ACF Fiorentina will look to make good on a fine away performance as they take a 3-1 lead into their UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg against Esbjerg fB in Florence.
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ACF Fiorentina welcome Esbjerg fB to Florence holding a 3-1 lead from the first leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie.
• Goals from Alessandro Matri, Josip Iličić and Alberto Aquilani earned Fiorentina victory, though Martin Pušić briefly had Esbjerg level. It was the Danish side's worst ever home defeat in this competition, and matched the Viola's biggest margin of victory on the road in the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League.
• Last week's first leg was Esbjerg's first encounter with Italian opponents and Fiorentina's first game against a Danish club.
• Italian teams have had the better of the 33 UEFA club competition meetings between Danish and Italian sides, with 21 wins to the Danes' three in addition to nine draws.
• There have been no Danish victors in the last 14 encounters between clubs representing the two nations (eight Italian wins, six draws).
• UEFA Cup finalists in 1990, when they were beaten by this season's final hosts Juventus, Fiorentina last reached this stage in 2008/09. They lost to AFC Ajax.
• Fiorentina came through the group stage unbeaten (W5 D1), having eliminated Grasshopper Club on away goals in the play-offs.
• Esbjerg are playing in the spring phase of a UEFA competition for the first time, having made it through the group stage with a record of W4 L2.
• This is Esbjerg's tenth European game this season, making this their longest continental campaign – eclipsing their eight-match journey to the 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup semi-finals.
• Fiorentina forward Ryder Matos celebrates his 21st birthday on the day of the match.
• Esbjerg midfielder Martin Bergvold is the only Esbjerg player with Italian experience, having represented AS Livorno Calcio from 2007–10.
• Ukraine and Italy are the most represented nations in the round of 32 with four teams each.
• Fiorentina coach since June 2012, Vincenzo Montella is best remembered as a striker for AS Roma, where he was known as L'Aeroplanino (the Little Aeroplane) because of his modest stature and trademark goal celebration. He won the 2000/01 Serie A title and two Coppa Italias with Roma before moving on to coach their youth team. After holding the reins at the Giallorossi and Calcio Catania, he led Fiorentina to fourth place in his first term in charge.
• Hired as Esbjerg coach in summer 2013 after Jess Thorup moved on to Denmark's Under-21 side, Niels Frederiksen took an unusual path into top-flight football. An economics graduate, he worked at a bank while coaching youth teams at B93 København and Lyngby BK, eventually being hired as the latter club's senior trainer in 2009. He led them to promotion in the first of his four seasons in charge.
• Fiorentina's record in five UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W3 L2:
lost 4-2 (home) v Rangers FC, 2007/08 UEFA Cup semi-finals
won 4-2 (away) v Everton FC, 2007/08 UEFA Cup round of 16
won 4-3 (home) v FC Groningen, 2007/08 UEFA Cup first round
won 3-1 (home) v Club Atlético de Madrid, 1989/90 UEFA Cup first round
lost 3-1 (away) v Boavista FC, 1986/87 UEFA Cup first round
• Esbjerg lost their only previous UEFA penalty shoot-out:
lost 3-2 (away) v Tromsø IL, 2005/06 UEFA Cup second qualifying round
Round of 16
• The winner of this tie will take on Juventus or Trabzonspor AŞ in the round of 16, playing the second leg at home.
• Fiorentina know Juventus well from Serie A, and lost 3-1 on aggregate to the Turin side in the 1989/90 UEFA Cup final. They have never faced Trabzonspor.
• Esbjerg have met neither of their potential last-16 opponents.