16 September 2020
Ghelamco Arena will host midweek’s UEFA Champions League third-qualifying-round encounter between Gent and Rapid Wien. It will be the first time these two sides will face each other.
Gent impressed in the UEFA Europa League last season, finishing top of Group I ahead of Wolfsburg and Saint-Etienne without a single defeat (W3, D3). But, they failed to build on a strong group stage campaign, bowing out in the first knock-out round against Roma (0-1 A, 1-1 H). Curiously, six of Gent’s last eight European fixtures have seen both teams on the scoresheet, with four featuring over 2.5 goals. Also, Ghelamco Arena has been a venue of entertainment this calendar year, as seven of Gent’s eight competitive games have witnessed both teams score, with five producing three goals or more. Impressively, though, the ‘Buffalos’ are unbeaten at home against foreign opponents in 12 of their previous European matches (W7, D5).
As for the visitors, they started their European journey in the second qualifying round, narrowly edging past the Croatian side Lokomotiva Zagreb 1-0. Rapid did well in the Europa League back in 2018/19, going past the group stage only to suffer a disappointing elimination to Inter Milan on a 5-0 aggregate scoreline (0-1 H, 0-4 A). Interestingly, just one of Rapid’s last 13 continental matches has ended in a draw (W6, D1, L6), qualifying included. Notably, though, five of those six defeats arrived away from home. ‘Die Grün-Weißen’ have endured mixed fortunes in their previous 14 European clashes against the Belgian opponent (W5, D4, L5), with 13 of those matches yielding a full-time margin of under 1.5 goals.
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