İstanbul Başakşehir and F. C. Copenhagen are each aiming to reach the quarter-finals of a European competition for the first time.
Fresh from dramatic round of 32 triumphs, İstanbul Başakşehir and F. C. Copenhagen go head to head with the mutual objective of making club history as they seek to reach the quarter-finals of a European competition for the first time.
• The Turkish club recovered from a 3-1 first-leg defeat at Sporting CP in the round of 32, levelling the aggregate score at 4-4 with an added-time Edin Višća strike in Istanbul before winning the tie with a 119th-minute penalty from the Bosnia and Herzegovina international. It was also a sensational last-minute winner in their final group fixture away to Borussia Mönchengladbach that enabled the Turkish side to top their section and ensure a first taste of springtime UEFA competition.
• Copenhagen were 4-2 aggregate winners against Celtic in the last round, triumphing 3-1 in Glasgow thanks to second-half strikes from Michael Santos, Pep Mas and Dame N'Doye after drawing the first leg 1-1 – N'Doye scoring the equaliser – in the Danish capital. They had finished second in Group B during the autumn, qualifying with nine points behind Malmö.
• This is İstanbul Başakşehir's first UEFA competition encounter with a team from Denmark.
• Copenhagen have been paired with Turkish opposition just once previously, losing 3-1 away to Galatasaray and beating them 1-0 at home – both games with current head coach Ståle Solbakken in charge – in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League group stage. Additionally, B1903, one of the clubs that merged to formed Copenhagen in 1992, were 2-1 aggregate winners against Trabzonspor in the 1991/92 UEFA Cup third round.
• This is İstanbul Başakşehir's fifth successive European campaign, their UEFA competition bow having been made in 2015/16. They ensured a return this term by finishing second to Galatasaray in a closely fought 2018/19 Süper Lig title race.
• Two 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.
• This season they finished first in their group despite two heavy defeats to second-placed Roma (0-4 a, 0-3 h). However, they won twice against Wolfsberg and drew 1-1 at home to Mönchengladbach before leapfrogging their German hosts to the Group J summit in a momentous 2-1 win on Matchday 6. Last month's victory over Sporting has put them into the round of 16 for the first time, making this the club's longest European campaign.
• The Istanbul club have won just four of their 14 European home fixtures (D5 L5), scoring 14 goals and conceding the same number. The Matchday 5 reverse against Roma, however, is their only home defeat in the UEFA Europa League proper (W3 D3), while the 4-1 win against Sporting last time out ranks as their biggest at home in European competition.
• Copenhagen regained the Superliga crown last term, becoming Danish champions for the third time in four seasons – and 13th in all. They lost on penalties to Crvena zvezda in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round but were 3-2 aggregate winners over Latvian champions Riga in the UEFA Europa League play-offs.
• The Danish club's seventh UEFA Europa League group stage participation brought a third qualification, though they managed just five goals in their six games, scoring once in each of the first five – including two 1-0 wins against Lugano and three 1-1 draws – before going down 0-1 on Matchday 6 at home to Malmö.
• The 4-2 aggregate win against Celtic means Copenhagen are through to the UEFA Europa League round of 16 for only the second time. They lost their previous tie at this stage, falling to Ajax in 2016/17 (2-1 h, 0-2 a), and have never gone past the round of 16 in any major European competition.
• Undefeated on their Group B travels in the autumn (W1 D2) and victorious at Celtic Park, Copenhagen have lost just two of their last 14 European away fixtures (W7 D5). Their record on the road in 2019/20 is W3 D3 L1.
Links and trivia
• N'Doye, Copenhagen's all-time leading goalscorer, spent two and a half seasons in Turkey with Trabzonspor before rejoining Copenhagen in 2018. He scored ten goals in 63 Süper Lig appearances for the Black Sea club.
• N'Doye is a former Senegal team-mate of İstanbul Başakşehir's Demba Ba; they were both in Senegal's 2012 CAF Africa Cup of Nations squad.
• Copenhagen defender Ragnar Sigurdsson has played six times for Iceland against Turkey, heading both goals in his country's 2-1 home win in a June 2019 UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier.
• İstanbul Başakşehir coach Okan Buruk and his Copenhagen opposite number Solbakken played against each other, both as second-half substitutes, in Norway's 2-0 friendly victory against Turkey in Istanbul on 23 February 2000.
• This is Solbakken's 41st UEFA Europa League game, group stage to final, in charge of Copenhagen – the most in the competition by any head coach with a single club, two more than Unai Emery (Sevilla).
• İstanbul Başakşehir have won their last four matches in all competitions, the latest 3-0 at Göztepe in the Turkish Süper Lig last Friday. They top the table with 52 points from their 25 matches, three more than Trabzonspor (who have a game in hand), Galatasaray and Sivasspor.
• Copenhagen lost 0-1 at home to Horsens on Sunday in the Danish Super League and sit 12 points behind leaders Midtjylland in second place.
• 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.
• Solbakken's second coaching tenure at Copenhagen began in 2013. He has won eight Danish titles in charge of the club – five of those in his first spell from 2006 to 2011 – plus four domestic cups. The former Norway midfielder won 58 caps and scored nine goals for his country, appearing at both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2000, before being forced to retire following a heart attack. He also had short spells coaching in Germany (Köln) and England (Wolves) between two lengthy stints in the Danish capital.