Zorya v Östersund background
Zorya Luhansk faced some difficult opponents in last season’s UEFA Europa League and now have the competition’s surprise package, Östersund, in their Group J opener.
• These sides are meeting for the first time; neither has ever met a team from their opponents’ home country in Europe.
• The ten previous games between Ukrainian and Swedish clubs in UEFA competiton have favoured the Ukrainian team: W5 D3 L2. No Swedish side has won a match in Ukraine: D2 L3.
• Zorya failed to win a home fixture in last season’s group stage (D2 L1) – no great surprise given they were pooled with Fenerbahçe, Feyenoord and Manchester United.
• Östersund’s three European away games to date have ended W1 D1 L1.
• Third in the 2016/17 Ukrainian table, Zorya are featuring in their second successive group stage, though they were unable to make the UEFA Europa League round of 32 last term.
• First-time Swedish Cup winners in 2016/17, Östersund have reached the UEFA Europa League group stage in their debut UEFA season, having eliminated Galatasaray, Fola Esch and PAOK.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Ostersund to Lviv, where Zorya are playing their European home matches, is around 1,600km.
• Zorya have taken part in 20 UEFA fixtures to date, while Östersund have played only six.
• Yuriy Vernydub has been in charge at Zorya since stepping up from his role as assistant coach in November 2011, leading them to fourth and third-placed finishes in the last two seasons. He was a Russian Cup winner as a Zenit defender in 1999.
• Englishman Graham Potter has helped steer Östersund from the Swedish fourth tier to the UEFA Europa League since taking the reins in 2011. He played in England’s lower leagues with the likes of Birmingham, Stoke and West Brom.