İstanbul Başakşehir have climbed to the top of Group I and now face Roma, who were 4-0 winners against the Turkish team on Matchday 1.
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Back-to-back victories over Wolfsberg have lifted İstanbul Başakşehir to the top of Group J, and the Turkish side will be through to the knockout phase of a UEFA competition for the first time if they can extend that sequence at home to Roma, who are without a group win since they beat the Turkish side 4-0 at the Stadio Olimpico on Matchday 1.
• İstanbul Başakşehir have recovered well from that initial setback, drawing 1-1 at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach before doing the double over Austrian group stage first-timers Wolfsberg (1-0 h, 3-0 a) to go two points clear at the top of the table. Roma drew 1-1 at Wolfsberg on Matchday 2 before Mönchengladbach struck 95th-minute goals to earn an away draw and then a home win against the Giallorossi, compromising their qualifying chances in the process.
• The Turkish club will go through with a win, which would end Roma's interest if it were accompanied by a Mönchengladbach victory in Austria.
• İstanbul Başakşehir's first UEFA encounter against an Italian side proved to be a chastening experience as Roma routed them 4-0 in mid-September, an own goal preceding second-half strikes from Edin Džeko, Nicolò Zaniolo and Justin Kluivert.
• While Roma have never lost at home to Turkish opponents, they have never beaten any of them away (D2 L2), though they have won all three two-legged knockout ties, the most recent of which against Gaziantepspor in the third round of the 2003/04 UEFA Cup (0-1 a, 2-0 h).
• This is İstanbul Başakşehir's fifth successive European campaign, having made their UEFA competition bow in 2015/16. They ensured a return this term by finishing second to Galatasaray in a closely fought Süper Lig title race.
• Home (0-1) and away (0-2) defeats by Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round put İstanbul Başakşehir into the UEFA Europa League group stage for the second time. Their previous campaign, in 2017/18, ended after six matches as their tally of eight points left them in third place behind Braga and Ludogorets.
• The Istanbul club have won just three of their 12 European home fixtures (D5 L4), scoring ten goals and conceding the same number. They are undefeated at home, however, in the UEFA Europa League group stage (W2 D3).
• Roma finished sixth in last season's Serie A, missing out on UEFA Champions League qualification for the first time in six years. They were defeated 4-3 on aggregate after extra time by Porto in the 2018/19 round of 16 having reached the previous season's semi-finals.
• This is the Giallorossi's fifth participation in the UEFA Europa League proper but only their third appearance in the group stage. They have won their group on both previous occasions, in 2009/10 and 2016/17, reaching the round of 16 in the latter campaign.
• Roma's 14-game unbeaten run in the UEFA Europa League group stage (W8 D6) came to a sudden halt with Mönchengladbach's last-gasp winner on Matchday 4. The Serie A side's only other away defeat in the group stage came on Matchday 1 of the competition's inaugural season in 2009/10, when they lost 2-0 at Basel; their record in between the two losses was W2 D4.
Links and trivia
• Turkish winger Cengiz Ünder joined Roma from İstanbul Başakşehir in 2017 after scoring seven goals in 32 Süper Lig games the previous season.
• İstanbul Başakşehir coach Okan Buruk played in Serie A for Internazionale between 2001 and 2004.
• Three of the Turkish club's players also have Serie A experience – Robinho with AC Milan, where he was a Scudetto winner in the first of his four seasons from 2010/11 to 2013/14; Eljero Elia with Juventus in 2011/12; and Gökhan İnler with Udinese (2007–11) and Napoli (2011–15), where he won the Coppa Italia twice.
• İstanbul Başakşehir's Gaël Clichy played at Manchester City with Roma's Edin Džeko (2011–15) and Aleksandar Kolarov (2011–17).
• İstanbul Başakşehir ended Galatasaray's 42-match home Süper Lig unbeaten run with a 1-0 win last Friday thanks to a late Fredrik Gulbrandsen goal.
• A former midfielder who spent most of his playing career at Galatasaray, with whom he won seven Turkish league titles plus the UEFA Cup/UEFA Super Cup double in 2000, Okan Buruk also helped Turkey to third place at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. İstanbul Başakşehir became his seventh club in as many seasons as a coach when he succeeded Beşiktaş-bound Abdullah Avcı in the summer of 2019. His profile had risen considerably a year earlier when he led unheralded Akhisar Belediyespor to Turkish Cup success with a 3-2 final victory against Fenerbahçe.
• Paulo Fonseca was appointed as the new Roma head coach on 11 June 2019. He arrived in the Eternal City having won the Ukrainian league and cup double in each of his three seasons with Shakhtar Donetsk, where he had replaced the long-serving Mircea Lucescu in 2016. A central defender of modest repute, he paid his dues as a coach in his native Portugal, first making his mark at Paços de Ferreira then joining Porto in 2013 before winning his first major trophy, the 2015/16 Portuguese Cup, with Braga.