Espanyol are already into the knockout phase as Group H winners and finish their campaign at home to eliminated CSKA.
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Espanyol finish their Group H campaign at home to CSKA Moskva having already wrapped up first place in the section, while the visitors are playing their last European game of the season.
• Espanyol are unbeaten in their five matches, maintaining that sequence deep into added time at Ferencváros on Matchday 5 with an equalising goal from substitute Sergi Darder (2-2). They also dropped points at home to the Hungarian champions, drawing 1-1 on Matchday 1, but have won their other three matches, overwhelming Ludogorets 6-0 in their last home fixture with six different players finding the net. In contrast it has been a forgettable campaign for CSKA, who only have two points and two goals to show for their efforts and can no longer finish in the top two, although the draws have come in their last two fixtures – 0-0 at Ferencváros and 1-1 at home to Ludogorets.
• The clubs met for the first time on Matchday 2, Espanyol winning 2-0 in Moscow with second-half strikes from Wu Lei and Víctor Campuzano to become the first Spanish side to beat the Army Men in the Russian capital.
• Espanyol's only other UEFA contest against a Russian club also took place in Moscow – a 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage game against Lokomotiv Moskva that they won 1-0. This is their first home fixture against Russian opposition.
• CSKA have an excellent record in Spain, where they have won three of their four matches, defeating Barcelona, Sevilla and, most famously on Matchday 6 of last season's UEFA Champions League, Real Madrid 3-0 at the Estadio Bernabéu with goals from Fedor Chalov, Georgi Schennikov and Arnór Sigurdsson. That win, which followed a 1-0 victory at home to the holders, was insufficient, however, to lift them off the bottom of the group.
• Espanyol finished seventh in the 2018/19 Spanish Liga, edging out Athletic Club on the head-to-head rule to book a return to the European stage for the first time since their appearance in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup final, which they lost on penalties to Sevilla after a 2-2 draw in Glasgow.
• The Barcelona-based club, who also lost the 1987/88 UEFA Cup final on spot kicks to Bayer Leverkusen, cruised through their first two qualifying ties this term, defeating Stjarnan 7-1 on aggregate and Luzern 6-0 over the two legs before overcoming Zorya Luhansk in the play-offs (3-1 h, 2-2 a).
• Espanyol are undefeated in their last 25 European games against non-Spanish opposition (W19 D6) and have not lost a continental encounter in regulation play since Schalke beat them home (2-1) and away (3-0) in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup third round. They have won 11 of their last 12 European home games, scoring at least three goals in nine of them and 39 in total, with only the Matchday 1 draw against Ferencváros interrupting the sequence.
• CSKA finished fourth in last season's Russian Premier League, missing out on a spot in the UEFA Champions League, where they had been group stage participants for six straight years, but qualifying directly for a first UEFA Europa League group campaign since their only previous participation in 2010/11.
• They collected 16 points from their six group games in 2010/11 to top their section and progress to the round of 16, where they were eliminated by eventual winners Porto. Two seasons ago, having finished third in their UEFA Champions League group, the 2004/05 UEFA Cup winners made it to the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, where they were knocked out by Arsenal.
• Until their Matchday 1 loss in Bulgaria, CSKA's only two away defeats in the UEFA Europa League, qualifying included, had come in those knockout phase eliminations by Porto (1-2) and Arsenal (1-4). Their overall away record in the competition is now W6 D3 L3, the most recent win, 3-2 at Lyon in the 2017/18 round of 16 second leg, seeing them through to an away-goals triumph following a 0-1 defeat in Moscow.
Links and trivia
• Before joining Espanyol, Brazilian defender Naldo played in Russia for Krasnodar in 2016/17, including one match against CSKA, a 1-1 draw.
• Espanyol are one of six clubs making their debut in the UEFA Europa League group stage this term. The others are LASK, Wolverhampton Wanderers (both also qualified for the round of 32), Olexandriya, Wolfsberg (both eliminated) and Group H rivals Ferencváros.
• Espanyol are the only one of those six newcomers yet to be beaten. Indeed they are the only one of the 215 teams who have participated in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, yet to experience defeat.
• Despite their positive results in the UEFA Europa League, Espanyol are bottom of the Spanish Liga with just nine points from their opening 16 matches, while CSKA are fourth in the Russian Premier League entering the winter break – 11 points behind leaders Zenit.
• Pablo Machín was appointed by Espanyol as David Gallego's replacement on 8 October, thus returning to Spanish Liga and UEFA Europa League duty seven months after being dismissed by Sevilla. He was in charge of the Andalusian side for less than a year following four progressive campaigns at the helm of Catalan outfit Girona, whom he guided into the Spanish top flight before further exceeding expectations by leading them to a tenth-placed Liga finish in 2017/18. Forced to retire from playing at 23, he had a lengthy association with home-town club Numancia before joining Girona in 2014.
• Appointed by CSKA to replace long-serving coach Leonid Slutski in December 2016, Viktor Goncharenko had earned a growing reputation in Russian football, notably as Slutski's assistant. He made his name as a coach in his native Belarus at BATE Borisov, winning five straight league titles and leading the club into the UEFA Champions League group stage on three occasions. In his first full season as CSKA boss he led the Muscovites to the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals and a runners-up spot in the domestic league.