Dominant side in Luxembourg makes its Europa League debut against club that gave them their colours a century ago
A five-minute drive from the centre of Dudelange, hugging a hill to the west of town, sits a community of colourful, tightly packed dwellings. The border with France is a mile away but this is “Little Italy”, where migrants from Piedmont began arriving in the 1880s to make a living at the steelworks below. These days the factory is empty, rusting and a symbol of the days before Luxembourg nimbly recalibrated to create its wealth via the financial services; the Italian influence remains vivid, though, and will come to the fore on Thursday in a way nobody could have foreseen.
F91 Dudelange against Milan presents the kind of European tie the modern-day system is designed to avoid. But the 14-times national champions have, against every expectation, reached the Europa League group stage and the identity of their first opponents has hefty historical resonance.