Köln v Arsenal background

Arsenal are already through and would make sure of first place in Group H with a point in Germany, whereas Köln could be eliminated if they fail to record a second straight home win.

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger ©AFP/Getty Images

Köln may need to make it two home wins on successive matchdays if they are to stay in contention to qualify from UEFA Europa League Group H, whereas already-qualified Arsenal know that if they avoid defeat in the Cathedral City, top spot in the group is theirs.

The German club will be out if they lose and there is a winner in the other group fixture between BATE Borisov and Crvena zvezda. A draw will not be enough to keep Köln's hopes afloat if Crvena zvezda win in Belarus.

Previous meetings
• The clubs' first meeting in UEFA competition, on matchday one, was a 3-1 victory for Arsenal, who recovered from a 1-0 half-time deficit to score three times after the interval through Sead Kolašinac, Alexis Sánchez and Héctor Bellerín.

• Arsenal's record in 37 games against Bundesliga sides is W17 D6 L14 (W5 D5 L8 away). Their last three matches in Germany have all ended in defeat, with a total of two goals scored and 12 conceded.

• Köln's record in 13 encounters with English clubs is W2 D4 L7 (W2 D1 L3 at home). Among their home defeats was a 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest in the second leg of the 1978/79 European Cup semi-final – a result that denied them a place in the final following a 3-3 draw in Nottingham.

Form guide
Köln's 5-2 victory at home to BATE on matchday four ended a run of four European defeats – three in Group H and one in the 1997 UEFA Intertoto Cup.

• Through to the round of 32 already with ten points from their first four Group H games, Arsenal have not lost (penalty shoot-outs notwithstanding) in nine UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League games (W7 D2) since a 2-1 reverse at Deportivo La Coruña in March 2000. They have won all four away fixtures in this competition since that defeat in Galicia.

• Runners-up to Real Madrid in the two-legged 1986 UEFA Cup final, Köln are back in Europe for the first time in 20 years. Their only previous group campaigns were in the UEFA Intertoto Cup; these are their first autumnal European fixtures for a quarter of a century.

• Arsenal are making their UEFA Europa League group stage debut; their last campaign in this competition was the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, which ended unhappily when they lost on penalties to Galatasaray in the final.

Highlights: Arsenal 3-1 Köln
Highlights: Arsenal 3-1 Köln

Links and trivia
• The journey from London to Cologne is around 500km.

• Köln's Marco Höger (2015–16) and Christian Clemens (2013–16) played alongside Arsenal's Kolašinac at Schalke in Germany.

• Arsenal's Per Mertesacker, Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Özil are all German, while Granit Xhaka (Mönchengladbach 2012-16), Francis Coquelin (Freiburg 2013–14) and Kolašinac (Schalke 2012–17) have Bundesliga experience.

• Arsenal's north London neighbours Tottenham Hotspur suffered their heaviest European defeat against Köln – 8-0 in the 1995 UEFA Intertoto Cup.

• Although they lost their first three Group H fixtures, Köln were the competition's highest scorers last time out with their 5-2 win against BATE.

The coaches
• Peter Stöger has guided Köln back into Europe for the first time in 20 years. A four-time league champion – and 65-times capped international – as a player in his native Austria, he moved to Köln after steering Austria Wien to the 2012/13 title.

• Arsène Wenger has been Arsenal boss since 1996, leading the Gunners to three English titles, seven FA Cups and the 2006 UEFA Champions League final. An unremarkable player, he made his name as a coach with Nancy and Monaco in his native France.

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