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Roma v Wolfsberg facts

Roma are well placed in Group J as they take on eliminated Wolfsberg, who have lost their last three matches.

Wolfsberg's Marcel Ritzmaier (left) and Amadou Diawara of Roma on Matchday 2
Wolfsberg's Marcel Ritzmaier (left) and Amadou Diawara of Roma on Matchday 2 ©AFP

Roma have lifted themselves into a promising position in Group J and should be confident of clinching a place in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase as they host a Wolfsberg side who have lost their last three matches and can no longer reach the round of 32.

• Having conceded added-time goals in successive games against Borussia Mönchengladbach to draw at home (1-1) and lose away (1-2), Roma were up against it as they travelled to Turkey on Matchday 5, but a dominant 3-0 win against İstanbul Başakşehirspor, the team they also beat 4-0 in the Stadio Olimpico on Matchday 1, has reinvigorated their hopes of further progress, putting them level on points with Mönchengladbach and one ahead of the team from Turkey. Group stage debutants Wolfsberg, however, have failed to build on an excellent start, losing without scoring in each of their last three matches to drop out of contention.

• A win or a draw against Wolfsberg will seal Roma's qualification, though they can afford to lose and still go through if İstanbul Başakşehir fail to win the group's other final fixture away to Mönchengladbach. If Roma win and the German side do not, the Giallorossi will top the group.

Highlights: Wolfsberg 1-1 Roma

Previous meetings
• Wolfsberg's first UEFA encounter against an Italian club had a positive outcome as they followed up their remarkable opening 4-0 win in Mönchengladbach with a 1-1 draw at home to Roma, Michael Liendl equalising after Leonardo Spinazzola had given the Serie A side the lead.

• Roma are undefeated in their five matches against Austrian opposition, winning one and drawing one of the two home games. The draw came against Austria Wien in the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League group stage, the Viennese visitors scoring twice late on to make the final score 3-3 after Alessandro Florenzi had put Roma 3-1 ahead.

Highlights: İstanbul Başakşehir 0-3 Roma

Form guide
• 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 halt with Mönchengladbach's last-gasp winner on Matchday 4, but the Serie A side remain unbeaten in eight such fixtures at the Stadio Olimpico (W6 D2). A 0-2 defeat against holders Real Madrid in last season's UEFA Champions League is the only one of their last 13 European fixtures in the Italian capital that they have lost, winning ten.

Highlights: Wolfsberg 0-1 Mönchengladbach

• Promoted to the Austrian top flight for the first time in 2012, Wolfsberg claimed their highest ever Bundesliga finish in 2018/19, taking third place behind champions Salzburg and runners-up LASK.

• The club's only previous European campaign, in 2015/16, ended with a 6-0 aggregate defeat by Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round, though they had been victorious in both legs of their inaugural tie a round earlier, beating Shakhtyor Soligorsk of Belarus 1-0 away and 2-0 at home.

• Wolfsberg's overall European record is now W3 D1 L5; outside Austria it is W2 L2.

Highlights: Mönchengladbach 2-1 Roma

Links and trivia 
• Roma's Aleksandar Kolarov and Wolfsberg's Nemanja Rnić are both Serbian internationals, though the latter’s third and last appearance, in March 2008, came two months before the former won the first of his 90 caps.

• Roma's Henrikh Mkhitaryan played for Dortmund against Wolfsberg in both legs of that 2015/16 UEFA Europa League qualifier, bagging a 13-minute hat-trick to complete the scoring in the second leg.

• Both clubs' official crests feature the image of a wolf.

• Wolfsberg are one of six clubs appearing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the first time this season, the others being Espanyol, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Ferencváros, Olexandriya and fellow Austrian side LASK. They and Olexandriya are the only two teams already eliminated.

Highlights: Mönchengladbach 0-4 Wolfsberg

The coaches
• 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.

• On 20 November, Wolfsberg head coach Gerhard Struber took over at Barnsley, in the English Championship. He has been replaced on an interim basis by Mohamed Sahli, a 40-year-old Austrian of Tunisian descent who was previously Struber’s assistant. Sahli’s career has been spent predominantly as a youth coach, overseeing the development of up-and-coming talents at Salzburg and Sturm Graz before working as a joint head coach with the Austrian Under-19 and U16 selections. He arrived at Wolfsberg in the summer of 2019.