Two Romanian football teams will be playing, on Thursday, in the first leg of the Europa League play-offs, both matches away from home. Romania’s champions CFR Cluj will apparently have an easy task, as they will be up against a team from Luxembourg, Dudelange, that have never reached the group stage of any continental championship. They played once in the play-offs for the Europa League groups, 6 years ago, after they were eliminated from the Champions League preliminaries.
This year, however, they were the great surprise of the Europa League preliminary rounds, as they eliminated the Polish eleven Legia Warsaw after a 2-1 score in their match away from home and a 2-all draw on home ground. Dudelange have not scored any other spectacular results lately, given that they were defeated by Differdange last Monday.
In exchange, CFR Cluj are doing well, as they are ranked 1st in the Romanian championship and their only defeat of late was in the match against the Swedish team Malmo in the 2nd leg of the Champions League preliminaries. As far as their win-loss records are concerned, CFR Cluj is one of the most valuable Romanian football teams of the past years. For instance, in the 2012-2013 season, in the Champions League, they got the 3rd place in group H, winning the match against Manchester United on the very Old Trafford stadium.
FCSB, formerly known as Steaua Bucharest, will play against Rapid Vienna, a team that ended the Austrian championship on 3rd place. In their previous matches against teams from Romania, Rapid Vienna have never reported a win, registering 3 defeats and one draw. FCSB has defeated the Austrian teams 5 times, reported 2 draws and lost one single match.
Rapid Vienna has always been present in the European cups over the past years scoring notable results. In 2016 they went as far as the Europa League round of 16 where they were defeated by Valencia. This year as well FCSB reached the Europa League round of 32 but they were defeated by the Italian eleven Lazio. (translation by L. Simion)