F91 Dudelange are the first side from Luxembourg to compete in the Europa League
1995 was a big year for football in Luxembourg.
Avenir Beggen shocked Europe and David v Goliathed their way to the UEFA Cup proper, only to be stuffed 13-0 over two legs by a Titi Camara-inspired Lens.
Twenty-five years later the boys from the Bourg are back. F91 Dudelange fought the odds to qualify for the Europa League group stages, seeing off Legia Warsaw and CFR Cluj along the way.
Aside from the name, which sounds like it should be plastered on the side of a submarine, there are many reasons to get behind Dudelange in their doomed quest to conquer Europe.
For a start they’ve been drawn in a group alongside AC Milan, who are currently second in the all-time list of UEFA club competition winners, Olympiakos and Real Betis.
So let’s take a look at the centre-backs who’ll be trying to keep Gonzalo Higuain quiet.
Tom Schnell’s only jaunt outside of Luxembourg was a year spent not playing for Eintracht Trier 05, who were competing in the German second division at the time.
Ghanaian Jerry Prempeh finds himself in Luxembourg after spells in France, Czech Republic and Switzerland.
What about the midfielder who’ll be pitting his wits against Euro 2016 winner William Carvalho when Dudelange face Betis?
Clement Couturier, who started both legs of the win against Cluj, has spent his entire career in the lower tiers of French football, moving to Luxembourg in July.
They’ve even got their own Ibrahimovic. Bosnian Sanel Ibrahimovic has never played outside of Luxembourg but now finds himself tasked with getting the better of Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Dudelange has a population of 19,734 people, meaning they could fly over the entire town and still be 12,381 people short of filling Olympiakos’s stadium.
They’d need to find another 40,986 people to fill Betis’ new stadium, while packing out Milan’s iconic San Siro would take another 60,284 inhabitants.
As for their own stadium, Dudelange’s Stade Jos Nosbaum currently holds 2,558 fans at capacity.
Dudelange aren’t even Luxembourg’s most successful side. Jeunesse Esch hold that record with 28 titles to Dudelange’s 14.
Their achievement is one of football’s mini-miracles.
You can’t overestimate the impact the Europa League’s millions will have on amateur side Dudelange, or the knock-on effect for Luxembroug’s national side, currently ranked 85th in the world by FIFA.
Now, time to work out how to get to Dudelange on the cheap.
SOMETHING ELSE TO SEE OUT THE DAY?
WATCH: Love Of The Game: Leyton Orient (Episode 1)