Fenerbahçe are already off the pace in Group D as they welcome a Spartak Trnava side that enjoyed a debut win.
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Victims of a 4-1 defeat at Dinamo Zagreb on matchday one, Fenerbahçe have ground to make up in UEFA Europa League Group D. Their visitors, Slovakian champions Spartak Trnava, enjoyed very different fortunes on opening night, marking their group stage debut with a 1-0 home win against Anderlecht.
• Fenerbahçe have yet to face a Slovakian club in UEFA competition, while Trnava's two previous visits to Turkey have ended in defeat – both in Istanbul against Galatasaray (1969/70 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round) and Beşiktaş (1998/99 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round).
• Fenerbahçe finished runners-up in the Turkish league and cup last season, with arch-rivals 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.
• Having won all three home games in that 2016/17 group stage, Fenerbahçe have failed to repeat the trick in any of their last four European fixtures at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium (D3 L1). However, they have scored at least once in each of their last 15 European home games.
• Trnava's long wait for a national league title ended after 45 years when they lifted the Superliga crown last season. It earned them a first crack at the UEFA Champions League, but after beating Zrinjski and Legia Warszawa in the opening two qualifying rounds, they fell to Crvena zvezda after extra time in the third. A UEFA Europa League play-off win over Olimpija Ljubljana (2-0 away, 1-1 home) carried them into the group stage.
• The victory against Olimpija made it third time lucky for Trnava after their two previous UEFA Europa League play-off ties – against Lokomotiv Moskva in 2011/12 and FC Zürich in 2014/15 – had both ended in defeat.
• Trnava are unbeaten on the road in this European campaign, winning two and drawing two of their four qualifying matches to extend their undefeated run outside Slovakia to seven matches (W4 D3). Indeed, they have lost just one of their last 16 away matches in Europe (W8 D7).
Links and trivia
• Fenerbahçe defender Martin Škrtel is the captain of Slovakia, for whom Trnava duo Matúš Čonka and Marek Bakoš have recently appeared.
• There are five clubs new to the UEFA Europa League proper this season and Trnava were the only one of them to win on matchday one, the other four – Akhisar, Dudelange, Jablonec and Sarpsborg – all falling to defeat.
• 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.
• A member of the Czech Republic side that reached the final of EURO '96, Radoslav Látal won the UEFA Cup with Schalke a year later and went on to compete in a second UEFA European Championship in 2000. The right-sided midfielder ended his playing career with league and cup successes for Baník Ostrava, but was less successful there in a short stint as a coach, prompting spells in Slovakia, Poland and Belarus before he took over at newly-crowned Slovak champions Spartak Trnava in June 2018.