Romanian teams Steaua Bucharest, Rapid Bucharest and FC Vaslui are fighting tonight for their chances in the Matchday three of the Europa League groups.
FC Steaua will be looking to get a first Group J victory under their belt when they travel to take on a Maccabi Haifa FC side who have won their last five European home games.
The teams are meeting for the first time and this is also Steaua’s first tie against an Israeli club.
Israeli and Romanian sides have already met in this season’s UEFA Europa League group stage, with FC Rapid triumphing 1-0 at Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC in Group C on matchday one.
Maccabi have won their last five European home games since losing 1-0 to FC Girondins de Bordeaux in their final 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage game. Steaua have not won in nine UEFA away games (five draws and four defeats) since a 2-1 UEFA Europa League play-off win at Saint Patrick’s Athletic FC on 27 August 2009. Exactly 40 years and a day since they last met in Romania, FC Rapid will look to earn another rousing home victory against Legia Warszawa in UEFA Europa League Group C on Thursday night in Bucharest.
Bazil Marian’s Rapid beat Tadeusz Chruscinski’s Legia 4-2 on aggregate in the second round of the 1971/72 UEFA Cup in the sides’ only previous UEFA meeting. Rapid’s 3-1 loss to PSV Eindhoven on Matchday two ended a 17-game unbeaten home run in UEFA games (ten wins and seven draws). It was a record dating back to a 1-0 defeat by Vitesse in the UEFA Cup first round on 3 October 2002. Sporting Clube de Portugal will look to forge further ahead in UEFA Europa League Group D as they take on an FC Vaslui side on a shaky run away from home. The clubs are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition and this is also Vaslui’s first competitive contest with a Portuguese side. Sporting are unbeaten in six European games – three wins and three draws.
Vaslui recorded 2-2 draws in both of their opening Group D games – against S.S. Lazio (away) and FC Zurich (home).
Vaslui’s Brazilian midfielder Wesley played in Portugal for FC Penafiel, Vitoria SC, FC Pacos de Ferreira and Leixoes SC, with whom he won a Liga game 1-0 at the José Alvalade.