Seeking a second triumph in four seasons, Manchester United face a Copenhagen side making their debut in a European quarter-final.
Seeking a second UEFA Europa League triumph in four seasons, Manchester United's quarter-final opponents in the German city of Cologne are F.C. Copenhagen, a club competing in the last eight of a major UEFA competition for the very first time.
• United finished on top of UEFA Europa League Group L, four points clear of AZ Alkmaar, to reach the round of 32, where they overwhelmed Club Brugge 6-1 over the two legs (1-1 a, 5-0 h) before enjoying a similarly one-sided success against Austria's LASK Linz (5-0 a, 2-1 h) in the round of 16.
• Copenhagen finished second in Group B last autumn, qualifying with nine points behind Malmö, before knocking out Scottish champions Celtic in the round of 32 (1-1 h, 3-1 a) and newly crowned Turkish title winners İstanbul Başakşehir in the round of 16 (0-1 a, 3-0 h) to become Denmark's first UEFA Europa League quarter-finalists.
• The clubs have been paired once previously in UEFA competition, in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League. United won 3-0 at Old Trafford, Paul Scholes opening the scoring, before a fortnight later Copenhagen, who were competing in the group stage for the first time, claimed their first victory thanks to Marcus Allbäck's 73rd-minute winner. United ended up topping the group, and going on to reach the semi-finals, while Copenhagen finished fourth with seven points.
• United's record against Danish clubs in UEFA competition is W5 D1 L2, their most recent encounters having been against Midtjylland in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League round of 32. They recovered from a 2-1 first-leg loss in Denmark to win 5-1 in Manchester, Marcus Rashford supplying two of the goals on his European debut.
• That 2006 success against United is Copenhagen's sole victory in ten competitive matches against English clubs (D4 L5). Their most recent matches against Premier League opposition came in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League group stage, when they lost 1-0 away to Leicester City before holding the eventual section winners 0-0 at home.
• The three-time champions of Europe finished sixth in the 2018/19 Premier League, which meant direct access to the UEFA Europa League. They were quarter-finalists in last season's UEFA Champions League, going out to Barcelona (0-1 h, 0-3 a) after a remarkable round of 16 second-leg comeback against Paris Saint-Germain (0-2 h, 3-1 a).
• United kept clean sheets in their first four UEFA Europa League group fixtures this term, securing qualification with two games to spare after doing the double over Partizan (1-0 a, 3-0 h). Although they lost 2-1 at Astana, ending the club's 15-match unbeaten run in the competition, United signed off in style with a 4-0 home win against AZ that secured top spot in Group L. At the time that was the club's joint biggest victory in the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League, but they trumped that in the round of 32 second leg with their 5-0 defeat of Club Brugge, which they matched in Linz a fortnight later.
• The Manchester giants have appeared in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals once previously, defeating Anderlecht 3-2 on aggregate in 2016/17 (1-1 a, 2-1 h) thanks to Rashford's extra-time winner at Old Trafford.
• The Red Devils have lost just one of their last 21 UEFA Europa League matches, winning 15. They have kept clean sheets in 14 of those matches, conceding just eight goals while scoring 42 themselves.
• United's record in Germany is W5 D4 L6, all against German opposition. This is their first UEFA encounter in Cologne, where the most recent English visitors were Arsenal, defeated 1-0 there by Köln in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Copenhagen regained the Superliga crown in 2018/19, 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.
• Copenhagen's record in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase is W4 D2 L6. The 3-0 victory at home to İstanbul Başakşehir, that took them into a first ever European quarter-final, also matched their record win in this competition, group stage to final.
• Copenhagen have yet to win a competitive fixture on German soil, their record away to Bundesliga clubs standing at D3 L2. Although they have never played in Cologne, their most recent visit was in nearby Leverkusen, where they lost 4-0 to Bayer in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League play-offs.
Links and trivia
• Both clubs are led by Norwegian coaches – United by Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Copenagen by Ståle Solbakken. The two men played 22 internationals together for Norway between 1995 and 2000.
• Solbakken was the Copenhagen coach and Solskjær a United player when the clubs met in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League.
• Solbakken is familiar with the city of Cologne as he was the head coach of local side Köln in 2011/12. He has also played (Wimbledon 1997/98) and managed (Wolves 2012/13) in England.
• Copenhagen's Uruguayan right-back Guillermo Varela is a former United player, representing the Old Trafford club 11 times in 2015/16 and playing alongside several of the current United squad.
• Five other Copenhagen players have been affiliated to English clubs – Stephan Anderson (Charlton 2004–07), Andreas Bjelland (Brentford 2015–18), Ragnar Sigurdsson (Fulham 2016–18), Bryan Oviedo (Everton 2012–17, Sunderland 2017–19) and Viktor Fischer (Middlesbrough 2016/17).
• Victor Lindelöf (Manchester United) and Pierre Bengtsson (Copenhagen) are fellow Swedish internationals.
• United have used 38 players in their ten UEFA Europa League matches so far – the most of any club in this season's competition.
• This is Solbakken's 43rd 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, four more than Unai Emery (Sevilla).
• United ended the 2019/20 Premier League season in third place, a closing run of 14 games without defeat enabling them to qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Copenhagen finished second in the 2019/20 Superliga, 14 points behind champions Midtjylland, to qualify for next season's UEFA Europa League.
• Manchester United's record in three UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L2:
4-5 v Videoton, 1984/85 UEFA Cup quarter-final
3-4 v Torpedo Moskva, 1992/93 UEFA Cup first round
6-5 v Chelsea, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League final
• Copenhagen's record in three UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L1:
3-2 v Ferencváros, 2003/04 UEFA Cup first round
4-3 v Atalanta, 2018/19 UEFA Europa League play-off
6-7 v Crvena zvezda, 2019/20 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
• A former Old Trafford favourite, whose legendary status at the club was confirmed with his added-time winner in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final against Bayern München, Solskjær returned to Manchester United as interim manager in December 2018, replacing José Mourinho, before securing the position on a permanent basis the following March. A former Norwegian international striker renowned for his predatory goalscoring, he won six Premier League titles as a United player and established his reputation as a coach in his homeland with Molde.
• 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.