The 2019/20 UEFA Europa League's opening night brings together last season's semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt and runners-up Arsenal.
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One of the feature games of the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League's opening night brings together last season's semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt and runners-up Arsenal. The German club have come through three qualifying ties to return to the group stage, whereas the visitors are playing their first European match since last season's 4-1 defeat in the all-English Baku final against Chelsea.
• Despite the clubs' European pedigree, they have never previously faced each other in UEFA competition.
• Eintracht are unbeaten in five matches against English visitors but have drawn three of them, including 1-1 against Chelsea in the first leg of last season's semi-final. They also drew the return leg at Stamford Bridge by the same score before losing 4-3 on penalties.
• Arsenal have played 38 UEFA matches against German clubs with the record W17 D6 L15. Their last four fixtures on German soil have all ended in defeat, most recently at Köln (0-1) in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League group stage, the previous two having been 5-1 routs in the UEFA Champions League at Bayern München. Their all-time away record in Germany is W5 D5 L9.
• Frankfurt's 14-match UEFA Europa League adventure in 2018/19 brought memorable knockout phase wins over three teams that had crossed over in mid-season from the UEFA Champions League – Shakhtar Donetsk, Internazionale and Benfica. It was accompanied by a seventh-placed finish in the Bundesliga.
• The 1980 UEFA Cup winners embarked on this UEFA Europa League campaign in the second qualifying round, where they comfortably saw off Estonia's Flora and Liechtenstein's Vaduz before having to come from behind to eliminate Strasbourg (0-1 a, 3-0 h) in the play-offs and reach the group stage for the third time. Their first appearance, in 2013/14, also resulted in further progress before they lost to Porto on away goals in the round of 32.
• Eintracht's overall record in the UEFA Europa League, home and away and including qualifying, is an eye-catching W21 D6 L3. Their home record in the competition is an equally impressive W12 D3, with only Porto, Inter and Chelsea – UEFA Champions League winners all – having denied them victory. In the group stage it is six wins out of six with 17 goals scored and just one conceded.
• UEFA Champions League ever-presents for 19 successive seasons from 1998/99 to 2016/17, Arsenal reached the UEFA Europa League semi-finals at the first attempt in 2017/18, losing to eventual winners Atlético, before going one step further and reaching last season's final, where they were comprehensively defeated by London rivals Chelsea.
• Fifth place in the 2018/19 Premier League secured a third successive UEFA Europa League group stage berth for the Gunners, who had won five European games in a row – one against Rennes, two apiece against Napoli and Valencia – before the loss in Baku.
• The 1999/2000 UEFA Cup runners-up won all three away fixtures in last season's group stage without conceding, having won two out of three in 2017/18, the defeat at Köln the lone exception. Their overall away record in two UEFA Europa League campaigns is W9 D1 L4, with 25 goals scored and 12 conceded.
Links and trivia
• Arsenal's squad contains German internationals Bernd Leno, Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Özil. Eintracht have two Nationalmannschaft members on their books in goalkeeper Kevin Trapp and defender Erik Durm.
• Eintracht's Gelson Fernandes and Arsenal skipper Granit Xhaka are both Swiss internationals.
• Arsenal head coach Unai Emery is poised to take charge of his 75th UEFA Europa League game, group stage to final, extending his own record.
• Austrian coach Adi Hütter was appointed by Eintracht Frankfurt as the successor to Bayern München-bound Niko Kovač in May 2018, having just led Young Boys to their first Swiss league title in 32 years. He proved a shrewd acquisition, leading Frankfurt into the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League and back into Europe via the Bundesliga. A midfielder who spent seven years with Salzburg, he returned to lead the club to a domestic double in 2014/15 after managerial spells at Altach and Grödig. He then crossed the border to spend the next three seasons in Berne.
• After two years with Paris Saint-Germain that yielded seven domestic trophies, Emery was appointed as Arsenal manager in May 2018, replacing the long-serving Arsène Wenger. The Spaniard oversaw Sevilla's historic hat-trick of successes in the UEFA Europa League from 2013/14 to 2015/16, having assumed control following a four-year tenure at Valencia and a brief stint at Spartak Moskva. A finalist again with the Gunners in 2018/19, he has been in charge of more UEFA Europa League games than any other coach.