A first European away win of the season has given Slavia Praha the edge as they take a 3-2 lead into the second leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League knockout round play-off against Fenerbahçe.
• Slavia, who have played in all three European club competitions this term, came through their UEFA Europa Conference League section in second place behind Feyenoord, finishing on eight points, one more than Union Berlin, while Fenerbahçe finished third in UEFA Europa League Group D, behind Eintracht Frankfurt and Olympiacos.
• The clubs’ first UEFA encounter took place in Istanbul on 17 February and it was the visitors who emerged victorious, Slavia’s Ibrahim Traoré, Oscar Dorley and Ondřej Lingr and Fenerbahçe’s Dimitris Pelkas and Ferdi Kadıoğlu all finding the target for the first time this European campaign in a five-goal thriller.
• Slavia’s lone experience of Turkish opposition before the first leg was a fourth-round tie in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup which they lost 4-3 on aggregate to Fenerbahçe’s city rivals Beşiktaş (1-0 h, 2-4 a).
• Fenerbahçe have now faced Czech opponents 11 times (W4 D1 L6). They lost their first three away fixtures in the Czech Republic, conceding 14 goals in the process, but have won the two most recent, both with 1-0 scorelines.
• The Istanbul side’s record in two-legged knockout ties against Czech clubs is W2 L2, the most recent having ended in their favour as they ousted Viktoria Plzeň from the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League round of 16 (1-0 a, 1-1 h) en route to reaching the semi-finals in what remains the club’s most successful European campaign.
• Slavia went through the entire domestic 2020/21 season unbeaten to win a Czech league and cup double, and also enjoyed a lengthy run in the UEFA Europa League, reaching the last eight for the second time in three seasons, where they lost to Arsenal having previously overcome two other British clubs, Leicester City and Rangers, in the knockout phase.
• This European campaign, however, did not start off well for Jindřich Trpišovský’s side with defeats in both qualifying ties – against Ferencváros in the UEFA Champions League and Legia Warszawa in the UEFA Europa League play-offs. That meant a switch to the UEFA Europa Conference League, where they won two, drew two and lost two of their group games, a vital 1-1 draw in Berlin on Matchday 6 enabling them to qualify as Group E runners-up at hosts Union’s expense, albeit six points in arrears of section winners Feyenoord.
• Slavia have lost just one of their last 12 European matches in Prague (W6 D5) – 0-4 to Arsenal in last season’s UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg – and are unbeaten at home in this continental campaign (W3 D2).
• The Prague side have prevailed in nine of the ten UEFA ties in which they won the away first leg, most recently against CFR Cluj in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League qualifying play-offs (1-0 a, 1-0 h). Their only defeat came against Shakhtar Donetsk in the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round (1-0 a, 0-2 h aet). They have never previously won the first away leg 3-2, though all but one of those first-leg victories on the road have been by a one-goal margin.
• Third in the 2020/21 Turkish Süper Lig, two points behind both champions Beşiktaş and runners-up Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe returned to Europe after a two-season absence and defeated HJK Helsinki in the play-offs to earn a sixth appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• The Istanbul club’s perfect qualifying record from the group stage of the UEFA Europa League ended this term, however, as they were beaten home (0-3) and away (0-1) by Olympiacos and held to two 1-1 draws by Eintracht Frankfurt. Their only win was 3-0 away to Antwerp, with whom they had drawn 2-2 at home a fortnight earlier.
• Fenerbahçe’s play-off victory in Helsinki last August ended a six-match winless run on their European travels (D1 L5). Their last European victory on the road during the spring was that 1-0 success in Plzeň nine years ago; since then their record is D2 L4, with defeats in the last three.
• The Istanbul side have lost all nine previous UEFA ties in which they were defeated at home in the first leg, seven of those by a one-goal margin but none with a 2-3 scoreline. On all nine occasions they also lost the second away leg, most recently going out to Arsenal in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League qualifying play-offs (0-3 h, 0-2 a).
UEFA Europa Conference League squad changes
In: Mads Emil Madsen, Yira Sor (Baník Ostrava), Maksym Talovierov (Dynamo České Budějovice)
Out: Jan Boříl, Ubong Ekpai (Baník Ostrava, loan), Christian Fülöp, Jan Kuchta (Lokomotiv Moskva), Ladislav Takács
In: Serdar Dursun, Ozan Tufan (Watford, end loan)
Out: Max Meyer (Midtjylland, loan), Diego Rossi, Muhammed Gümüskaya (Giresunspor, loan)
Links and trivia
• Fenerbahçe defender Filip Novák is a Czech international. He played six times against Slavia in the Czech league for Zlín and Jablonec (W3 D2 L1), scoring in both games against them for Jablonec in 2014/15 (1-1 a, 2-1 h).
• Novák has played alongside several Slavia players for the Czech Republic and is a former Jablonec team-mate of Lukáš Masopust (2014–16) and Stanislav Tecl (2015/16).
• Tecl made his senior debut for the Czech Republic as a substitute in a 2-0 win against Turkey in a Manisa friendly on 6 February 2013.
• Fenerbahçe appointed a new head coach on 12 January, İsmail Kartal replacing Vítor Pereira, who was dismissed on 20 December.
• Slavia are one of two reigning domestic champions participating in the UEFA Europa Conference League knockout round play-offs, the other Norwegian title holders Bodø/Glimt.
• Slavia’s record in two UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L0:
5-4 v Schalke, 1998/99 UEFA Cup first round
4-3 v Žilina, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
• Fenerbahçe’s record in one UEFA shoot-out is W1 L0:
3-2 v Sevilla, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League round of 16
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