Anderlecht have lost their first two Group D games without scoring so need a marked improvement as Fenerbahçe visit.
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Defeated without scoring in each of their opening two UEFA Europa League Group D encounters, Anderlecht will be eager to get off the mark as they entertain Fenerbahçe in Brussels.
• The record champions of Belgium followed an opening 0-1 defeat at Spartak Trnava with a shock 0-2 loss at home to Dinamo Zagreb. Fenerbahçe, on the other hand, recovered from a 4-1 defeat in Zagreb to claim their first points of the section with a 2-0 victory over Trnava in Istanbul, Algerian striker Islam Slimani – on loan from Leicester City – scoring both goals.
• The clubs have been paired together twice before in UEFA competition, Anderlecht winning a European Cup preliminary round tie in 1965 (5-1 at home and on aggregate) and Fenerbahçe winning both legs (1-0 home, 2-0 away) in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round – the first step on the Turkish club's run to the quarter-finals.
• Those are Fenerbahçe's only meetings with Belgian opposition, whereas Anderlecht have faced Turkish teams on eight further occasions. They have won three and drawn one of the four games in Brussels, the most recent a 2-0 victory against Fenerbahçe's domestic arch-rivals Galatasaray in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Third in Belgium last term behind Club Brugge and Standard Liège, Anderlecht's European reward was automatic qualification for the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• The Brussels club are competing at this juncture of the competition for the sixth time and have never failed to progress to the knockout phase, reaching the quarter-finals on their most recent participation, in 2016/17.
• Anderlecht have lost eight of their last nine European fixtures, failing to score in six of them. They lost all three home games in last season's UEFA Champions League and are now on a run of four successive European losses in Brussels. In the UEFA Europa League group stage, however, their home record is W9 D3 L4.
• Fenerbahçe finished runners-up in the Turkish league and cup last season, with Galatasaray edging them out in the Süper Lig and unheralded Akhisar shocking them with a 3-2 cup final win. They opened their 2017/18 European campaign with a UEFA Champions League third qualifying round defeat by Benfica (0-1 away, 1-1 home), which sent them directly into the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• This is the Istanbul club's fifth appearance at this stage of the competition and they have qualified for the knockout phase on each of the previous four occasions, most recently in 2016/17 when they topped a group featuring eventual winners Manchester United. Their most successful campaign was in 2012/13, when they reached the semi-finals.
• Defeated in four of their last five European away fixtures, Fenerbahçe nevertheless have an impressive overall record on the road in the UEFA Europa League group stage, with eight wins in 13 games and just two defeats – albeit both by 1-4 scorelines, against Manchester United at Old Trafford two years ago and in this season's opener at Dinamo Zagreb. The matchday two triumph against Spartak Trnava ended the Yellow Canaries' run of six European games without a win (D2 L4).
Links and trivia
• As the coach of Gent, Hein Vanhaezebrouck claimed home (2-0) and away (1-0) wins over Turkish club Konyaspor in the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Fenerbahçe's long-serving Turkish international goalkeeper Volkan Demirel – who played in the 2007/08 win at Anderlecht – is married to a former Miss Belgium, Zeynep Sever, with whom he has two daughters.
• After a successful three-year spell with Gent, during which he led the club to their first Belgian title, in 2014/15, and into the UEFA Champions League round of 16 the following season, Hein Vanhaezebrouck was appointed as Anderlecht boss in October 2017, succeeding René Weiler. He first established his coaching credentials during two spells in the dugout of home-town club Kortrijk, whom he had also represented during a modest playing career.
• A gifted left-footed midfield all-rounder, Phillip Cocu sandwiched a six-year sojourn at Barcelona with two spells at PSV Eindhoven, collecting five Eredivisie titles in the process. He was also a Dutch international for a decade, winning 101 caps, scoring ten goals and appearing in five major tournaments. His coaching career began as Bert van Marwijk's assistant with the Oranje before he struck out on his own at PSV, winning three league titles in four years. He joined Fenerbahçe in July 2018.