Europa League: Head-to-head, key information and facts from Roma’s group

Europa Conference League champions Roma have been drawn into a Europa League group containing Real Betis, Ludogorets Razgrad and HJK Helsinki.

With the group stage fixtures set to kick off in early September, Roma will be eyeing up a successful season in the Europa League.

But, how well acquainted are the Giallorossi with their Group C opponents?

Real Betis

Nation: Spain

Manager: Manuel Pellegrini

Stadium: Benito Villamarín Stadium

Key fact: Jose Mourinho has lost eight of his 15 meetings against Manuel Pellegrini

One of the standout ties in Roma’s Europa League group draw, the eyes of Europe will be drawn to this tasty fixture.

But, when the two household names of Italian and Spanish football come head-to-head, it will mark the first competitive meeting between the pair.

In fact, it will be just the first time since 1988/99 Real Betis have faced Italian opposition in European football, having drawn AC Milan in the 2018/19 Europa League group stage.

Generally boasting a strong record against Italian sides, Betis have won three of their six matches against Serie A teams, losing just two.

Expect the La Liga outfit to provide a stern test for Jose Mourinho’s team, with Betis likely to be the biggest challengers for Roma in Group C.

Ludogorets Razgrad

Nation: Bulgaria  

Manager: Ante Simundza

Stadium: Ludogorets Arena

Key fact: Ludogorets are unbeaten against Roma’s city rivals Lazio

In another maiden competitive match for Roma, current Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad will travel to the Eternal City to face the Giallorossi for the first time.

Despite this, Ludogorets are somewhat of a regular on the continental scene, having played over 110 European fixtures in their history.

Two of those matches did come against Lazio, with the Bulgarian side having drawn the Biancocelesti at the 2013/14 Europa League round-of-32 stage.

Against the odds, Ludogorets took victory from their only trip to the Stadio Olimpico, defeating Lazio in the first leg, before progressing into the round-of-16 via a 3-3 draw in the second leg.

That win in Rome remains Ludogorets’ only triumph against Italian opposition, having lost four and drawn the other one of their six match-ups so far.

HJK Helsinki

Nation: Finland  

Manager: Toni Koskela

Stadium: Bolt Arena

Key fact: HJK Helsinki are the most successful club in Finnish football

Not only will HJK Helsinki also represent another new club for Roma, it also marks the first match against Finnish opposition since the 1991/92 European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Tampereen Ilves were the side Roma came up against that time, with the Giallorossi progressing past the Finnish outfit 6-3 on aggregate.

Defeat to Monaco in the quarter-final of that season’s Cup Winners’ Cup would follow, marking a disappointing European campaign for Roma.

As the lowest ranked side in Group C, Helsinki are unlikely to challenge for qualification, yet it does mark a step up for HJK, having competed in the Europa Conference League last season.

They picked up just six points from their six matches, while being eliminated at the expense of qualifiers LASK and Maccabi Tel Aviv. 

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