UEFA Europa League – Atlético-København – Atlético v København background
Having unexpectedly dropped out of the UEFA Champions League, Atlético Madrid made a positive start in their pursuit of a third UEFA Europa League title, a 4-1 comeback win at FC København leaving them within sight of a place in the round of 16.
• Atlético are the only previous UEFA Europa League winners active in the round of 32, the other four – Porto, Chelsea, Sevilla and holders Manchester United – having all progressed to the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League.
• This is just one of two UEFA Europa League round of 32 ties in which the two teams had previously met prior to last week’s first legs, the other being Marseille-Braga.
• January signing Viktor Fischer scored 15 minutes into his København European debut to give the home side the lead in the first leg. Atlético responded by seizing control of the tie with four unanswered goals, Saúl Ñíguez and Kevin Gameiro giving the visitors a half-time lead before Antoine Griezmann and Vitolo cemented the win, inflicting on their hosts a heaviest home defeat in the UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League.
• The European history between the two clubs prior to this tie comprised just a single match, which Atlético won 2-0 in Copenhagen in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage thanks to a goal in either half from Simão and Sergio Agüero. Current København coach Ståle Solbakken was in charge of the hosts at the time, with Mexican Javier Aguirre leading Atlético to a victory that helped them through to the next round.
• Atlético’s only other games against Danish opposition occurred in the 1974/75 UEFA Cup first round, when they won 6-3 on aggregate (2-3 away, 4-0 home) against Kjøbenhavns BK (KB for short) – one of the clubs that merged to form FC København in 1992.
• København are yet to win in 11 European matches against Spanish clubs
• UEFA Europa League victors in 2010 and 2012, Atlético are making their first appearance in the competition in five years. Since then Diego Simeone’s side have appeared in two UEFA Champions League finals and reached the quarter-finals and semi-finals in two other seasons.
• Atlético have won only one of their three European matches in their new Estadio Metropolitano, losing the first of them 2-1 to Chelsea on matchday two of this season’s UEFA Champions League. That, however, is the Madrid club’s only defeat in 14 European home games (W10 D3).
• Atlético lost their most recent home game in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase, going down 2-0 in the Vicente Calderón (and subsequently 3-0 on aggregate) against Rubin Kazan in the 2012/13 round of 32. They had previously gone eight home games undefeated in the competition’s knockout rounds (W5 D3) en route to lifting the trophy in 2009/10 and 2011/12.
• København qualified for the round of 32 as runners-up in Group F thanks to a superior head-to-head record over FC Sheriff, who they defeated 2-0 at home on matchday six.
• FCK have not won any of their last five European away fixtures (D2 L3) or any of their last four in the UEFA Europa League (D2 L2). The last time they were victorious on their travels in this competition was in last season’s round of 32, when they beat Ludogorets Razgrad 2-1 in Bulgaria and on aggregate.
• Atlético finished third in the Spanish Liga last season, and this is only the second time in eight attempts that they have failed to progress beyond the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. However, on the only other occasion, in 2009/10, they went on to win the inaugural UEFA Europa League.
• København are in the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League round of 32 for the fourth time. Their only success at this stage of the competition came last season when, having transferred over from the UEFA Champions League, they overcame Ludogorets, that 2-1 away win preceding a goalless draw at Parken. They exited in the following round after losing 3-2 on aggregate to Ajax.
• Champions of Denmark in 2016/17, FCK were defeated on away goals by Qarabağ in this season’s UEFA Champions League play-offs, having eliminated Žilina and Vardar in the two previous qualifying rounds.
• Atlético have won all 21 UEFA competition ties in which they were victorious in the away first leg, most recently against Bayer Leverkusen in last season’s UEFA Champions League round of 16 (4-2 away, 0-0 home).
• On the ten occasions that FCK have lost the first game at home in a two-legged European tie, they have only recovered the situation twice, most famously – and most recently – in 2006/07, when they lost 1-2 at home to Ajax in the first leg of a UEFA Champions League play-off before winning 2-0 in Amsterdam to reach the group stage for the first time.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Diego Costa, Vitolo
Out: Augusto Fernández, Luciano Vietto
In: Viktor Fischer, Erik Johansson, Robert Skov
Out: Danny Amankwaa, Tom Høgli, Kasper Kusk, Martin Pušić, Benjamin Verbič
Links and trivia
• Midfielder William Kvist is a survivor, along with coach Solbakken, of the FCK side that lost to Atlético in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup.
• FCK’s Swedish goalkeeper Robin Olsen and Atlético’s French striker Antoine Griezmann faced each other twice in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers; Griezmann did not score in either game, each ending in a 2-1 home win.
• Kvist and Griezmann are set to be in opposition at the World Cup finals in Russia as Denmark meet France in Moscow on 26 June.
• Atlético were the top-scoring team in the round of 32 first-leg matches, scoring four goals. Nine other teams managed three, six of them away from home.
• København’s Zeca is available again after a one-match ban in the first leg.
• Atlético’s record in UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L4:
6-7 v Derby, 1974/75 UEFA Cup second round
1-3 v Fiorentina, 1989/90 UEFA Cup first round
1-3 v Villarreal, 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup final
3-2 v Leverkusen, 2014/15 UEFA Champions League round of 16
8-7 v PSV Eindhoven, 2015/16 UEFA Champions League round of 16
3-5 v Real Madrid, 2015/16 UEFA Champions League final
• København’s record in UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L0:
3-2 v Ferencváros, 2003/04 UEFA Cup first round
• Diego Simeone has been the Atlético coach since December 2011, and has added five trophies to the club’s collection, including the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League, as well as steering the Madrid club to the UEFA Champions League finals of 2014 and 2016. The combative ex-Argentina midfielder also had two spells at Atlético as a player, winning the Spanish double in 1995/96.
• 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 to 2011. The former Norway midfielder, who won 58 caps and scored nine goals for his country, appearing at both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2000, has also been in charge of Köln and Wolverhampton.