10 Things You Didn't Know About FC Copenhagen

Goal.com's Ewan Macdonald gives you the scoop on the Danish champions...
10) They're the youngest club left in the competition
FC Copenhagen are less than 20 years old. They were founded in 1992 as a merger of KB and B1903, two of Denmark's more successful older clubs. The new team was effectively formed to play at the Parken, a modern, high-capacity stadium in the Danish capital.

9) Chelsea have played European matches in Copenhagen not once, but twice
Most Chelsea fans will remember their squeezing past FCK back in the 1998-99 Cup Winners' Cup 2-1 on aggregate. But how many recall the Blues' trip to Copenhagen in 1960? Back then the Europa League was known as the Fairs Cup and, broadly speaking, featured clubs representing cities. The Danes put forward a squad called Staevnet, also known as the Copenhagen XI.  Chelsea won 7-2 over two legs - Jimmy Greaves starring - and no players from KB and B1903 took part in the two fixtures.

8) The club has over 20,000 members
When Copenhagen was founded, it was with a clear goal of European success. That, the management stated, required a large fanbase. The citizens of the Danish capital have lived up to expectations in this regard, with the club having 21,700 members at last count. This figure puts the talk of FCK's being "minnows" into perspective. The average league attendance at the 36,000-capacity Parken is similar to this number, and significantly more than that of their nearest and fiercest rivals Brondby.


7) The defensive line know each other inside-out
Zdenek Pospech, 'Zanka' Jorgensen, Mikael Antonsson and Oscar Wendt comprise one of the best back lines in northern Europe. Part of the reason for their success is mutual understanding: each arrived at the club between 2006 and 2008 and have played together since. Small wonder they conceded just five goals in the group stage - and three of them were against Barcelona.

6) They sent more players with the Danish team to the World Cup than any other
Yes, Copenhagen were the most-represented team in the Danish squad at the 2010 World Cup. That's not to say they packed it out: three FCK stars joined the Roligan team, namely Jesper Gronkjaer, William Kvist and Jesper Christiansen.

5) Just one of the current squad has played in England
Many fans will only recognise just the one name in the current FCK team, and that's Jesper Gronkjaer's. The attacking midfielder-cum-striker had spells at Chelsea and Birmingham City, the Greenland-born star making a big-money move to the London side in 2000. He's the only Copenhagen player to have tried out English football. Most of the others have only played in Scandinavia or Brazil.

4) Their league form is incredible
Copenhagen have played 19 league games this season, winning 16 and drawing the remaining three. With 19 points between them and second-placed OB Odense, it looks as though the title will be returning to the Parken for the third time in a row. How much this means for the Champions League is open to question, though, given that the Danes have been on a winter break since December.

3) They have one of the most up-and-coming midfields in Europe
Assuming that Copenhagen stick with four in the middle line, fans are in for a treat. As well as that experienced defence, the midfield is a great source of inspiration. William Kvist, the captain, is a one-club man with great experience, while there are plenty of wide options including Cristian Bolanos of Costa Rica. But the best of the bunch is Claudemir, a young Brazilian who generally plays a deep, combative yet creative role. He's one who may well go on to play at a higher level.

2) They've played European football every season since 1997-98
Copenhagen are now mainstays on the continental scence, having qualified for Europe consecutively for over a decade. Coincidentally this is a record that they share with none other than Chelsea. The Blues, of course, won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1997-98 and haven't missed a single campaign since. For Copenhagen, this is the furthest they've ever progressed in Europe's top competition.

1)
Since the start of the 2001-02 season they've had just two coaches
Copenhagen aren't the type to change manager on a whim, as shown by the fact that they've done so just once in the last 10 seasons. Hans Backe took charge in 2001 and spent four very successful years at the Parken - he's now at New York Red Bulls - before current incumbent Stale Solbakken arrived from Norway. The former Wimbledon midfielder, just 42, is one of Europe's highly-rated young coaches.