Malmö and Wolfsburg will both fancy their chances of making further progress as they go into the decisive leg of their round of 32 tie in southern Sweden.
Malmö and Wolfsburg will both fancy their chances of making further progress in the UEFA Europa League as they go into the decisive leg of their round of 32 tie in southern Sweden.
• The Swedish side won 1-0 at Scandinavian rivals Copenhagen on Matchday 6 to top Group B with 11 points – two more than they managed when finishing second in their section last season – while Wolfsburg came through as runners-up to Gent in Group I, also accumulating 11 points thanks to three wins, two draws and one defeat.
• Wolfsburg came from behind to defeat Malmö 2-1 in the first leg. The Swedish side's January signing Isaac Kiese Thelin converted a penalty to open the scoring and deflected in an own goal to complete it either side of a fine strike from a narrow angle by Wolfsburg's Croatian striker Josip Brekalo.
• Malmö have not hosted German opposition in UEFA competition since Dynamo Dresden, then representing East Germany, visited in the second round of the 1990/91 European Cup and won the tie on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Prior to that the Swedish side had won three and lost one of their home games against German visitors.
• Wolfsburg have only been drawn against Swedish opposition once before, when they beat IFK Göteborg 2-0 in both legs of a 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup third-round tie.
• Swedish champions for a record 20th time in 2017, Malmö finished third in their 2018 title defence to secure European football for a third successive season. They notched up a club-record 16 European matches in 2018/19, from their starting point in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round to the UEFA Europa League round of 32, which brought them springtime European football for the first time in 32 years.
• Malmö ensured a second successive appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage – and third in total – by winning four qualifying ties this term, racking up 23 goals as they knocked out Ballymena, Domžale, Zrinjski and Bnei Yehuda. They lost their opening Group B fixture, 0-1 at Dynamo Kyiv, but remained unbeaten thereafter, collecting seven points at home before memorably beating Copenhagen at Parken Stadium with a late own goal to leapfrog their local rivals into first place.
• The Swedish side's only previous round of 32 tie ended in a 1-5 aggregate defeat to eventual winners Chelsea last season (1-2 h, 0-3 a).
• Malmö have lost just one of their last 16 European home matches (W8 D7) – against Chelsea 12 months ago. They won all four of their home games in this season's qualifying phase, scoring 16 goals in the process, before drawing 1-1 with Copenhagen and beating Lugano 2-1 and Dynamo Kyiv 4-3 in the group stage.
• There have been 16 UEFA two-legged ties in which Malmö lost the first leg away from home. They won only one of the first 12, against Wisła Kraków in the 1978/79 European Cup quarter-final (1-2 a, 4-1 h), but have been victorious in the last four – all in the UEFA Champions League qualifying phase, in 2014/15 and 2015/16, including two against Salzburg. Their record after losing the first away leg 2-1 is W2 L1.
• A sixth-placed finish in last season's Bundesliga ensured Wolfsburg direct entry into the UEFA Europa League group stage and a first European adventure since they reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2015/16.
• Wolfsburg made it three UEFA Europa League group stage qualifications out of three as they finished runners-up to Gent this season, six of their points coming against Olexandriya (3-1 h, 1-0 a) and four against Saint-Étienne (1-1 a, 1-0 h).
• The German club are competing in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase for a third time, the last two participations having both ended in the quarter-finals. Their two previous round of 32 ties brought qualification at the expense of Villarreal in 2009/10 (2-2 a, 4-1 h) and Sporting CP in 2014/15 (2-0 h, 0-0 a). They are now unbeaten in five games at this stage (W3 D2).
• Quarter-finalists therefore in each of their last three European campaigns, Wolfsburg are unbeaten in their last eight UEFA Europa League away fixtures (W4 D4), their Matchday 5 win at Olexandriya ending a sequence of three successive draws. Their overall away record in the competition is W4 D6 L2, both defeats having come in England.
• Wolfsburg have won five of the six UEFA competition ties in which they were victorious in the first leg at home, but they lost the most recent – against Real Madrid in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals (2-0 h, 0-3 a). They have never previously won the home first leg 2-1.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Anel Ahmedhodzic, Hugo Andersson*, Adi Nalic, Isaac Kiese Thelin (Anderlecht, loan)
Out: Felix Beijmo (Greuther Fürth, loan), Franz Brorsson (Esbjerg), Markus Rosenberg, Laorent Shabani
In: Mamoudou Karamoko, Ulysses Llanez, Marin Pongračić (Salzburg)
Out: Jeffrey Bruma (Mainz, loan), Phillip König (Holstein Kiel), Lukas Nmecha (Middlesbrough, loan), Elvis Rexhbecaj (Köln, loan), Yunus Mallı (Union Berlin)
Links and trivia
• Malmö's new coach Jon Dahl Tomasson played in the German Bundesliga for Stuttgart from 2005–06.
• Malmö defender Rasmus Bengtsson also has experience of playing in Germany, albeit brief, having made six Bundesliga appearances for Hertha Berlin in 2009/10, while Oscar Lewicki started his professional career with Bayern München's second team in 2010/11.
• Kiese Thelin, Malmö's new loan signing from Anderlecht, spent 2018/19 in Germany on loan at Bayer Leverkusen but made only six Bundesliga appearances.
• Behrang Safari (Malmö) and Renato Steffen (Wolfsburg) were team-mates at Basel in 2016.
• Malmö are one of only two clubs to have reached this season's UEFA Europa League knockout phase having started their campaign in the first qualifying round, the other being Rangers.
• The 2019 Allsvenskan concluded on 2 November, with Malmö finishing runners-up, one point behind champions Djurgården.
• Malmö's record in two UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L1:
2-1 v Magdeburg, 1975/76 European Champion Clubs' Cup first round
4-5 v Dynamo Dresden, 1990/91 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round
• Wolfsburg have yet to feature in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.
• Former Danish international striker Tomasson was named as the new head coach of Malmö on 5 January, succeeding Uwe Rösler, who guided the club through the UEFA Europa League group stage. The 43-year old thus ended a four-year stint as assistant coach to the Danish national side, where he served ex-Malmö boss Åge Hareide, his only previous head coach roles having been with Dutch clubs Excelsior and Roda in 2013 and 2014. A successful playing career brought him a joint-record 52 goals for Denmark (in 112 appearances) plus a UEFA Cup triumph with Feyenoord in 2001/02 and UEFA Champions League glory with AC Milan the following season.
• Austrian coach Oliver Glasner signed a three-year contract in the spring of 2019 to succeed Bruno Labbadia at Wolfsburg. He arrived in Germany with a growing reputation having led LASK Linz to a runners-up spot in the Austrian Bundesliga just two seasons after steering the club to promotion from the second tier. A former centre-back, Glasner spent virtually his entire career with Ried, with whom he won the Austrian Cup twice, 13 years apart, in 1998 and 2011. He also spent a season as the club's coach before joining LASK in 2015.