Plzeň v Roma background

Roma have never failed to qualify from a UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League group stage but have not been presented with an easy start, Plzeň having won big in their last game in Italy.

Roma's Radja Nainggolan
Roma's Radja Nainggolan ©AFP/Getty Images

Roma visit the Czech Republic to face Viktoria Plzeň in their first UEFA Europa League group stage fixture since the rebranded competition's inaugural 2009/10 season.

Previous meetings
• This Group E game is the clubs' first meeting in UEFA competition.

• Plzeň's record in four matches against Serie A opposition reads W2 D1 L1. In 2012/13, the Czech team recorded a 5-0 aggregate victory against Napoli in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

• Roma's only previous experience of Czech opponents came in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup quarter-finals, the Giallorossi losing on away goals (aggregate 3-3) to Slavia Praha after extra time.

Form guide
• Plzeň are without a win in four European qualifying games this season (D3 L1). They have drawn their last three continental home fixtures.

• Plzeň have made it through one of their previous two UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns, reaching the round of 16 in 2012/13.

• Roma advanced in both of their previous UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns (2005/06, 2009/10).

Links and trivia
• The journey from Rome to Plzen is not far off 900km.

• Prague-born Zdeněk Zeman, known for his attacking philosophy, has had two spells as Roma coach (1997–99, 2012/13).

The coaches
• Roman Pivarník took charge at Plzeň this summer following a two-year stint with Prague side Bohemians. This is his first continental foray as a coach, though he notably helped Rapid Wien make the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final as a midfielder in 1996.

• Luciano Spalletti returned to Roma in January after five years in Russia with Zenit, where he claimed two league titles. He lifted the Coppa Italia twice with Roma from 2005–09, having made his name by leading unfancied Udinese to fourth place in Serie A in 2004/05.

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