UEFA Europa League – FCSB-Lugano – FCSB v Lugano background
With qualification for the round of 32 sealed after matchday four, FCSB will be eyeing top spot in Group G as they entertain a Lugano side that can no longer make it beyond the group stage.
• The Romanian team need a win to gurantee going through as group winners, although any result will do if fellow qualifiers Viktoria Plzeň, who trail them by a point and have an inferior head-to-head record, do not win away to Hapoel Beer-Sheva.
• Lugano’s first encounter with Romanian opponents did not end as desired, with FCSB defeating them 2-1 in Switzerland on matchday two. Mattia Bottani put the hosts ahead on 14 minutes, but second-half goals from Constantin Budescu and Júnior Morais turned the match in favour of the visitors.
• FCSB’s record in 13 meetings with Swiss clubs stands at W4 D7 L2. They have yet to lose any of their six games at home (W3 D3), though the last two have both been drawn.
• FCSB are unbeaten in five UEFA Europa League group games at home (W2 D3), though they have won only once in Romania against European opposition this season (D2 L1). Their matchday six record in the UEFA Europa League group stage is W1 D2 L3.
• FCSB have qualified with ten points. Their highest points tally in six previous UEFA Europa League group stage adventures is 11, which they achieved in 2012/13 – the only time they have gone through as section winners.
• In 11 European away matches to date, Lugano have earned just one win (D2 L8) and scored only four goals. That lone victory came at Internazionale Milano in a 1-0 second-leg success in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup first round, giving the Swiss club a famous 2-1 aggregate win.
• Beaten 5-1 on aggregate by Sporting CP in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, 2016/17 Romanian league runners-up FCSB are competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for a seventh time since the tournament assumed its current format in 2009/10 – a record they share with Salzburg. They have now reached the knockout phase three times.
• Third in Switzerland last term, Lugano – from the Italian-speaking Ticino canton – have been absent from UEFA competition since 2002/03 and have never before featured in a group stage.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Lugano to Bucharest is around 1,350km.
• FCSB striker Harlem Gnohéré started his career in the lower leagues in Switzerland with La Tour/Le Pâquier, Bulle and Urania Genève Sport.
• This is FCSB’s 42nd game in the UEFA Europa League group stage – a competition high that they share with Salzburg.
• FCSB’s Constantin Budescu sits out this game through suspension.
• Suspended for next game if booked: Mihai Pintilii, Dennis Man (FCSB).
• Nicolae Dică returned to FCSB as coach in May 2017, having served the club as a player in two previous spells, landing two titles – and a further one with CFR Cluj. The attacking midfielder also played in Italy, Greece and Turkey.
• Pierluigi Tami took charge of Lugano for a second time in June 2017, the Italian-born defender having spent his entire professional career in Switzerland. Notably, he assisted Ottmar Hitzfeld during his spell as national coach.