Steaua Bucuresti will look to take inspiration from a new coach as they take on last season’s UEFA Champions League semi-finalists Schalke 04 in their opening UEFA Europa League Group J game.
The sides are meeting for the first time in Europe.
Steaua’s record in 12 games against German opponents is a somewhat dispiriting W1 D4 L7 (W1 D2 L2 at home). That lone victory against a German side was a 3-1 win against Borussia Dortmund in Bucharest in the second leg of a European Champion Clubs’ Cup first round tie on 8 December 1957, having lost the first leg 4-2. With the away goals rule yet to be introduced, the tie was settled by a replay, which Dortmund won 3-1 in Bologna.
Steaua Bucuresti have not scored in their last three games against German sides, and have also drawn a blank in their last three home fixtures against teams from the Bundesliga.
Schalke 04 met Steaua’s neighbours FC Sportul Studentesc Bucuresti in the 1976/77 UEFA Cup second round; they won 1-0 away and 4-0 at home in what was their only previous tie against a Romanian side.
Unbeaten in six European home games since a 1-0 loss to Fenerbahçe SK in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage, Steaua Bucuresti have been alternating draws and wins on their own turf; should that pattern continue they are due another draw against Schalke.
Schalke 04 have not won in three UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League away fixtures (a draw and two defeats) since a 4-1 victory at APOEL FC in the first round on 16 September 2008. Their only previous away fixture this season ended in a shock 2-0 loss at HJK Helsinki, though they won the return fixture 6-1.