSV from 2010-11.

Even more involved is the situation in Slovan's upcoming meeting with AC Sparta Praha. One of three group stage contenders to have changed coach since matchday two, the Slovakian side replaced František Straka with his former Sparta team-mate Jozef Chovanec, who is now taking on his old side under the leadership of Vitězslav Lavička – with whom he and Straka won two national titles as Sparta players in the 1980s. "It will be a federal derby, great for the fans," said the 54-year-old Chovanec. "I spent many years at Sparta, so I am really looking forward to the games."

As with the UEFA Champions League, all matchday three ties are reversed on matchday four – which means all the sides who meet on 23 October meet again on 6 November.