Zorya are battling for survival as they welcome Feyenoord in UEFA Europa League Group A, knowing a defeat – combined with a United win – would end their qualification hopes.
• Nicolai Jørgenson scored the only goal when the sides met on matchday three.
• In the sides’ only previous encounters, Yuriy Vernydub’s Zorya lost to Fred Rutten’s Feyenoord in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League play-offs; the teams drew 1-1 in Ukraine, before playing out an extraordinary return fixture in Rotterdam. Zorya levelled the scores after trailing 3-0 and were in sight of an away goals success when substitute Elvis Manu struck in added time to make it 4-3 to the hosts.
• The line-ups for their previous meeting in Ukraine, on 21 August 2014, were:
Zorya: M Shevchenko, Pysko, Chaykovskiy*, Kamenyuka*, Malyshev (Hrystai 46), Segbefia (Malinovskiy 56), Ignjatijević, Karavaev*, Biliy, Budkivskiy, Khomchenovskiy.
Feyenoord: Mulder, Wilkshire (Karsdorp 82), Mathijsen, Kongolo*, Clasie (Vormer 72), Boëtius (Başaçıkoğlu 62), Immers, Te Vrede, Trindade, Van Beek*, Schaken.
* registered to play for their clubs in this season’s competition
• Those matches were Zorya’s sole previous experience of Dutch opposition; Feyenoord’s record in seven meetings with Ukrainian sides is W2 D2 L3 (D1 L2 in Ukraine).
• Zorya have taken just one point from their first three Group A games, conceding once in each match – no disgrace given the immense European experience of all of their rivals.
• All three of Feyenoord’s Group A fixtures to date have ended with 1-0 wins for the home team – a run that augurs well for Zorya.
• This is Zorya’s debut UEFA group stage campaign.
• Feyenoord have lifted the UEFA Cup twice, in 1973/74 and 2001/02.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Rotterdam to Luhansk is around 2,500km, though Zorya are playing their European home fixtures in Odesa, just shy of 2,000km from Feyenoord’s home city.
• Feyenoord’s squad go into the game with 370 UEFA club competition appearances between them, compared with Zorya’s 187. They are also 48-9 ahead in terms of goals.
• Vernydub has occupied the Zorya helm since stepping up from his role as assistant coach in November 2011. A Russian Cup winner with Zenit in 1999, towards the end of his playing career, he guided Zorya to a fourth-place finish in Ukraine last term.
• Vernydub’s son Vitaliy is playing in this season’s group stage for Gabala.
• Giovanni van Bronckhorst steered Feyenoord to Dutch Cup glory last season, his first in charge of his old club. As a player, the former Netherlands captain landed league championships with Rangers, Arsenal and Barcelona, also scooping the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League with the Catalans.