Roma open their third UEFA Europa League group stage campaign at home to 2018/19 Turkish Süper Lig runners-up İstanbul Başakşehir.
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After two successive seasons in which they reached the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League, Roma are back for a third crack at the UEFA Europa League group stage, where they open their campaign with a home fixture against 2018/19 Turkish Süper Lig runners-up İstanbul Başakşehir.
• This is the Turkish club's first UEFA encounter against an Italian side.
• Roma have won three and drawn one of the four matches in which they have hosted Turkish opposition, the last such occasion bringing a tie-clinching 2-0 win against Gaziantepsor – to whom they had lost the first leg in Turkey 1-0 – in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup third round.
• Roma finished sixth in last season's Serie A, missing out on UEFA Champions League qualification for the first time in six years. They were defeated 4-3 on aggregate after extra time by Porto in the 2018/19 round of 16 having reached the previous season's semi-finals.
• This is the Giallorossi's fifth participation in the UEFA Europa League proper but only their third appearance in the group stage. They have won their group on both previous occasions, in 2009/10 and 2016/17, reaching the round of 16 in the latter.
• Roma are 11 games undefeated in the UEFA Europa League group stage and have won five and drawn one of the six games at home, scoring at least twice in each of them. A 0-2 defeat against holders Real Madrid in last season's UEFA Champions League is the only one of their last 11 European fixtures that they have lost in the Italian capital, winning nine.
• This is İstanbul Başakşehir's fifth successive European campaign, having made their UEFA competition bow in 2015/16. They ensured a return this term by finishing second to Galatasaray in a closely fought Süper Lig title race.
• Home (0-1) and away (0-2) defeats by Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round put İstanbul Başakşehir into the UEFA Europa League group stage for the second time. Their previous campaign, in 2017/18, ended after six matches as their tally of eight points left them in third place behind Braga and Ludogorets.
• The Istanbul club have won just one of their ten European away fixtures (D3 L6), 2-1 at Ludogorets on matchday five of that 2017/18 campaign. They have not scored in any of their last four European fixtures, home or away.
Links and trivia
• Turkish winger Cengiz Ünder joined Roma from İstanbul Başakşehir in 2017 after scoring seven goals in 32 league games the previous season.
• İstanbul Başakşehir coach Okan Buruk played in Serie A for Internazionale between 2001 and 2004.
• Three of the Turkish club's players also have Serie A experience – Robinho with AC Milan, where he was a Scudetto winner in the first of his four seasons from 2010/11 to 2013/14; Eljero Elia with Juventus in 2011/12; and Gökhan İnler with Udinese (2007–11) and Napoli (2011–15), where he won the Coppa Italia twice.
• İstanbul Başakşehir's Gaël Clichy played at Manchester City with Roma's Edin Džeko (2011–15) and Aleksandar Kolarov (2011–17).
• Paulo Fonseca was appointed as the new Roma head coach on 11 June 2019. He arrived in the Eternal City having won the Ukrainian league and cup double in each of his three seasons with Shakhtar Donetsk, where he had replaced the long-serving Mircea Lucescu in 2016. A central defender of modest repute, he paid his dues as a coach in his native Portugal, first making his mark at Paços de Ferreira then joining Porto in 2013 before winning his first major trophy, the 2015/16 Portuguese Cup, with Braga.
• A former midfielder who spent most of his playing career at Galatasaray, with whom he won seven Turkish league titles plus the UEFA Cup/UEFA Super Cup double in 2000, Okan Buruk also helped Turkey to third place at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. İstanbul Başakşehir became his seventh club in as many seasons as a coach when he succeeded Beşiktaş-bound Abdullah Avcı in the summer of 2019. His profile had risen considerably a year earlier when he led unheralded Akhisar Belediyespor to Turkish Cup success with a 3-2 final victory against Fenerbahçe.