UEFA Europa League – København-Sheriff – København v Sheriff background
A night of tension and uncertainty beckons in the Danish capital as København seek the win against Group F leaders Sheriff that could take them through to the round of 32.
• The Moldovan champions will secure springtime European football for the first time with a win or draw in Copenhagen, or if Lokomotiv Moskva, who are one point behind, lose the other game at Zlín. Sheriff cannot qualify if they lose and Lokomotiv win, and FCK cannot qualify if they do not win.
• However, if the Danish side win and the match in Czech Republic is drawn, the qualifying situation becomes more complex as Sheriff, Lokomotiv and FCK will all be on nine points. In that instance, København would be through, unless they win 1-0, 2-1 or 3-2, on goals scored in a three-way head-to-head (or two-way head-to-head with Lokomotiv if it’s 3-2); Sheriff could afford to lose by a one-goal margin and still qualify.
• When the teams met for the first time on matchday two, it was the first UEFA men’s senior fixture between Danish and Moldovan clubs. The game in Tiraspol ended goalless.
• Nine matches have been played between Danish and Moldovan sides in other UEFA competitions – youth, women’s and futsal, both club and national – and have produced seven Danish wins, one Moldovan success and a draw.
• København have suffered only one defeat in their last 13 European home games (W9 D3). They have not conceded in their last five UEFA group fixtures at Parken.
• Sheriff are undefeated in their seven UEFA Europa League matches this season, conceding just three goals and never more than one in any game.
• Defeated on away goals by Qarabağ in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, København have failed to progress in each of their last three UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns. They did, however, reach the round of 16 in last season’s competition, having crossed over during the winter from the UEFA Champions League.
• Sheriff featured in the 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2013/14 UEFA Europa League group stages, but they are yet to appear in the spring phase of a UEFA competition.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Tiraspol to Copenhagen is around 1,500km.
• København’s Swedish international goalkeeper Robin Olsen and Sheriff midfielder Jairo, who scored his club’s winning goal against Zlín on matchday five, were team-mates in Greece at PAOK (2015/16), and played together in the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Sheriff defender Petru Racu briefly played in Denmark with Hjørring in 2012.
• Sheriff clinched their 16th domestic championship crown in 18 years last month, the latest Moldovan Divizia Nationala having been a short, transitional venture as the league switches to a spring-to-autumn schedule in 2018.
• Suspended for next match if booked: Zeca (København); Ante Kulušić, Yuri Kendysh (Sheriff).
• Ståle Solbakken’s second coaching tenure at København began in 2013. He has won seven Danish titles with FCK, five of those having come in his first spell from 2006–11. The former Norway midfielder has also been in charge of Köln and Wolverhampton.
• In charge of Sheriff since October 2016, Roberto Bordin is best known in his native Italy for his lengthy career as a midfielder, which took in spells at Atalanta, Napoli and Piacenza. He was 40 when he finally hung up his boots at Spezia in 2005.