Salzburg return to the familiarity of the UEFA Europa League to take on last season's semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt.
Article top media content
After an eventful UEFA Champions League group campaign, Salzburg return to the familiar hunting ground of the UEFA Europa League to take on last season's semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt.
• Eintracht made it back to the UEFA Europa League knockout phase despite losing as many games as they won in the group stage, including two defeats at home, while Salzburg finished third behind holders Liverpool and Napoli in their UEFA Champions League group despite scoring 16 goals.
• The clubs have been paired together once before, Salzburg defeating the German side on penalties in Frankfurt after both sides had won the home leg 1-0 of their 1993/94 UEFA Cup quarter-final, Eintracht's current head coach Adi Hütter scoring Salzburg's first-leg winner. It was the first time a German Bundesliga club had ever been eliminated by Austrian opposition from a UEFA club competition. Salzburg went on to reach the final, where they were defeated by Internazionale.
• Eintracht have won three of their four UEFA home games against Austrian visitors, losing the most recent, a 1995 UEFA Intertoto Cup match against Vorwärts Steyr (1-2).
• Salzburg have been regular, and successful, visitors to Germany over the past couple of years, winning 2-1 at Borussia Dortmund (and on aggregate) in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League round of 16, then defeating RB Leipzig 3-2 on Matchday 1 of the 2018/19 competition. Their last five matches against German teams, home and away, have brought four wins and a draw.
• Frankfurt's 14-match UEFA Europa League adventure in 2018/19 brought memorable knockout phase wins over three teams that had crossed over in mid-season from the UEFA Champions League – Shakhtar Donetsk, Internazionale and Benfica – before they were beaten on penalties in the semi-final by eventual winners Chelsea. That European run was accompanied by a seventh-placed finish in the Bundesliga.
• The 1980 UEFA Cup winners embarked on this UEFA Europa League campaign in the second qualifying round, beating Flora Tallinn, Vaduz and Strasbourg to reach the group stage for the third time. Defeated 3-0 at home by Arsenal on Matchday 1, they recovered to beat Vitória SC away and Standard Liège in Frankfurt, but after posting a famous 2-1 win in north London, they lost at home to Vitória and only just squeezed through as Group F runners-up on nine points – half as many as they amassed last season.
• This is the German club's third appearance in the UEFA Europa League round of 32. They lost on away goals to Porto in 2013/14 (2-2 a, 3-3 h) but beat Shakhtar last season (2-2 a, 4-1 h).
• Eintracht's home record in the UEFA Europa League is W13 D3 L2, with no losses until Arsenal beat them on Matchday 1. They remain undefeated in Frankfurt, however, in the competition's knockout phase (W2 D3).
• Salzburg won a sixth successive Austrian Bundesliga title in 2018/19 – their 13th overall – and added the Austrian Cup to complete a domestic double for the sixth time, all since 2011/12. As Austrian champions, Salzburg qualified automatically for this season's UEFA Champions League group stage, ending a 25-year absence.
• Salzburg kicked off their campaign with a 6-2 home win against Genk, but then lost successive high-scoring games against Liverpool (3-4 a) and Napoli (2-3 h) before drawing 1-1 at home to the Italian side and beating Genk again, 4-1 in Belgium. They went into their final game knowing that victory over Liverpool would take them into the round of 16 but they lost 0-2, with eight-goal Norwegian striking sensation Erling Braut Haaland, who has since left for Borussia Dortmund, failing to score for the first time.
• The Austrian club have therefore returned to the UEFA Europa League, where they are making a joint-record ninth appearance in the competition proper. This is their seventh participation in the round of 32, the previous six having produced three qualifications and three eliminations. Defeated by Standard in 2009/10 (2-3 a, 0-0 h), Metalist Kharkiv in 2011/12 (0-4 h, 1-4 a) and Villarreal in 2014/15 (1-2 a, 1-3 h), they overcame Ajax in 2013/14 (3-0 a, 3-1 h), Real Sociedad in 2017/18 (2-2 a, 2-1 h) and Club Brugge last season (1-2 a, 4-0 h).
• Since winning 2-1 at Dortmund in the 2017/18 round of 16, Salzburg have lost their last four away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase, making their overall record W2 D2 L7.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Stefan Ilsanker (Leipzig), Lucas Torro, Felix Wiedwald
Out: Simon Falette (Fenerbahçe, loan), Gelson Fernandes, Dejan Joveljić (Anderlecht)
In: Karim Adeyemi, Daniel Antosch*, Mergim Berisha*, Mohamed Camara, Noah Okafor
Out: Erling Braut Haaland (Dortmund), Takumi Minamino (Liverpool), Marin Pongračić (Wolfsburg), Smail Prevljak (Eupen, loan)
Links and trivia
• Eintracht boss Hütter is not just a former Salzburg player (1993–2000) but also coached the club to the Austrian double in his only season in charge, 2014/15.
• Frankfurt's Austrian international defender Martin Hinteregger started his career with Salzburg, leaving the club for Augsburg in 2016 after a loan spell in Germany with Borussia Mönchengladbach. He won the Austrian league and cup double three times with Salzburg.
• Frankfurt's new January signing Stefan Ilsanker is also a current Austrian international and former Salzburg player; he made 127 appearances in all competitions for the club between 2012 and 2015, scoring five goals, before joining RB Leipzig. He played for the German club against Salzburg in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage, losing both matches (2-3 h, 0-1 a).
• Several Salzburg players have played for German clubs, including Zlatko Junuzović (Werder Bremen, 2012–18) and André Ramalho (Bayer Leverkusen and Mainz, 2015–18).
• Both Eintracht and Salzburg won all six of their UEFA Europa League group games last season.
• Salzburg have won 38 matches in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final – more than any other team. Their tally of 121 goals is three shy of Villarreal's all-time competition record.
• Eintracht's next victory in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, will be their 18th in the competition, setting a new record for a German club. They are currently level on 17 with Schalke, having played four games fewer.
• Salzburg returned to Austrian Bundesliga action last Friday after the winter break and were knocked off the top of the table when they lost 2-3 at home to LASK, who leapfrogged them into first place. It was the defending champions' first league defeat of the season and first at home in the competition since November 2016, ending a run of 53 Bundesliga matches unbeaten in front of their own fans.
• Austrian coach Hütter was appointed by Eintracht Frankfurt as the successor to Bayern München-bound Niko Kovač in May 2018, having just led Young Boys to their first Swiss league title in 32 years. He proved a shrewd acquisition, leading Frankfurt into the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League and back into Europe via the Bundesliga. A midfielder who spent seven years with Salzburg, he returned to lead the club to a domestic double in 2014/15 after managerial spells at Altach and Grödig. He then crossed the border to spend the next three seasons in Berne.
• Jesse Marsch replaced Mönchengladbach-bound Marco Rose as Salzburg's head coach in the summer of 2019. The Princeton University graduate from Wisconsin was a star midfielder for several seasons in MLS, with Chicago Fire and Chivas USA, and also earned two senior caps for the US national side. A relatively discreet start to his coaching career preceded his appointment in January 2015 as the head coach of New York Red Bulls, where he won the MLS Coach of the Year in his first campaign. He departed in 2018 to assist Ralf Rangnick at RB Leipzig before taking on a new challenge at Salzburg.
UEFA Europa League knockout debut for VAR system
Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will be deployed in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. The decision was taken by the UEFA Executive Committee last September, following the introduction of the system in several UEFA competitions in the 2018/19 campaign.