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Ronaldo very first to 125: top rated UEFA club scorers – UEFA Europa League – News

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the best scorers in UEFA’s club competitions by a large distance: UEFA.com celebrates European competition’s 50+ forwards.

Players who have scored 50 goals or far more in UEFA club competitors*

goals127: Cristiano Ronaldo (POR, Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus)109: Lionel Messi (ARG, Barcelona)77: Raúl González (ESP, Real Madrid, Schalke)70: Filippo Inzaghi (ITA, Parma, Juventus, AC Milan)67: Andriy Shevchenko (UKR, Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan, Chelsea)62: Ruud van Nistelrooy (NED, Heerenveen, PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Hamburg)62: Gerd Müller (GER, Bayern München)61: Karim Benzema (FRA, Lyon, Real Madrid)60: Robert Lewandowski (POL, Lech Poznań, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern München)59: Thierry Henry (FRA, Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona)59: Henrik Larsson (SWE, Feyenoord, Celtic, Barcelona, Manchester United, Helsingborg)58: Sergio Agüero (ARG, Atlético Madrid, Manchester City)56: Zlatan Ibrahimović (SWE, Ajax, Juventus, Internazionale Milano, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United)56: Eusébio (POR, Benfica)54: Alessandro Del Piero (ITA, Juventus)54: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (NED, Heerenveen, Ajax, AC Milan, Schalke)50: Didier Drogba (CIV, Marseille, Chelsea, Galatasaray)50: Alfredo di Stéfano (ARG/ESP, Real Madrid)*UEFA club competitions indicates European Winner Clubs’ Cup/UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, European/South American Cup, UEFA Super Cup and UEFA Intertoto Cup

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UEFA Europa League – Arsenal-Atlético – Arsenal v Atlético history

Arsenal and Atlético Madrid will meet up with competitively for the initially time in the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League, in the initially leg of a much-expected contest in between clubs from the capital metropolitan areas of England and Spain.

• Both of those Arsenal and Atlético survived next-leg scares in the quarter-finals, the Gunners at some point prevailing 6-3 on aggregate against CSKA Moskva (4-1 home, 2-2 absent right after trailing -2) and Los Colchoneros edging Iberian rivals Sporting CP 2-1 around the two legs (2- home, -1 absent).

Arsenal, the lone English reps in the UEFA Europa League knockout section, gained four of their six autumn encounters to leading Group H before knocking out European debutants Östersund in the spherical of 32 then successful equally legs against AC Milan – 2- in Italy and 3-1 in London.

• Obtaining crossed around to the UEFA Europa League right after finishing third in their UEFA Champions League team, Atlético made mild function of equally Danish champions FC København in the spherical of 32 and Russian league leaders Lokomotiv Moskva in the spherical of 16, successful all four matches.

Former meetings
• Arsenal and Atlético have hardly ever fulfilled in UEFA opposition, even though the Gunners did conquer their Spanish opponents 2-1 at home in the 2009 pre-season Emirates Cup.

• The Gunners have gained only ten of their 31 UEFA opposition matches against teams from Spain, getting rid of fourteen. At home their record in fourteen encounters is W8 D3 L3, the most new a 2- defeat against Barcelona in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League spherical of 16 initially leg.

• The London club have gained five of their nine two-legged UEFA ties with Liga opposition but have shed each individual of the final a few – all to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League. Their 1 past semi-remaining against Spanish opponents did finish in accomplishment, a 1- aggregate win around Villarreal in 2005/06 (1- home, – absent) getting them into their initially – and as yet only – European Cup/UEFA Champions League remaining.

• Atlético’s record in 27 matches against English clubs is W10 D11 L6, and they have been victorious in seven of their nine two-legged knockout contests, such as each individual of the final a few only Derby County (1974/75 UEFA Cup) and Bolton Wanderers (2007/08 UEFA Cup) haved eradicated them. On English soil, nevertheless, they have gained just 2 times in 12 visits, getting rid of four times.

• The Madrid aspect have drawn 1-1 on each individual of their final two visits to England – against Leicester Town in final season’s UEFA Champions League quarter-remaining and at Chelsea in this season’s team stage, Saúl Ñíguez scoring Atlético’s goal in equally matches.

• The two journeys prior to people game titles were equally for European semi-remaining next legs and yielded positive results – a 2-1 extra-time defeat at Liverpool in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League bringing an absent-goals victory right after a 1- home win, and a 3-1 win at Chelsea, which involved a Diego Costa penalty, getting Diego Simeone’s aspect via to the 2014 UEFA Champions League remaining right after a – draw in Madrid.

Kind guideline
• Arsenal’s 8-match unbeaten home operate in UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League matches (W6 D2) came to an finish in the spherical of 32 with a 2-1 defeat by Östersund, but they bounced back again by beating Milan 3-1 and CSKA 4-1 in the next two rounds.

• Prior to that victory around the Rossoneri the Gunners had shed each individual of their past six European home game titles in the spring, conceding seventeen goals. They have not held a clean sheet in the final 8.

• Arsenal have prolonged their European campaign into the spring for the 19th successive yr – all beneath Arsène Wenger’s administration.

• Arsenal are producing their UEFA Europa League debut this season. Their final European campaign outside the UEFA Champions League was the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, which ended with a penalty shoot-out defeat in the remaining against Galatasaray. They overcame French aspect Lens in that season’s semi-remaining, successful 1- at home and 2-1 absent.

• The Gunners’ record in six UEFA opposition semi-remaining ties is W5 L1, prevailing in each individual of the initially five – against Juventus (1979/80, 1-1 home, 1- absent), Paris Saint-Germain (1993/94, 1-1 absent, 1- home) and Sampdoria (1994/95, 3-2 home, 2-3 absent, gained on penalties) in the European Cup Winners’ Cup, then Lens and Villarreal – before Manchester United ousted them in the final four of the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League (-1 absent, 1-3 home). They have therefore hardly ever shed a semi-remaining to international opposition.

• Atlético were unbeaten on their European travels this season right until their 1- quarter-remaining next-leg defeat at Sporting, a few draws in the UEFA Champions League preceding two wins in the UEFA Europa League.

• The Madrid club went into that match in Lisbon on a operate of seven successive absent wins in the UEFA Europa League knockout section. Certainly, the reduction to Sporting was only their next in 12 these kinds of fixtures (W8 D2), the other that 2009/10 semi-remaining defeat against Liverpool. They were also victorious on neutral territory in the finals of 2010 (Hamburg) and 2012 (Bucharest).

• UEFA Europa League victors in 2010 and 2012, Atlético are producing their initially overall look at the opposition in five a long time. Since then Diego Simeone’s aspect has appeared in two UEFA Champions League finals and achieved the quarter-finals and semi-finals in two other seasons.

• Effective in equally of their past UEFA Europa League semi-finals, against Liverpool in 2009/10 and Valencia in 2011/12 (4-2 home, 1- absent), Atlético’s general record in fourteen UEFA opposition semi-remaining ties is W8 L6. They had gained four in a row before likely down to city rivals Real Madrid in final season’s UEFA Champions League (-3 absent, 2-1 home).

• Atlético has gained only four of their fourteen absent legs in UEFA semi-finals, the newest accomplishment coming in London four a long time in the past with that 3-1 next-leg win at Chelsea.

• Atlético concluded third in the Spanish Liga final season, and this is only the next time in 8 makes an attempt that they have unsuccessful to development outside of the team stage of the UEFA Champions League. On the other hand, on the only other situation, in 2009/10, they went on to win the UEFA Europa League.

Inbound links and trivia
• Arsenal’s Armenian global Henrikh Mkhitaryan was a UEFA Europa League winner with Manchester United final season.

Atlético pair Vitolo and Kevin Gameiro equally gained the UEFA Europa League a few seasons functioning with Sevilla (2013/fourteen, 2014/15, 2015/16).
Filipe Luís, Gabi, Diego Godín, Juanfran, Koke and Saúl were all at Atlético when the club gained the trophy beneath Simeone in 2011/12.
Wenger’s aspect have far more wins in the UEFA Europa League this season – 8 – than any other club and are also the competition’s leading scorers with 29 goals – 8 shy of FC Porto’s record haul in 2010/11. They have also had far more goal makes an attempt than any other aspect – 162 – when midfielder Mohamed Elneny has completed far more passes (710) than any other player.
Atlético are the only UEFA Europa League (or UEFA Cup) winners in the semi-finals. They are also the only aspect amid the remaining four to have previously played in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals.

• Antoine Griezmann’s goal in the initially leg of the quarter-remaining against Sporting was the 500th scored by a Spanish club in the UEFA Europa League, team stage to remaining. The next leg was the 300th outing in the opposition proper for a team from Spain. Both of those figures are records for a one nation.

• Mesut Özil played 105 times in the Spanish Liga for Real Madrid in between 2010 and 2013, scoring 19 goals. He faced Atlético 8 times (W7 L1) and scored four goals against Los Rojiblancos.

• Nacho Monreal played 127 league matches for Osasuna and 45 for Málaga through his time in Spain. He faced Atlético 11 times (W3 D2 L6), scoring an own goal in Osasuna’s 2-1 defeat in June 2007 and acquiring a red card in the Pamplona club’s 3- reduction in November 2010.

• Shkodran Mustafi made sixty-four Liga appearances for Valencia in between 2014 and 2016, scoring six times. He faced Atlético on four occasions (W1 D1 L2), scoring in a 1-1 draw in March 2015.

• Simeone faced Arsenal 2 times as a player with Lazio in the initial team stage of the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League (-2 absent, 1-1 home).

• Diego Costa made 89 Leading League appearances for Chelsea in between 2014 and 2017, scoring fifty two goals and successful the title in 2016/seventeen. He faced Arsenal five times in the league, scoring 2 times. He also found the net against the Gunners on his remaining Chelsea overall look – in the 2017 FA Cup remaining, which Arsenal gained 2-1.

• Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette are French global team-mates of Atlético’s Gameiro, Griezmann and Lucas Hernández.

• Arsenal’s Monreal and Héctor Bellerín and the Atlético quartet of Koke, Saúl, Vitolo and Diego Costa are all Spanish internationals.

The coaches
• Arsène Wenger has been the Arsenal manager because 1996, primary the Gunners to a few English titles, a record seven FA Cup wins and the 2006 UEFA Champions League remaining. A player of modest repute, he made his title as a coach with Nancy and Monaco in his indigenous France before shifting to Japan for a short spell with Nagoya Grampus 8. He is the longest serving manager in the Leading League.

• Diego Simeone has been the Atlético coach because December 2011, and has included five trophies to the club’s collection, such as the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League, as perfectly as steering the Madrid club to the UEFA Champions League finals of 2014 and 2016. The combative ex-Argentina midfielder also had two spells at Atlético as a player, successful the Spanish double in 1995/96.

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Atletico Madrids Angel Correa head and shoulders above the rest against Levante

The

Europa League semifinal
matchups as
Arsenal
get on
Atletico Madrid
and
Marseille
square off with
Red Bull Salzburg
.

Atletico Madrid ensured Champions League football will be back again at the Wanda Metropolitano next season as they swept aside Levante 3- at home on Sunday afternoon.

Soon after a dismal display in Lisbon in midweek it was back again to enterprise for Atleti, who hardly ever definitely appeared troubled by their readers and duly took a deserved direct by way of Angel Correa’s initial-50 % strike.

Antoine Griezmann was then harshly judged to have dived as he appeared to be wiped out as he rounded the goalkeeper, but then produced a minute of magic to make it 2- just immediately after the break. Substitute Fernando Torres put the icing on the cake late on as he swept home on the volley as Atleti preserve their grip on second place.

Positives

Back to winning methods with a clear sheet and a place at Europe’s top rated table for subsequent 12 months assured. Pleased times.

Negatives

Lucas Hernandez’s suspension leaves the aspect gentle at the back again next week.

Supervisor score out of 10

eight — The aspect Diego Simeone picked obtained the occupation accomplished. With the Champions League assured next season, the target should definitely change to the Europa League semis now?

Participant scores (1-10 10 = greatest. Players released immediately after 70 minutes get no score)

GK Jan Oblak, 6 — Did what was essential with the minimum of fuss, as he constantly does. A amazing 20th clear sheet this season.

DF Sime Vrsaljko, 7 — Was able to attack at will. Set in a wonderful ball for Griezmann to score and was a continuous menace all afternoon.

DF Stefan Savic, 6 — Dealt with the minimal attacking menace the readers posed with ease.

DF Diego Godin, 7 — One wonderful block at 1- that could possibly have transformed the game. Otherwise was largely untroubled.

DF Lucas Hernandez, 6 — Booked and now misses the subsequent match, which is not excellent presented the club’s injuries scenario. Then lucky to stay away from injuries as he obtained taken out himself.

MF Angel Correa, 9 — Excellent displaying. A wonderful complete to open up the scoring immediately after a awesome change remaining 3 defenders incorrect-footed. Confirmed wonderful motivation and pace to tee up Torres for the 3rd, far too.

MF Koke, 7 — Served retain the ball shifting in the center of the park but visibly weary immediately after his midweek exertions. Taken off with 50 % an hour to go.

Angel Correa grabbed a goal and an guide in an all-spherical effectiveness vs. Levante.MF Saul Niguez, 6 — Neat and tidy without having each individual definitely excelling. One of a several players who are just seeking a minimal leggy of late. Ought to most likely be rested for the Europa League with Champions League football now sealed for subsequent season.

MF Vitolo 7 — A substantially far better outing. Produced a very good direct operate to assist set up Correa for the opener in advance of going shut on a couple of instances himself. Demands to use this as a platform, relatively than a phony dawn.

FW Antoine Griezmann, 7 — Harshly deemed to have dived when he rounded the keeper on the break and was booked in the initial 50 %. Additional than made up for it when he smashed home Atletico’s second. Another who was presented the remaining 50 % hour off.

FW Kevin Gameiro, 6 — The ball just would not rather bounce for him. Worked tirelessly and obtained himself into some very good positions, but the remaining ball to him was missing.

Substitutes

FW Fernando Torres (for Griezmann), 7 — Delighted the group as he spectacularly volleyed in from shut vary to seal the 3 points.

MF Gabi (for Koke), 6 — To begin with appeared a minimal sloppy and gave the ball absent a couple of times in advance of regaining his regular composure.

MF Juanfran (for Vitolo), NR — Brought on late and presented a bit of license to roam forwards in a more highly developed position.

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We found a way to change a bit after the team meeting – Mustafi

We found a way to change a bit after the team meeting – Mustafi

Arsenal defender, Shkodran Mustafi has stated that the meeting that the players decided to hold after a series of consecutive defeats was instrumental in bringing some positivity and belief back into the squad.

The Gunners had a miserable time in February as they suffered three consecutive defeats in the League and were also badly beaten by Manchester City in the EFL Cup final. The fall-apart was unsurprising though as Wenger’s team has been known to lose momentum in February in recent campaigns.

It seems they have now found form again as they defeated Italian giant, AC Milan over two legs in the Europa League last 16 before beating Watford 3-0 in the league.

“Everyone knew it was a difficult period,” Mustafi said. “The meeting was about trying to listen to different opinions, different ideas, and different feelings, and I think we found a way to try to change a bit.

“It’s not that easy because one meeting is not going to change a lot, especially not during the season when you’re playing every three days, but it was important to speak our opinions out loud. Overall it was about giving 110% to try to get out of it, and I think we managed it well.”

The Gunners are in the quarter-finals of the Europa League and are positioned sixth on the League table, 13 points off the top-four spot.

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Inexperienced Gattuso prepared to compound Wenger’s woes

Inexperienced Gattuso prepared to compound Wenger’s woes

Milan Manager, Gennaro Gattuso who described himself as inexperienced as compared to veteran Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger believes that his side can cause more trouble for the gunners.
The former Milan midfielder had been with the side’s youth team since retiring from top-flight football. He was however called upon to lead the first-team following Vincenzo Montella’s sacking in November.
The team initially struggled for some time but has gone on to become one of the most consistent teams in Europe in recent weeks after going 13 games unbeaten.
The Serie-A heavyweight welcomes Arsenal in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 16 clash on Thursday, and the former combative midfielder is hopeful of a successful outing.
“It’s not a challenge with him because in that regard it’s not a contest,” Gattuso said in his pre-match media conference.

“He’s won so much in his career; he’s been managing the same club for 21 to 22 years. My path is still very long.
“It will be an interesting match, with more of a new philosophy like mine against him and his experience. He likes to play a style based heavily on possession.
“I’ve been through games like this as a player; everything is different now. Compared to Wenger I’m just a rookie, I’m just starting, and he’s been coaching for 30 years.”
While Milan is in an incredible form after recently securing a place in the Coppa Italiisinal, Arsenal are in turmoil after losing four games in a row in all competitions – including the EFL Cup final against Manchester City.
There is immense pressure on Wenger at the Emirates Stadium as fans are getting angrier by the day. However, Milan will rather not fall into a trap by underestimating them.
“Arsenal are not going through a positive period, but they have great players and have scored 18 goals in this Europa League,” he added.
“We have huge respect for them. We must give a top performance.
“We can’t make mistakes, and we need to keep our composure. We must not be afraid of the 70,000 fans that will be at San Siro and show our qualities, both technical and physical.
“If we do that we can cause them a lot of problems.”

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#UEL contenders’ midweek results – UEFA Europa League – News

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  • Arsenal cruise to victory against Huddersfiield
  • Rooney scores hat-trick for eliminated Everton
  • Marseille and Nice win away in Ligue 1
  • Athletic and Real Sociedad eliminated from Copa del Rey
  • Matchday six fixtures: 7 December

Who is through, who can join them: permutations

PICK YOUR TEAM OF THE YEAR 2017

Group A

Villarreal 3-1 Ponderradina (Thursday, Copa del Rey – agg: 3-1)
Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona 0-2 Maccabi Tel-Aviv (Wednesday, Toto Cup)

No game: Astana, Slavia Praha

7 December: Slavia Praha v Astana, Villarreal v M. Tel-Aviv

Group B

Highlights: Skënderbeu v Dynamo Kyiv


Highlights: Skënderbeu v Dynamo Kyiv

Desna 0-2 Dynamo Kyiv (Wednesday, Ukrainian Cup)
Vozdovac 0-1 Partizan (Wednesday)
Beselidhja 0-1 Skënderbeu (Wednesday, Albanian Cup)
Young Boys v St. Gallen (Thursday, Swiss Cup)

7 December: Young Boys v Skënderbeu, Dynamo Kyiv v Partizan

Group C

Kahramanmaraşspor 1-3 İstanbul Başakşehir (Thursday, Turkish Cup)
Vereya Stara Zagora 2-1 Ludogorets (Thursday)

No game: Braga, Hoffenheim

7 December: İstanbul Başakşehir v Braga, Hoffenheim v Ludogorets

Group D

Highlights: Milan 5-1 Austria Wien


Highlights: Milan 5-1 Austria Wien

St Pölten 1-0 Austria Wien (Wednesday)
Kallithea 2-3 AEK Athens (Greek Cup, Thursday)

No game: AC Milan, Rijeka

7 December: Rijeka v AC Milan, Austria Wien v AEK

Group E

Everton 4-0 West Ham (Wednesday)
Lyon 1-2 Lille (Wednesday)

No game: Apollon Limassol, Atalanta

7 December: Apollon v Everton, Atalanta v Lyon

Group F

No game: København, Lokomotiv Moskva, Sheriff, Zlín

7 December: København v Sheriff, Zlín v Lokomotiv Moskva

Group G

Highlights: Plzeň 2-0 FCSB


Highlights: Plzeň 2-0 FCSB

Poli Timişoara v FCSB (Thursday, Romanian Cup)
Maccabi Haifa v Hapoel Beer-Sheva (Thursday, Toto Cup)
Lugano v Grasshoppers (Thursday, Swiss Cup)

No game: Viktoria Plzeň

7 December: FCSB v Lugano, H. Beer-Sheva v Plzeň

Group H

Arsenal 5-0 Huddersfield (Wednesday)
Crvena zvezda 5-0 Radnik Surdurlica (Wednesday)

No game: BATE Borisov, Köln

7 December: Arsenal v BATE, Crvena zvezda v Köln

Group I

Highlights: Konyaspor 1-1 Marseille


Highlights: Konyaspor 1-1 Marseille

Batman Petrolspor 0-3 Konyaspor (Wednesday, Turkish Cup)
Salzburg 2-0 Mattersburg (Wednesday)
Metz 0-3 Marseille (Wednesday)

No game: Vitória SC

7 December: Vitória SC v Konyaspor, Marseille v Salzburg

Group J

Athletic Club 0-1 Formentera (Copa del Rey, Wednesday – agg: 1-2)

No game: Hertha Berlin, Östersund, Zorya Luhansk

7 December: Hertha v Östersund, Zorya v Athletic

Group K

Highlights: Nice 3-1 Zulte Waregem


Highlights: Nice 3-1 Zulte Waregem

Zulte Waregem v Club Brugge (Thursday, Belgian Cup)
Toulouse 1-2 Nice (Wednesday)

No game: Lazio, Vitesse

7 December: Vitesse v Nice, Zulte Waregem v Lazio

Group L

Real Sociedad 2-3 Lleida (Wednesday, Copa del Rey – agg: 3-3, Lleida win on away goals)
Vardar 1-1 Shkupi (Thursday, Macedonian Cup)

No game: Rosenborg, Zenit

7 December: Real Sociedad v Zenit, Vardar v Rosenborg

All times CET

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UEFA Europa League – Arsenal-BATE – Arsenal v BATE background

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Despite surrendering their unbeaten Group H record on matchday five, Arsenal were confirmed as section winners that evening.

• The Gunners were beaten 1-0 at Köln last time out and complete their European autumn programme with a home fixture against a BATE Borisov side who can only join them in the round of 32 if they win in London and the other group game, between Crvena zvezda and Köln in Belgrade, is drawn.

Previous meetings
• Arsenal’s first encounter with Belarusian opposition, in Borisov on matchday two, proved a fruitful affair as they scored three times in the first 25 minutes, including a double for Theo Walcott, en route to a 4-2 victory.

• BATE’s only other experience of English clubs was a pair of 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage matches against Everton; they lost 2-1 at home but won 1-0 in Liverpool so are protecting a 100% success rate on English soil.

Form guide
• In 19 UEFA Champions League campaigns, Arsenal only ever played at home six times on matchday six; they are unbeaten in those fixtures (W4 D2). They have also won their last three matchday six encounters – all away – in the UEFA Champions League, winning by a three-goal margin on each occasion.

• Arsenal are undefeated in their last seven UEFA group home games (W5 D2) since a 3-2 loss to Olympiacos on matchday two of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League.

• BATE have won just twice in their last 24 European away fixtures (D7 L15), both victories coming this season – 3-1 against Armenian champions Alashkert in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, and 2-1 versus Ukrainian club Olexandriya in the UEFA Europa League play-offs. Both wins came in the second leg after they had drawn the first match 1-1 at home.

• Arsenal are making their UEFA Europa League group stage debut; their last campaign in this competition was the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, which ended unhappily when they lost on penalties to Galatasaray in the final.

• BATE qualified for the group stage by ousting Olexandriya in the play-offs, having lost to Slavia Praha on away goals in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. They have qualified for the round of 32 once from their two previous UEFA Europa League group campaigns, in 2010/11.

Highlights: BATE 2-4 Arsenal


Highlights: BATE 2-4 Arsenal

Links and trivia
• The journey from Borisov to London is a little over 1,900km.

• The clubs have a notable former player in common: midfielder Aleksandr Hleb (BATE 1999–2000, 2012–13, 2015, 2016; Arsenal 2005–08), who played in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final for the Gunners.

• BATE won their 12th successive Belarusian title in dramatic fashion on 26 November, midfielder Mirko Ivanić scoring an equaliser deep into added time to earn a 3-3 draw at Gorodeya that enabled them to pip Dinamo Minsk to the championship on head-to-head record.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Stanislav Dragun, Nemanja Melunović, Nikolai Signevich (BATE)

The coaches
• Arsène Wenger has been Arsenal boss since 1996, leading the Gunners to three English titles, seven FA Cup wins and the 2006 UEFA Champions League final. An unremarkable player, he made his name as a coach with Nancy and Monaco in his native France.

• Aleksandr Yermakovich has been on the staff at BATE since joining as a midfielder in 1998. He won Belarusian titles as both player and assistant coach to Viktor Goncharenko – supplemented by five further championships since he took sole command in 2013.

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UEFA Europa League – Marseille-Salzburg – Marseille v Salzburg background

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Marseille have qualification in their hands as they bid to join Group I winners Salzburg in the next round.

The French side will be through to the knockout phase if they avoid defeat; they can still qualify if they lose, but only if the other group fixture between Vitória SC and Konyaspor is drawn.

Previous meetings
• The teams’ first meeting in UEFA competition came on matchday two, hosts Salzburg winning 1-0 thanks to a 73rd-minute strike from Israeli striker Munas Dabbur.

• Marseille’s record in five games against Austrian clubs is W2 D1 L2 (W1 D1 in France).

• Salzburg’s record in five matches with French sides is W3 L2. They were triumphant on their last visit to France – 2-0 at Nice in last season’s group stage.

Form guide
• Marseille have won all four European games at the Stade Vélodrome this term, scoring ten goals and conceding three. They have never previously achieved maximum points at home in 11 six-match UEFA group stage campaigns.

• Salzburg are bidding to go undefeated through a UEFA Europa League group stage for a record fourth time. They are unbeaten in their last 14 European matches (W9 D5), since a 1-0 home loss to Nice on matchday three last season.

• The Austrian club have kept clean sheets in each of their last four European fixtures; the record in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, is five, set by Napoli in 2014/15. Ten other teams have registered four in succession, most recently Manchester United last year.

• Fifth in France last term, Marseille last featured in the group stage in 2015/16 when they made it to the round of 32, eventually losing to Athletic Club. They were UEFA Cup runners-up in both 1998/99 and 2003/04.

• Austrian league and cup double winners for the past four seasons, and 1994 UEFA Cup runners-up, Salzburg missed the cut in last year’s group stage after succeeding in their previous three attempts.

Highlights: Salzburg 1-0 Marseille


Highlights: Salzburg 1-0 Marseille

Links and trivia
• The journey from Salzburg to Marseille is around 800km.

• Marseille defender Adil Rami won the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League with Sevilla, starting seven matches including the final against Liverpool.

• Salzburg won last season’s UEFA Youth League, beating Benfica in the final under Marco Rose – now in charge of the senior side.

• Along with FCSB, Salzburg are in a record seventh UEFA Europa League group stage. They have become the first team to win their group on four occasions – seven others have achieved the feat three times.

• Salzburg are also the only club to have recorded a maximum 18 points in the UEFA Europa League group stage on two occasions (2009/10 and 2013/14).

• This is Salzburg’s 52nd UEFA Europa League match, group stage to final; only Spanish clubs Villarreal and Athletic Club have played more.

• On-loan Salzburg defender Jérôme Onguéné started his senior career in France with Sochaux; he was playing in the reserves while Marseille goalkeeper Yoann Pelé (2014–15) was in the senior side, the pair playing three first-team games together in May 2015.

• OM have Boubacar Kamara available again after a one-game ban.

• Marseille’s Jordan Amavi is suspended after being shown a red card in the matchday five encounter at Konyaspor.

The coaches
• Marseille coach since October 2016, Rudi Garcia started out as a midfielder at Lille, returning to lead the club from 2008–13 and masterminding their domestic double triumph in 2010/11. He subsequently spent three seasons in charge of Roma.

• Previously active as youth-team boss, Marco Rose stepped up to the senior Salzburg helm after predecessor Óscar García left in June. A defender with home-town club Leipzig, Hannover and Mainz, he has been on Salzburg’s staff since 2013.

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UEFA Europa League – H. Beer-Sheva-Plzeň – Hapoel Beer-Sheva v Plzeň background

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Hapoel Beer-Sheva, the bottom-placed club in Group G, take on Viktoria Plzeň in Israel knowing that this will be their last European outing of the season.

• Plzeň are through to the next round and will overhaul FCSB and take top spot if they win and the Romanian side fail to do likewise at home to Lugano.

Previous meetings
• The teams‘ first encounter, on matchday two, brought a 3-1 home victory for Plzeň, goals from Milan Petržela, Jan Kopic and Marek Bakoš eclipsing Anthony Nwakaeme’s solitary strike for Beer-Sheva.

• Plzeň have now won four of their five previous encounters with Israeli clubs, including both games in Israel.

• Beer-Sheva’s only other meetings with a Czech side ended in defeats by Sparta Praha (1-0 home, 2-0 away) in last season’s UEFA Europa League group stage.

Form guide
• Beer-Sheva are without a victory in four European matches (D1 L3). However, they have won four of their five UEFA fixtures in Israel this season.

• Plzeň have not claimed a European away win in their last 12 attempts (D5 L7). The last time they won away in a UEFA group stage was in Israel, 2-1 against Hapoel Tel-Aviv, on 25 October 2012. Including the UEFA Champions League, they have lost nine of their 12 away group fixtures since then.

• Beaten on away goals by Maribor in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, Beer-Sheva are competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for a second straight season, having made the round of 32 on their debut appearance in 2016/17.

• Runners-up in last term’s Czech First League, Plzeň are contesting the UEFA Europa League group stage for a third straight season. With their 2-0 win at home to FCSB on matchday five, they have successfully avoided a third successive autumn elimination and can look forward to a fourth round of 32 participation in the spring.

Highlights: Plzeň 3-1 Hapoel Beer-Sheva


Highlights: Plzeň 3-1 Hapoel Beer-Sheva

Links and trivia
• The journey from Plzen to Beer Sheva is around 2,700km.

• Beer-Sheva boast Czech talent in the form of international striker Tomáš Pekhart, who played for Slavia Praha (2009), Jablonec (2010) and Sparta Praha (2011).

• Pekhart played with Plzeň’s Jan Kovařík at Slavia and Jablonec, and with Martin Zeman at Sparta.

• Chasing their fifth championship title in eight seasons, Plzeň won their opening 14 Czech First League games before Teplice ended that run by holding them to a 0-0 draw on 26 November.

• Hapoel’s Loai Taha is available after a one-game ban.

• Suspended for next game if booked: Marek Bakoš (Plzeň)

The coaches
• Appointed Beer-Sheva boss in 2015, Barak Bakhar promptly steered the club to their first title in 40 years, then successfully defended that crown in 2016/17. A defender, he spent his playing heyday at Hapoel Kiryat Shmona, whom he later coached.

• After stints as Czech Republic and Anji coach, Pavel Vrba rejoined Plzeň this year, having earlier steered the club to two championships between 2008 and 2013. Once a Baník Ostrava player and coach, he lifted the 2006/07 Slovak title as Žilina boss.

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UEFA Europa League – FCSB-Lugano – FCSB v Lugano background

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With qualification for the round of 32 sealed after matchday four, FCSB will be eyeing top spot in Group G as they entertain a Lugano side that can no longer make it beyond the group stage.

The Romanian team need a win to gurantee going through as group winners, although any result will do if fellow qualifiers Viktoria Plzeň, who trail them by a point and have an inferior head-to-head record, do not win away to Hapoel Beer-Sheva.

Previous meetings
• Lugano’s first encounter with Romanian opponents did not end as desired, with FCSB defeating them 2-1 in Switzerland on matchday two. Mattia Bottani put the hosts ahead on 14 minutes, but second-half goals from Constantin Budescu and Júnior Morais turned the match in favour of the visitors.

• FCSB’s record in 13 meetings with Swiss clubs stands at W4 D7 L2. They have yet to lose any of their six games at home (W3 D3), though the last two have both been drawn.

Form guide
• FCSB are unbeaten in five UEFA Europa League group games at home (W2 D3), though they have won only once in Romania against European opposition this season (D2 L1). Their matchday six record in the UEFA Europa League group stage is W1 D2 L3.

• FCSB have qualified with ten points. Their highest points tally in six previous UEFA Europa League group stage adventures is 11, which they achieved in 2012/13 – the only time they have gone through as section winners.

• In 11 European away matches to date, Lugano have earned just one win (D2 L8) and scored only four goals. That lone victory came at Internazionale Milano in a 1-0 second-leg success in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup first round, giving the Swiss club a famous 2-1 aggregate win.

• Beaten 5-1 on aggregate by Sporting CP in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, 2016/17 Romanian league runners-up FCSB are competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for a seventh time since the tournament assumed its current format in 2009/10 – a record they share with Salzburg. They have now reached the knockout phase three times.

• Third in Switzerland last term, Lugano – from the Italian-speaking Ticino canton – have been absent from UEFA competition since 2002/03 and have never before featured in a group stage.

Highlights: Lugano 1-2 FCSB


Highlights: Lugano 1-2 FCSB

Links and trivia
• The journey from Lugano to Bucharest is around 1,350km.

• FCSB striker Harlem Gnohéré started his career in the lower leagues in Switzerland with La Tour/Le Pâquier, Bulle and Urania Genève Sport.

• This is FCSB’s 42nd game in the UEFA Europa League group stage – a competition high that they share with Salzburg.

• FCSB’s Constantin Budescu sits out this game through suspension.

• Suspended for next game if booked: Mihai Pintilii, Dennis Man (FCSB).

The coaches
• Nicolae Dică returned to FCSB as coach in May 2017, having served the club as a player in two previous spells, landing two titles – and a further one with CFR Cluj. The attacking midfielder also played in Italy, Greece and Turkey.

• Pierluigi Tami took charge of Lugano for a second time in June 2017, the Italian-born defender having spent his entire professional career in Switzerland. Notably, he assisted Ottmar Hitzfeld during his spell as national coach.

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UEFA Europa League – Crvena zvezda-Köln – Crvena zvezda v Köln background

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There is all to play for in Belgrade as Crvena Zvezda host Köln in a winner-takes-all Group H showdown.

• The two clubs are locked on six points apiece – four behind group winners Arsenal – and victory for either team will secure their qualification as runners-up. If the match is drawn, Crvena Zvezda will finish above Köln on head-to-head rankings, and they will go through unless BATE Borisov, one point in arrears, win the other match away to Arsenal.

Previous meetings
Crvena zvezda prevailed 1-0 at Köln on matchday two thanks to a spectacular 30th-minute strike from Richmond Boakye.

• In the sides’ only other meetings, Christoph Daum’s Köln overcame a 2-0 away deficit to eliminate Dragan Šekularac’s Crvena zvezda from the 1989/90 UEFA Cup third round with a 3-0 victory in Cologne. Crvena zvezda went on to win the European Cup the following season, making Köln the last team to eliminate them from continental competition before that triumph.

• Crvena zvezda’s record in 30 games against German opposition is an evenly-balanced W13 D4 L13. At home it is W9 D4 L2.

• Köln have won two and lost three of their five matches against Serbian outfits.

Form guide
• Crvena zvezda have not conceded more than one goal in any of their last seven European home games (W4 D2 L1). They have shipped just two goals in Group H but only scored twice themselves.

• Köln have lost their last four away fixtures in the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League. They are bidding to become the first club to reach the UEFA Europa League knockout phase after losing their opening three group matches.

• Second in Serbia last term, and UEFA Cup runners-up in 1978/79, Crvena zvezda last contested the group stage in 2007/08, when they lost all four games.

• Runners-up to Real Madrid in the two-legged 1986 UEFA Cup final, Köln are back in Europe for the first time in 20 years. Their only previous group campaigns were in the UEFA Intertoto Cup; these are their first autumnal European fixtures for a quarter of a century.

Highlights: Köln 0-1 Crvena zvezda


Highlights: Köln 0-1 Crvena zvezda

Links and trivia
• The journey from Cologne to Belgrade is around 1,200km.

• Köln’s Serbian midfielder Miloš Jojić started his career with Crvena zvezda’s local rivals Partizan.

• Crvena zvezda’s Filip Stojković (1860 München 2016/17) and Vujadin Savić (Dynamo Dresden 2012–13, Arminia Bielefeld 2014) have both played club football in Germany.

• Crvena zvezda are one of three teams to have made it all the way from first qualifying round to group stage this season, along with Skënderbeu and Maccabi Tel-Aviv, and the only one of the three still in with a chance of further progress.

• Crvena zvezda striker Boakye was the joint-top scorer in UEFA Europa League qualifying this season with seven goals – level with Trakai’s Maksim Maksimov.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Guelor Kanga, Srdjan Babić (Crvena zvezda); Sehrou Guirassy (Köln).

The coaches
• Vladan Milojević returned to Crvena zvezda in June 2017, having played for the club in 1996. He spent much of his playing career in Greece with Panathinaikos and Iraklis, and headed back there as coach of Panionios in 2016/17.

• Peter Stöger has guided Köln back into Europe for the first time in 20 years. A four-time league champion – and 65-times capped international – as a player in his native Austria, he moved to Köln after steering Austria Wien to the 2012/13 title.

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UEFA Europa League – Real Sociedad-Zenit – Real Sociedad v Zenit background

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With qualification for the round of 32 already under lock and key, Real Sociedad and Zenit go head to head in San Sebastian with their eyes on the prize of first place in Group L.

The Russian visitors need to avoid defeat to remain in top spot, while their Spanish hosts require a win to displace them.

Previous meetings
• The sides met for the first time on matchday two, Aleksandr Kokorin scoring twice in the Saint Petersburg Stadium to add to an early Emiliano Rigoni strike and give Zenit a 3-1 victory; Diego Llorente got Real Sociedad’s consolation goal.

• Real Sociedad’s record in five encounters with Russian teams now stands at W3 L2, with victories in both home games. They were eliminated from the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League play-offs – their most recent European campaign prior to this one – by Krasnodar, a 1-0 home win preceding a 3-0 defeat in Russia.

• Zenit’s results in 19 matches against Spanish sides are broken down as follows: W5 D6 L8. Their only victory in Spain came in their most recent fixture, 3-2 at Valencia in the opening group game of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League. They had lost on all seven of their earlier visits.

Form guide
• Real Sociedad have won their last four European fixtures in San Sebastian without conceding, scoring 13 times themselves. In the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League they are on a run of 12 successive home wins, in which they have let in just one goal – to another Spanish club, Atlético Madrid.

• The last team to deny La Real victory in front of their own fans in this competition were Sporting CP in the second round of the 1988/89 UEFA Cup (0-0). The last non-Spanish side to score against them in San Sebastian in this competition were Dukla Praha in the same season a round earlier (a 2-1 home win).

• Zenit are undefeated in six UEFA outings (W5 D1) and are guaranteed springtime European football for the eighth year in a row.

• Although Real Sociedad played in the UEFA Champions League group stage in 2003/04 and 2013/14, the San Sebastian outfit are making their debut at this juncture of the UEFA Europa League.

UEFA Cup winners in 2008, Zenit finished third in Russia last term. They have competed in either the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Europa League group stage in every season since – and including – 2010/11.

Highlights: Zenit 3 - 1 Real Sociedad


Highlights: Zenit 3 – 1 Real Sociedad

Links and trivia
• The journey from St Petersburg to San Sebastian is around 2,850km.

• Zenit’s Matías Kranevitter played in Spain with Atlético Madrid (2015/16) and Sevilla (2016/17), for whom he played in a 4-0 win at Real in January 2017.

• Real have the best disciplinary record in the competition, having incurred just one yellow card in the first five matchdays.

• La Real are the highest-scoring team in the competition after five games with 15 goals – one more than Zenit. They also lead the way with most goal attempts (79) and most possession (67%) and share top billing with Nice for highest pass completion rate (91%).

• Zenit’s Rigoni is the competition’s joint-leading scorer (alongside Milan’s André Silva) with six goals; Kokorin is next in line with five.

• Real’s Sergio Canales currently tops the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League assists chart with five – one more than team-mate Xabi Prieto.

The coaches
• Real Sociedad boss since 2015, Eusebio Sacristán can complete a full set of major UEFA trophies this season, having won the European Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup as a midfielder with Barcelona. He was also Barcelona’s assistant coach and B team boss.

• Roberto Mancini took charge of Zenit in June 2017. A UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup winner as a player with Sampdoria in 1989/90 and Lazio in 1998/99, he coached Internazionale Milano and Manchester City to league championships, and more recently claimed a Turkish Cup triumph with Galatasaray.

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UEFA Europa League – Vitória SC-Konyaspor – Vitória SC v Konyaspor background

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Vitória SC entertain Konyaspor in Guimaraes with both clubs knowing that they stand only an outside chance of qualifying from Group I.

• The two teams face the same scenario: to reach the round of 32 they must win and hope that Marseille simultaneously lose their final fixture at home to group winners Salzburg. A draw ensures mutual elimination.

Previous meetings
• The sides came face to face for the first time in Turkey on matchday two, Konyaspor claiming their very first European victory with a 2-1 success courtesy of goals from Musa Araz and Deni Milošević; Paolo Hurtado struck a consolation for the visitors.

• Vitória SC have now lost all four of their games against Turkish opposition, their one away fixture ending in a 3-0 defeat by Fenerbahçe in the first round of the 1990/91 UEFA Cup.

• In their only other matches against Portuguese opponents, Konyaspor took on Braga in last season’s group stage, drawing 1-1 at home and losing 3-1 in Portugal.

Form guide
• Vitória SC have won just one of their last 12 European games (D3 L8), 1-0 at home to Marseille on matchday four. Prior to their 3-0 loss at Salzburg on matchday five, they had scored one goal in each of their four Group I matches.

• Konyaspor have failed to win any of their five away fixtures in UEFA competition (D1 L4), scoring just one goal on their travels and conceding ten.

• Fourth in the Liga and runners-up in the Portuguese Cup last season, Vitória SC are participating in their third UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stage. They failed to make it through in both 2005/06 and 2013/14.

• Winners of the 2016/17 Turkish Cup, Konyaspor made their European competition bow in last year’s UEFA Europa League group stage. They collected just one point from their six matches.

Highlights: Konyaspor 2-1 Vitória SC


Highlights: Konyaspor 2-1 Vitória SC

Links and trivia
• The journey from Konya to Guimaraes is around 3,500km.

• Vitória SC’s Uruguayan forward David Texeira played club football in Turkey with Sivasspor (2016).

• This is Vitória SC’s 64th UEFA game – and Konyaspor’s 12th.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Jubal (Vitória SC); Ali Turan, Jens Jønsson, Wilfried Moke (Konyaspor).

The coaches
• Vitória SC coach since summer 2016, Pedro Martins previously managed Marítimo (2012/13) and Rio Ave (2014/15) in this competition’s group stage. A former Guimarães midfielder, he was capped once during his time at Sporting CP (1995–98).

• Konyaspor boss Mustafa Reşit Akçay is back in the group stage for a third time, having coached Trabzonspor and Osmanlıspor in past editions. A youth specialist, he notably went unbeaten in his first 19 games in UEFA competition (W15 D4).

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UEFA Europa League – Hertha-Östersund – Hertha v Östersund background

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Hertha take on Östersund in the Berliner Olympiastadion with the two clubs’ fates in Group J already sealed.

• The German team, with just four points from five matches, can progress no further in the competition, whereas the Swedish side’s debut European campaign is certain to continue into the spring. They can even top the group if they either win in Berlin or Athletic Club fail to take three points from their matchday six trip to Zorya.

Previous meetings
• Östersund’s first meeting with German opponents brought a 1-0 home win over Hertha on matchday two, a 22nd-minute penalty from Iraqi midfielder Brwa Nouri deciding the outcome at the Jämtkraft Arena.

• Hertha had won all three previous UEFA encounters with Swedish sides, including one at home – a 3-1 victory over Elfsborg in the 1971/72 UEFA Cup.

Form guide
• Hertha have not conceded in any of their last three European home games and have lost only one of their last eight (W4 D3).

• Östersund have a perfectly balanced away record in Europe (W2 D1 L2), scoring six goals and shipping the same number.

• Östersund are the first Swedish club to qualify for the knockout phase of the UEFA Europa League. Four others – AIK, Elfsborg, Helsingborg and Malmö – have competed in the group stage but made no further progress. Indeed, Östersund have already registered as many group stage victories (three) as those four clubs put together.

• Sixth in Germany last season, Hertha made it through the UEFA Europa League group stage on their most recent appearance, in 2009/10, but they were eliminated by Brøndby in last year’s third qualifying round.

• First-time Swedish Cup winners in 2016/17, Östersund are enjoying an exceptional debut UEFA campaign, having eliminated Galatasaray, Fola Esch and PAOK during the qualifying phase and reached the round of 32 with a game to spare.

Highlights: Östersund 1-0 Hertha


Highlights: Östersund 1-0 Hertha

Links and trivia
• The journey from Ostersund to Berlin is around 1,200km.

• Hertha’s Salomon Kalou was a 2011/12 UEFA Champions League winner with Chelsea.

• This is Hertha’s 96th UEFA game – and Östersund’s 12th.

• Östersund concluded their 2017 Swedish Allsvenskan campaign on 5 November. They finished fifth, 14 points behind champions Malmö; it is the highest final placing in the club’s history.

• Östersund goalkeeper Aly Keita turns 31 the day after this game.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Fouad Bachirou, Ronald Mukiibi (Östersund).

The coaches
• Englishman Graham Potter has helped steer Östersund from the Swedish fourth tier to the UEFA Europa League since taking the reins in 2011. He played in England’s lower leagues with teams including Birmingham, Stoke and West Brom.

• Pál Dárdai joined Hertha as a player in 1997 and made a club-record 366 league appearances for Die Alte Dame. He coached Hertha’s youth team – and his native Hungary’s senior side – for a time before taking the main job at the Berlin club in 2015.

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UEFA Europa League – Zulte Waregem-Lazio – Zulte Waregem v Lazio background

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Zulte Waregem can no longer progress from Group K and will conclude their campaign at home to a Lazio side closing in on a competition record.

The Serie A club have already secured top spot in the section and will seek to extend an unbeaten run in UEFA Europa League group stage football that has lasted over six years.

Previous meetings
• Zulte Waregem’s first encounter with Italian opponents ended in defeat as they went down 2-0 to Lazio in Rome on matchday two, Felipe Caicedo and Ciro Immobile getting the goals.

• A pair of 2000/01 UEFA Champions League second group stage meetings with Anderlecht represents Lazio’s only other experience of Belgian opposition: they lost 1-0 in Brussels but won 2-1 at home.

Form guide
• Zulte Waregem have won just one of their last 11 European home fixtures (D3 L7). They have also conceded five goals in two of the last three, the 5-1 home loss to Nice on matchday one being their heaviest home defeat in UEFA competition.

• Lazio are unbeaten in 27 UEFA Europa League group games (W17 D10) – since a 2-1 reverse at Sporting CP on matchday two in 2011/12 – and have now qualified for the knockout phase in each of their last five participations.

• The Rome club have gone 11 successive away fixtures without defeat in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final. Should they make it 12 against Zulte Waregem, they will set a new competition record, overtaking fellow Italian side Fiorentina.

• Zulte Waregem claimed their second Belgian Cup in 2016/17. They made it through the UEFA Cup group stage in 2006/07, but could not emulate that success in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League.

• UEFA Cup runners-up in 1998 and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup winners the following year, Lazio are back in the UEFA Europa League after a one-season absence, having progressed to the last 16 in 2015/16.

Highlights: Lazio 2-0 Zulte Waregem


Highlights: Lazio 2-0 Zulte Waregem

Links and trivia
• The journey from Rome to Waregem is around 1,200km.

• Lazio trio Jordan Lukaku (Anderlecht 2011–13, Oostende 2013–16), Sergej Milinković-Savić (Genk 2014/15) and Adam Marušić (Kortrijk 2014–16, Oostende 2016/17) all have Belgian league experience. Like his older brother Romelu (Manchester United), Lukaku is a Belgian international.

• Milinković-Savić and Zulte Waregem’s Sandy Walsh were team-mates at Genk (2014/15).

• Zulte Waregem have an Italian goalkeeper, Nicola Leali, who played for Brescia (2010–12) and Juventus (2012–16, including loan spells with Lanciano, Spezia, Cesena and Frosinone).

• The Belgian club’s Cypriot winger Grigoris Kastanos is also on loan from Juventus, having played for Pescara in Serie B in 2016/17.

• Zulte Waregem have Kingsley Madu available again.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Luis Felipe (Lazio).

The coaches
• Francky Dury’s second coming as Zulte Waregem coach began in 2012, and he led them to a second Belgian Cup success last season. Zultse and – post-merger – Zulte Waregem boss from 1994 to 2010, he had spells with Gent and Belgium’s Under-21 side prior to his return.

• Lazio boss since 2016, Simone Inzaghi represented the club as a forward between 1999 and 2010, and stayed on to coach the youth teams. He is the younger brother of fellow ex-Italian international Filippo Inzaghi, the pair having initially played together at home-town outfit Piacenza.

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UEFA Europa League – Vitesse-Nice – Vitesse v Nice background

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All of the qualification issues are resolved in Group K, but having failed to win any of their opening five matches, eliminated Vitesse will be eager to sign off their campaign with a long-awaited European victory.

Nice are through to the round of 32 as group runners-up, behind Lazio, and will be playing European football in the spring for the first time since 1960.

Previous meetings
• Nice came out on top on matchday two when the sides met for the first time in UEFA competition, winning 3-0 with two goals from Alassane Pléa and one from Allan Saint-Maximin.

• Vitesse have yet to win in five UEFA encounters with French clubs: D1 L4 (D1 L1 in Arnhem).

• Nice drew their only previous games against Dutch opposition, 1-1 (home) and 2-2 (away) against Ajax in this season’s UEFA Champions League third qualifying round – enough to earn them an away-goals success.

Form guide
• Vitesse have lost their last five home matches in Europe, scoring three goals and conceding 11. They are winless in 11 UEFA fixtures, home and away, since a 3-1 victory at home to Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the second qualifying round of the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League.

• Nice posted their biggest European away win on matchday one – 5-1 at Zulte Waregem – but that is their only victory in their past five games outside France (D1 L3). The five goals they scored in Belgium matched the total they had registered in the whole of last season’s group stage.

• Vitesse are featuring in the group stage of a UEFA competition for the first time – the reward for having won the 2016/17 Dutch Cup, their maiden major trophy.

• Beaten by Napoli in this season’s UEFA Champions League play-offs, Nice made their UEFA Europa League group stage debut in 2016/17 but failed to reach the round of 32.

• Nice have already played nine UEFA matches this season, making it their longest ever European campaign.

Highlights: Nice 3-0 Vitesse


Highlights: Nice 3-0 Vitesse

Links and trivia
• The journey from Nice to Arnhem is around 900km.

• Nice’s ex-Ajax schemer and Dutch international Wesley Sneijder last faced Vitesse with the Amsterdam club in an Eredivisie game in December 2006, his side losing 4-2. Ajax had won all seven of the previous matches he was involved in against Vitesse, with Sneijder scoring twice in the process.

• Nice defender Dante has completed more passes than any other player in the competition after five matchdays – 464. His team-mate Maxime Le Marchand is second on the list with 404.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Mario Balotelli (Nice).

The coaches
• Vitesse coach since 2016, leading them to their historic Dutch Cup triumph last season, Surinam-born Henk Fraser was capped seven times by the Netherlands as a defender, spending the bulk of his playing career at Feyenoord, where he was later a youth coach. He took his first senior job at Den Haag from 2014 to 2016.

• Former Switzerland midfielder Lucien Favre has been in charge at Nice since May 2016. He made his name as a coach by capturing back-to-back Swiss titles with Zürich, and subsequently enhanced his reputation with spells in Germany at Hertha Berlin and Borussia Mönchengladbach.

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UEFA Europa League – Zorya-Athletic – Zorya v Athletic background

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Zorya and Athletic Club come face to face in Lviv with qualification from Group J on the line.

The Ukrainian side will be through to the knockout phase for the first time if they win, whereas a draw will suffice for their Spanish visitors, who are seeking a sixth participation in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

• Athletic will top the group if they win and current leaders Östersund simultaneously drop points against Hertha in Berlin.

Previous meetings
• Zorya’s first encounter with Spanish opponents was a memorable one as they shocked Athletic in Bilbao on matchday two, winning 1-0 with a 26th-minute goal from midfielder Ihor Kharatin. It was Athletic’s sole defeat in their last nine European home fixtures, the other eight having all ended in victory.

• Athletic’s only other matches against Ukrainian opposition were a pair of meetings with Shakhtar Donetsk in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League group stage: a 0-0 home draw and a 1-0 win in Lviv, where this fixture is taking place.

Form guide
• Zorya have won just three of their ten European fixtures on Ukrainian soil. They have kept only one clean sheet in their last 13 UEFA matches – that 1-0 victory away to Athletic.

• Athletic have not won away from home in six UEFA Europa League games, group stage to final (D3 L3). They have never won a matchday six fixture in the UEFA Europa League, losing the first two and drawing the last three.

• Third in Ukraine in 2016/17, Zorya are featuring in their second successive group stage; they were unable to make the round of 32 last term, failing to win any of their six matches (D2 L4) and scoring just two goals.

• Seventh in Spain last term, Athletic have successfully negotiated five of their six UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stages, including each of the last two. They were losing finalists in the 1976/77 UEFA Cup and 2011/12 UEFA Europa League.

Highlights: Athletic 0-1 Zorya


Highlights: Athletic 0-1 Zorya

Links and trivia
• The journey from Bilbao to Lviv, where Zorya have chosen to play their European fixtures this season, is around 2,200km.

• Athletic’s Raúl García was a 2009/10 UEFA Europa League winner with Atlético Madrid.

• Athletic’s Aritz Aduriz was top scorer in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League with ten goals, and became the second-highest scorer in the competition proper – after Radamel Falcao – when he lifted his all-time tally to 22 with two penalties in the 3-2 matchday five win at home to Hertha.

• This is Athletic’s 168th UEFA game – and Zorya’s 26th.

• Athletic’s Unai Nuñez is available after a one-match ban.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Oleksandr Andrievsky, Oleksandr Karavaev (Zorya).

The coaches
• Yuriy Vernydub has been in charge at Zorya since stepping up from his role as assistant coach in November 2011, leading them to fourth and third-placed finishes in the last two seasons. He was a Russian Cup winner as a Zenit defender in 1999.

• Better known as ‘Cuco’, José Ángel Ziganda was a forward for Osasuna and Athletic Club, and later guided the Pamplona side to the 2006/07 UEFA Cup semi-finals as coach. He was handed the Athletic job in May 2017 after a six-year spell as B team boss.

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UEFA Europa League – Vardar-Rosenborg – Vardar v Rosenborg background

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The 12-match European campaigns of both Vardar and Rosenborg come to an end on matchday six as the two clubs sign off from duty in Skopje.

• The Macedonian team have no points from their five games so far and are sure to finish bottom of Group L while their Norwegian visitors can finish no higher or lower than third.

Previous meetings
• In the first UEFA men’s club competition game between Norwegian and Macedonian sides, Rosenborg overcame Vardar 3-1 in Trondheim on matchday two. Nicklas Bendtner opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Morten Konradsen and Vegar Hedenstad stretched the home advantage; Juan Felipe’s added-time strike – Vardar’s first goal in a UEFA group match – provided late consolation.

Form guide
• With defeats in each of their first five group fixtures, Vardar are in danger of becoming only the fifth club to complete a UEFA Europa League group stage without registering a point. Their first two home matches in the section both ended in heavy defeats – 0-5 against Zenit and 0-6 against Real Sociedad.

• Rosenborg have lost their last four away group games and have no wins in the last seven (D1 L6).

• Domestic champions for a third season running in 2016/17, Vardar are the first club from FYR Macedonia to appear in the group stage of a major UEFA competition.

• Rosenborg, who reached this stage after winning both legs against last season’s runners-up Ajax in the play-offs, have now appeared in five UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns but are yet to make further progress – although they have figured in the round of 32 on three occasions via their UEFA Champions League group.

Highlights: Rosenborg 3-1 Vardar


Highlights: Rosenborg 3-1 Vardar

Links and trivia
• The journey from Trondheim to Skopje is around 2,500km.

• Vardar have conceded 19 goals in the first five matchdays – three more than any other team this season, and just one short of the record for most goals against in a completed UEFA Europa League group, set by Slovan Bratislava in 2014/15.

• This is Rosenborg’s 244th UEFA competition game – and Vardar’s 70th.

• Rosenborg, celebrating the 100th anniversary of their foundation this year, clinched their third successive Norwegian league title with three matches to spare on 4 November.

• Rosenborg goalkeeper André Hansen has made the most saves in the group stage – 26, one more than Athletic Club’s Iago Herrerín and BATE’s Denis Scherbitski.

The coaches
• Cedomir Janevski returned to coach Vardar in August 2017, having previously served the Skopje team as a defender from 1982-89. He spent many of the intervening years in Belgium, where he played for and coached Club Brugge among others.

• Trondheim-born Kåre Ingebrigtsen has steered Rosenborg to three successive Norwegian titles since taking over in 2014. He played for the club in three spells as a midfielder, and was on the books at Manchester City from 1992-94.

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Arsenal hit five, OM and Nice prosper away – UEFA Europa League – News

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Who is through, who can join them: permutations

PICK YOUR TEAM OF THE YEAR 2017

Group A

Villarreal v Ponderradina (Thursday, Copa del Rey)
Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona 0-2 Maccabi Tel-Aviv (Wednesday, Toto Cup)

No game: Astana, Slavia Praha

7 December: Slavia Praha v Astana, Villarreal v M. Tel-Aviv

Group B

Highlights: Skënderbeu v Dynamo Kyiv


Highlights: Skënderbeu v Dynamo Kyiv

Desna 0-2 Dynamo Kyiv (Wednesday, Ukrainian Cup)
Vozdovac 0-1 Partizan (Wednesday)
Beselidhja 0-1 Skënderbeu (Wednesday, Albanian Cup)
Young Boys v St. Gallen (Thursday, Swiss Cup)

7 December: Young Boys v Skënderbeu, Dynamo Kyiv v Partizan

Group C

Kahramanmaraşspor v İstanbul Başakşehir (Thursday, Turkish Cup)
Vereya Stara Zagora v Ludogorets (Thursday)

No game: Braga, Hoffenheim

7 December: İstanbul Başakşehir v Braga, Hoffenheim v Ludogorets

Group D

Highlights: Milan 5-1 Austria Wien


Highlights: Milan 5-1 Austria Wien

St Pölten 1-0 Austria Wien (Wednesday)
Kallithea v AEK Athens (Greek Cup, Thursday)

No game: AC Milan, Rijeka

7 December: Rijeka v AC Milan, Austria Wien v AEK

Group E

Everton 4-0 West Ham (Wednesday)
Lyon 1-2 Lille (Wednesday)

No game: Apollon Limassol, Atalanta

7 December: Apollon v Everton, Atalanta v Lyon

Group F

No game: København, Lokomotiv Moskva, Sheriff, Zlín

7 December: København v Sheriff, Zlín v Lokomotiv Moskva

Group G

Highlights: Plzeň 2-0 FCSB


Highlights: Plzeň 2-0 FCSB

Poli Timişoara v FCSB (Thursday, Romanian Cup)
Maccabi Haifa v Hapoel Beer-Sheva (Thursday, Toto Cup)
Lugano v Grasshoppers (Thursday, Swiss Cup)

No game: Viktoria Plzeň

7 December: FCSB v Lugano, H. Beer-Sheva v Plzeň

Group H

Arsenal 5-0 Huddersfield (Wednesday)
Crvena zvezda 5-0 Radnik Surdurlica (Wednesday)

No game: BATE Borisov, Köln

7 December: Arsenal v BATE, Crvena zvezda v Köln

Group I

Highlights: Konyaspor 1-1 Marseille


Highlights: Konyaspor 1-1 Marseille

Batman Petrolspor 0-3 Konyaspor (Wednesday, Turkish Cup)
Salzburg 2-0 Mattersburg (Wednesday)
Metz 0-3 Marseille (Wednesday)

No game: Vitória SC

7 December: Vitória SC v Konyaspor, Marseille v Salzburg

Group J

Athletic Club 0-1 Formentera (Copa del Rey, Wednesday – agg: 1-2)

No game: Hertha Berlin, Östersund, Zorya Luhansk

7 December: Hertha v Östersund, Zorya v Athletic

Group K

Highlights: Nice 3-1 Zulte Waregem


Highlights: Nice 3-1 Zulte Waregem

Zulte Waregem v Club Brugge (Thursday, Belgian Cup)
Toulouse 1-2 Nice (Wednesday)

No game: Lazio, Vitesse

7 December: Vitesse v Nice, Zulte Waregem v Lazio

Group L

Real Sociedad 2-3 Lleida (Wednesday, Copa del Rey – agg: 3-3, Lleida win on away goals)
Vardar v Shkupi (Thursday, Macedonian Cup)

No game: Rosenborg, Zenit

7 December: Real Sociedad v Zenit, Vardar v Rosenborg

All times CET

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UEFA Europa League – Rijeka-Milan – Rijeka v Milan background

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The die is already cast for Rijeka and AC Milan as they complete their Group D programme.

• The Croatian side, with just four points to their name, can no longer qualify for the knockout phase whereas their Italian visitors, now under new coach Gennaro Gattuso, have already secured their progress as group winners.

Previous meetings
• Matchday two brought the two teams together for the first time in UEFA competition and it proved to be a dramatic affair. Milan seized a 3-2 victory with an added-time winner from Patrick Cutrone after Rijeka had seemingly earned an unlikely point with two late goals, the second a 90th-minute Josip Elez penalty.

• Rijeka failed to score in their only previous encounter with Serie A opponents – a 2-0 aggregate loss to Juventus in the 1979/80 European Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-finals.

• Milan have won all five of their matches against opposition from Croatia and are yet to concede on Croatian soil.

Form guide
• Rijeka have lost their last three European home fixtures and have only one win in their last seven (D2 L4).

• Milan are undefeated in nine European matches this season, winning seven of them – all of those games under previous coach Vincenzo Montella.

• The Rossoneri have qualified from each of their last 13 groups in UEFA competition and have now extended their involvement into the spring in every one of their 15 European campaigns this century.

• Croatian title winners for the first time last term, Rijeka are in their third UEFA Europa League group stage campaign but have never reached the knockout phase.

• Sixth in Italy last season, Milan are back in Europe after a four-year absence and are making their first appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage. They got to the round of 32 in the last-ever UEFA Cup campaign of 2008/09.

Highlights: Milan 3-2 Rijeka


Highlights: Milan 3-2 Rijeka

Links and trivia
• The journey from Milan to Rijeka is around 400km.

• André Silva scored the first hat-trick of the 2017/18 group stage on matchday one and is the competition’s joint-top scorer, alongside Zenit’s Emiliano Rigoni, with six goals.

• This is the only major UEFA competition the Rossoneri have not won. Ajax, Bayern München, Chelsea, Juventus and – as of last May – Manchester United are the only five clubs to have won the European Cup/UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.

• Milan’s Nikola Kalinić was a losing UEFA Europa League finalist with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in 2015, his side going down 3-2 to Sevilla in Warsaw.

• Croatian striker Kalinić was taking his first senior steps at Hajduk Split (2005–09) while Rijeka’s Mate Maleš and Filip Bradarić were playing for the club’s youth team.

• Former team-mates:
Rijeka’s Maxwell Acosty and Milan’s Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina 2009–12);
Rijeka’s Josip Elez and Milan’s Lucas Biglia (Lazio 2013-16) – though Elez never played a senior game for the club.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Manuel Locatelli, Mateo Musacchio (Milan).

The coaches
• Rijeka’s longest-serving coach, Slovenian Matjaž Kek was appointed in 2013 and steered the team to their first league championship and fourth Croatian Cup in 2016/17. A defender and coach at Maribor, where his father and son also played, he was Slovenia boss from 2007 to 2011.

Gennaro Gattuso replaced Vincenzo Montella as Milan coach on 27 November, earning promotion from his position in charge of the club’s youth team. A legendary Rossoneri midfielder of grit and endeavour, he won the UEFA Champions League twice with the club and also lifted the FIFA World Cup with Italy in 2006.

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UEFA Europa League – Atalanta-Lyon – Atalanta v Lyon background

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Atalanta and Lyon both sealed qualification from UEFA Europa League Group E with big victories on matchday five. The outcome of their meeting in Reggio Emilia will decide the top two positions in the section.

The winner of this match will clinch the group, but if it ends in a draw then the scoreline will be decisive – with 0-0 or 1-1 favouring Atalanta but 2-2 or any higher-scoring draw giving Lyon the edge.

Previous meetings
• The matchday two encounter in France, which was the first time the teams had met as well as Atalanta’s maiden encounter with French opposition, finished 1-1. Bertrand Traoré put Lyon ahead on the stroke of half-time before Atalanta equalised through captain Alejandro Gómez on 57 minutes.

• Lyon’s record in 23 games against Italian sides is now W8 D6 L9 (W4 D2 L5 in Italy). They have not won on any of their last four visits across the border (D1 L3).

Form guide
• Atalanta achieved their biggest away win in Europe on matchday five when they overcame Everton 5-1 at Goodison Park; they are now five matches unbeaten in Europe this season (W3 D2).

• Atalanta are seven home games unbeaten in Europe, their last such defeat coming in the 1987/88 European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final against Mechelen (1-2).

• Lyon have scored in each of their last eight European away matches, and their last 13 home and away. However, they have won just one of their last five fixtures outside France (D1 L3).

• Fourth in Serie A last term, Atalanta are back in Europe for the first time since 1990/91, when they were eliminated by Internazionale Milano in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals.

• Lyon were UEFA Europa League semi-finalists last season, when they lost to Ajax having transferred from the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Highlights: Lyon 1-1 Atalanta


Highlights: Lyon 1-1 Atalanta

Links and trivia
• The journey from Lyon to Reggio Emilia, where Atalanta are playing their European home fixtures, is around 470km.

• Atalanta’s Robin Gosens and Lyon’s Traoré were both on the books at Dutch club Vitesse in 2014/15, but never played a senior game together.

• Lyon defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa played in Italy with Roma in 2014/15, featuring in a 1-1 Serie A draw at home to Atalanta.

• This season’s UEFA Europa League final, on 16 May 2018, will be staged in Lyon’s home stadium.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Andrea Masiello, Josip Iličić (Atalanta); Marçal (Lyon)

The coaches
• A one-time Juventus youth player, Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini mostly played in Italy’s lower divisions but worked his way up to the top tier as a coach, leading Inter, Genoa and Palermo before taking the job in Bergamo in 2016.

• Born in Lyon, Bruno Génésio came through the club’s ranks as a midfielder, playing for the senior side from 1985–95. He returned to the club as assistant coach in 2011 before taking sole command in December 2015.

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UEFA Europa League – København-Sheriff – København v Sheriff background

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A night of tension and uncertainty beckons in the Danish capital as København seek the win against Group F leaders Sheriff that could take them through to the round of 32.

The Moldovan champions will secure springtime European football for the first time with a win or draw in Copenhagen, or if Lokomotiv Moskva, who are one point behind, lose the other game at Zlín. Sheriff cannot qualify if they lose and Lokomotiv win, and FCK cannot qualify if they do not win.

• However, if the Danish side win and the match in Czech Republic is drawn, the qualifying situation becomes more complex as Sheriff, Lokomotiv and FCK will all be on nine points. In that instance, København would be through, unless they win 1-0, 2-1 or 3-2, on goals scored in a three-way head-to-head (or two-way head-to-head with Lokomotiv if it’s 3-2); Sheriff could afford to lose by a one-goal margin and still qualify.

Previous meetings
• When the teams met for the first time on matchday two, it was the first UEFA men’s senior fixture between Danish and Moldovan clubs. The game in Tiraspol ended goalless.

• Nine matches have been played between Danish and Moldovan sides in other UEFA competitions – youth, women’s and futsal, both club and national – and have produced seven Danish wins, one Moldovan success and a draw.

Form guide
• København have suffered only one defeat in their last 13 European home games (W9 D3). They have not conceded in their last five UEFA group fixtures at Parken.

• Sheriff are undefeated in their seven UEFA Europa League matches this season, conceding just three goals and never more than one in any game.

• Defeated on away goals by Qarabağ in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, København have failed to progress in each of their last three UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns. They did, however, reach the round of 16 in last season’s competition, having crossed over during the winter from the UEFA Champions League.

• Sheriff featured in the 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2013/14 UEFA Europa League group stages, but they are yet to appear in the spring phase of a UEFA competition.

Highlights: Sheriff 0-0 København


Highlights: Sheriff 0-0 København

Links and trivia
• The journey from Tiraspol to Copenhagen is around 1,500km.

• København’s Swedish international goalkeeper Robin Olsen and Sheriff midfielder Jairo, who scored his club’s winning goal against Zlín on matchday five, were team-mates in Greece at PAOK (2015/16), and played together in the UEFA Europa League group stage.

• Sheriff defender Petru Racu briefly played in Denmark with Hjørring in 2012.

• Sheriff clinched their 16th domestic championship crown in 18 years last month, the latest Moldovan Divizia Nationala having been a short, transitional venture as the league switches to a spring-to-autumn schedule in 2018.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Zeca (København); Ante Kulušić, Yuri Kendysh (Sheriff).

The coaches
• Ståle Solbakken’s second coaching tenure at København began in 2013. He has won seven Danish titles with FCK, five of those having come in his first spell from 2006–11. The former Norway midfielder has also been in charge of Köln and Wolverhampton.

• In charge of Sheriff since October 2016, Roberto Bordin is best known in his native Italy for his lengthy career as a midfielder, which took in spells at Atalanta, Napoli and Piacenza. He was 40 when he finally hung up his boots at Spezia in 2005.

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UEFA Europa League – Zlín-Lokomotiv Moskva – Zlín v Lokomotiv Moskva background

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Zlín can no longer qualify for the round of 32 but they will be seeking to depart the competition with their first win in Group F as they entertain Lokomotiv Moskva in Olomouc.

Lokomotiv will qualify with a victory, but any other outcome will leave them dependent on the result of the other group game between København and Sheriff. Lokomotiv will be through if FCK do not win; they will also proceed if they draw and the other match finishes in anything other than a one-goal victory for København in which the Danes score at least four.

Previous meetings
• Lokomotiv and Zlín had never played against opponents from the other’s country when they met in Moscow on matchday two. The Russian side made home advantage count, winning 3-0 with three goals in the opening 17 minutes from Manuel Fernandes. It was the fifth-fastest hat-trick scored in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final.

• The 29 games between Russian and Czech clubs in UEFA competition history have produced 13 wins to seven in Russia’s favour.

Form guide
• Zlín have failed to win any of their matches in this season’s competition (D2 L3) and have scored just one goal.

• Lokomotiv have been defeated just once in their last eight away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League group stage (W4 D3), scoring 16 goals during that run.

• Zlín won the Czech Cup for the first time last season; the Ševci (Cobblers) have not played European football since the 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup and are making their group stage debut.

• Lokomotiv are contesting the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stage for a fifth time and have failed just once to reach the round of 32, finishing bottom of their group in 2007/08.

Highlights: Lokomotiv Moskva 3-0 Zlín


Highlights: Lokomotiv Moskva 3-0 Zlín

Links and trivia
• The journey from Moscow to Olomouc, where Zlín are playing their European home games, is around 1,500km.

• Zlín’s Senegalese striker Dame Diop was on the books of Russian side Khimki in 2012/13 but never made a senior appearance.

• On-loan Lokomotiv forward Éder scored the extra-time winner for Portugal in the UEFA EURO 2016 final against France.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Vladislav Ignatyev, Taras Mikhalik (Lokomotiv).

The coaches
• Yuri Semin took charge of Lokomotiv for a fourth time in August 2016, having lifted the club’s only two Russian titles during his second stint from 1992–2005. He also played for the club, from 1975 to 1977, and coached Dynamo Kyiv to the 2008/09 Ukrainian championship.

• Bohumil Páník started his coaching career with Zlín in 2000, and returned to the club in 2014, his adventures in between having included spells with Lech Poznań and Pogoń Szczecin in Poland. He guided Zlín unexpectedly to Czech Cup glory in 2016/17.

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UEFA Europa League – Austria Wien-AEK – Austria Wien v AEK Athens background

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Austria Wien will book a place in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase for the first time if they end a sorry sequence of home results in Europe and beat AEK Athens; the Greek side will hold on to second place in Group D and progress in their hosts’ stead should they avoid defeat in Vienna.

Although a win would put Austria Wien level on points with AEK, they would displace the Athens club from the runners-up berth on the head-to-head rule and would also finish top of a potential three-way head-to-head including group rivals Rijeka.

Previous meetings
The teams drew 2-2 when they met for the first time on matchday two in Athens. AEK striker Marko Livaja’s second goal of the game, in the 90th minute, denied Austria Wien victory after the visitors had come from behind to lead through Christoph Monschein and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi.

• Austria Wien’s balance sheet in six encounters with Greek clubs stands at W1 D2 L3; at home it is W1 D1 L1.

• AEK’s record in nine games against Austrian sides reads W3 D2 L4 (W1 D1 L2 in Austria).

Form guide
• Austria Wien have failed to register a victory in any of their last seven European home games (D2 L5) and have won just once in 15 UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group matches in Vienna, losing ten of them.

• AEK have scored in only one of their last five away games in UEFA competition. However, they are currently on a seven-match unbeaten run in Europe, their last four fixtures having all been drawn.

• Last season’s Austrian Bundesliga runners-up, Austria Wien have not survived their last five UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns; they did, however, reach the quarter-finals of the 2004/05 competition.

• Winners of Greece’s end-of-season UEFA Champions League play-offs in 2016/17, AEK have had five previous UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns, most recently in 2011/12. They have only made it into the round of 32 once, in 2007/08.

Highlights: AEK 2-2 Austria Wien


Highlights: AEK 2-2 Austria Wien

Links and trivia
• The journey from Athens to Vienna is around 1,300km.

• AEK midfielder Arnór Ingvi Traustason is on loan from Austria Wien’s neighbours Rapid Wien, where he arrived in 2016.

• AEK’s Dmytro Chygrynskiy won the UEFA Cup as a Shakhtar Donetsk player in 2009.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Christoph Monschein, Thomas Salamon (Austria Wien); André Simões, Marko Livaja, Hélder Lopes (AEK).

The coaches
• Austria Wien coach since 2015, Thorsten Fink won the 2001 UEFA Champions League and four German Bundesliga titles as a Bayern midfielder. He also secured back-to-back Swiss Super League championships as coach of Basel from 2009–11.

• Manolo Jiménez returned for a second spell as AEK coach in January 2017, having guided the club to 2010/11 Greek Cup glory during his first stint. The ex-Spain international left-back has also coached Sevilla, Real Zaragoza and Al-Rayyan.

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UEFA Europa League – Hoffenheim-Ludogorets – Hoffenheim v Ludogorets background

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Hoffenheim’s debut season in European competition will end with this fixture, but Ludogorets know that a win or a draw in Germany will secure their presence in the round of 32 for a second successive year.

The Bulgarian side can also afford to lose and still go through if İstanbul Başakşehir fail to win the other Group C fixture at home to already-qualified Braga. Ludogorets will top the group if they win and Braga do not.

Previous meetings
• In the teams‘ first meeting on matchday two, Ludogorets got the better of Hoffenheim in Razgrad, coming from behind to win 2-1. Czech international Pavel Kadeřábek gave the German club an early lead, but second-half strikes by Svetoslav Dyakov and Jody Lukoki turned the match round, giving Ludogorets three points from their first match against German opposition.

• That was the first Bulgarian win in 12 years and 12 UEFA games between Bulgarian and German sides in UEFA club competition (D4 L7), though the three previous fixtures had ended in draws.

Form guide
• Hoffenheim have scored in all seven of their European fixtures but have won only one of them, losing five.

• Ludogorets are unbeaten in five away games in the UEFA Europa League group stage (W4 D1) and have lost only once in nine away fixtures in the competition as a whole (W6 D2). They have kept clean sheets in their last four UEFA Europa League matches outside Bulgaria, posting three successive goalless draws before overcoming Braga 2-0 on matchday four.

• Beaten by Liverpool home and away in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, Hoffenheim are contesting the UEFA Europa League group stage in their debut season in European competition.

• Bulgarian champions for the past six seasons, Ludogorets reached the round of 16 in their only previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaign, 2013/14; they also played in last season’s round of 32 after transferring from the UEFA Champions League.

Highlights: Ludogorets 2-1 Hoffenheim


Highlights: Ludogorets 2-1 Hoffenheim

Links and trivia
• The journey from Razgrad to Sinsheim is around 1,500km.

• This will be Ludogorets’ 58th UEFA competition game, all in the past six seasons – and Hoffenheim’s eighth.

• Hoffenheim’s Kerem Demirbay and Ádám Szalai are suspended.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Natanael (Ludogorets); Dennis Geiger, Andrej Kramarić, Nadiem Amiri, Mark Uth (Hoffenheim).

The coaches
• Hired in the summer of 2017, Ludogorets boss Dimitar Dimitrov established his coaching credentials at home-town club Neftochimik Burgas and landed Bulgarian titles with Litex Lovech and Levski Sofia, later coaching in Russia and Kazakhstan.

• Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann’s playing career ended prematurely due to persistent knee problems, but he shone as a youth coach and – aged 28 – took charge of Hoffenheim in 2016, becoming the Bundesliga’s youngest-ever senior boss.

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UEFA Europa League – İstanbul Başakşehir-Braga – İstanbul Başakşehir v Braga background

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İstanbul Başakşehir must end a poor sequence of recent home results in Europe if they are to qualify from Group C alongside visitors Braga, who confirmed their presence in the round of 32 last time out.

The Turkish club need a win combined with a defeat for Ludogorets at eliminated Hoffenheim in the other group fixture to make it through, while Braga will clinch first place with a win or if Ludogorets fail to claim all three points in Germany.

Previous meetings
• Braga prevailed in the teams’ first European encounter – and Başakşehir’s maiden meeting with Portuguese opponents – when they won 2-1 at home on matchday two, a late Fransérgio winner deciding the outcome after first-half goals from Ahmed Hassan and the visitors’ Emre Belözoğlu. The veteran Turkish international became the UEFA Europa League’s fifth oldest goalscorer aged 37 years and 21 days.

• Braga have had the better of their 11 previous duels with Turkish clubs: W7 D1 L3. Having won their first three games in Turkey, they have returned winless from the country in each of the past two UEFA Europa League campaigns, however, losing 1-0 to Fenerbahçe in 2015/16 and drawing 1-1 at Konyaspor last term.

Form guide
• İstanbul Başakşehir are yet to win at home in five UEFA Europa League matches, qualifying included (D3 L2). They have won only two of their 15 European fixtures (D6 L7).

• Braga have gone 21 European games without a clean sheet but are undefeated in their last six away fixtures in UEFA competition (W2 D4).

• Last term’s Turkish league and cup runners-up were beaten 4-3 on aggregate by Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League play-offs and are making their UEFA group stage debut this season.

• Fifth in Portugal last term, and runners-up in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League, Braga are competing in this group stage for a third straight season. Last year’s failure to make the round of 32 ended a perfect record of qualifying from UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stages, their first five forays having all proved successful.

Highlights: Braga 2-1 Istanbul Başakşehir


Highlights: Braga 2-1 Istanbul Başakşehir

Links and trivia
• The journey from Braga to Istanbul is around 3,100km.

• Başakşehir’s Mossoró was a Braga player from 2008 to 2013 and featured in their 2010/11 UEFA Europa League final defeat by Porto.

• Başakşehir’s other Brazilian player, Júnior Caiçara, also played in Portugal for Gil Vicente (2010–12).

• Braga’s Bruno Viana and Başakşehir’s one-time Portuguese youth international Manuel da Costa won the Greek Super League together with Olympiacos in 2016/17.

• Braga’s Fransérgio has scored four goals in the group stage, having never previously found the net in European competition.

• Braga’s Ricardo Ferreira and Marcelo Goiano are suspended on matchday six.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Júnior Caiçara, Mevlüt Erdinç, Gökhan Inler (İstanbul Başakşehir); Raúl Silva, Ricardo Esgaio (Braga).

The coaches
• Abdullah Avcı led Turkey to success in the 2005 UEFA European Under-17 Championship before taking the Başakşehir reins for the first time from 2006–11. He returned to the club in 2014 following an unsuccessful stint as Turkey boss.

• At the helm since April 2017, Abel Ferreira was previously Braga’s B team coach. A right-back, he graduated from home-town side Penafiel to Vitória Guimarães, Braga and Sporting CP, where he won two Portuguese Cups before retiring in 2011.

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Why Milan chose Gattuso as their new coach – UEFA Europa League – News

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He may have lacked Andrea Pirlo’s vision or technique, but Gennaro Gattuso is still considered one of the best Italian midfielders of the last 20 years, and won both the UEFA Champions League and the Scudetto twice during his 13-season spell with AC Milan.

Never been known to shirk a tackle, ‘Ringhio’ (translation: snarl) has taken on a new challenge at 39, after being promoted from leading the Rossoneri’s youth academy to replace former Italy team-mate Vincenzo Montella as Milan head coach. “This team can do well,” he said upon meeting the press for the first time in his new post today. So why is the former Sion, Palermo, OFI Crete and Pisa boss the right man for the job?

They say

Highlights: Milan 5-1 Austria Wien


Highlights: Milan 5-1 Austria Wien

“The club have made a brave choice with ‘Rino’. In some cases charisma and personality can have a big impact, and in this case his personality can help a lot.”
Massimo Ambrosini, former Milan team-mate

“It’s a natural choice. He has been with the club for 20 years and I think he knows how to motivate and improve performances.”
Gianluigi Buffon, Juventus captain

“He used to give me advice on how I could position myself to avoid knocks. In more than one training session, he would kick me just to teach me how to defend myself. Gattuso helped me a great deal.”
Paulo Dybala, former Palermo team-mate

Who is he?

Filippo Inzaghi and Gennaro Gattuso with Milan


Filippo Inzaghi and Gennaro Gattuso with Milan©Getty Images

A strong, spirited defensive midfielder who helped Milan lift plenty of trophies from 1999 to 2012, Gattuso was a FIFA World Cup winner with Italy in 2006, yet he started small when he went into coaching. Initially player-manager at Sion in Switzerland, he was briefly at the helm of Palermo and Greek side OFI Crete, before leading Pisa to Serie B promotion – followed by relegation the following season. Gattuso promptly rejoined Milan in May to run their ‘Primavera’ team, saying: “It is not a step back. I think it’s the right choice.”

Why is he Milan’s man?

Having spent 13 years with Rossoneri as a player, Gattuso knows what it takes to shine for this famous club and its demanding fans. He will bring passion and intensity to the role and fire his players up after a disappointing Serie A start. “He knows what his job is and has accepted it with humility,” said Milan CEO Marco Fassone. “He knows he has Milan’s first team in his hands, something very important.”

How do his teams play?

Gattuso moved into coaching with Sion


Gattuso moved into coaching with Sion©Getty Images

Gattuso is expected to adopt a bolder 3-4-3 system, with a view to creating a bit more dynamism than there was under Montella. “We will play with a three-man defence,” he confirmed. “I had a good relationship with Montella, though some of our ideas are different. Montella loved controlling possession; I do too, but it is important to play vertically.” ‘Ringhio’ may also be keen to bring some of his ‘Primavera’ charges up to the senior ranks.

He says

“To win major trophies like the Champions League, you have to have champions in your team. At Milan, in my time, we could afford to have the likes of Alessandro Costacurta, Jaap Stam, Rivaldo, Rui Costa and Filippo Inzaghi sitting on the bench.”

“My dad was a Milan fan and adored [graceful playmaker Gianni] Rivera. I think I was a disappointment to him because his son was totally different from Rivera. But personally, I’ve always liked a combative style.”

Did you know?

Gattuso is married to Monica Romano, a Scottish woman of Italian descent, whom he met while playing for Rangers at an exhibition game in Toronto, Canada.

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UEFA Europa League – Villarreal-M. Tel-Aviv – Villarreal v Maccabi Tel-Aviv background

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Confirmed as winners of Group A after a 3-2 win at Astana on matchday five, Villarreal will be hoping to maintain their unbeaten record in the section through to the finish as they entertain bottom club Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

• Although already eliminated, the Israeli side have an objective of their own – to find the net for the first time in the group and thus avoid becoming the first team ever to go through a UEFA Europa League group stage without scoring.

Previous meetings
• The sides came face to face for the first time on matchday two, drawing 0-0 in Netanya; that is the only point Maccabi have mustered from their five Group A encounters.

• In their only previous tie against a Spanish team, Maccabi lost 3-2 away and then drew 1-1 against Tenerife in the 1996/97 UEFA Cup first round. Villarreal had never previously met Israeli opposition.

Form guide
• Villarreal are unbeaten in six European matches (W4 D2). However, after winning all seven home fixtures in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League, they have been victorious in only three of the seven European fixtures they have hosted over the past two seasons (D1 L3).

• Maccabi won all four of their away fixtures in this season’s qualifying phase without conceding a goal, but have lost their two group games on the road without scoring.

• Semi-finalists in 2015/16, Villarreal are featuring in a fourth consecutive UEFA Europa League group stage. As in the previous three campaigns, they have safely made it through to the round of 32.

• Indeed, Villarreal have been successful in all eight of their UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League group stage participations and now hold the record of progressing from their UEFA Europa League group on six occasions.

• Maccabi have come through from the first qualifying round to the group stage for a second successive season. They were league and cup runners-up in Israel last term.

• Maccabi are competing in their fourth UEFA Europa League group stage. Only once previously, in 2013/14, did they progress to the round of 32.

Highlights: Maccabi Tel-Aviv 0-0 Villarreal


Highlights: Maccabi Tel-Aviv 0-0 Villarreal

Links and trivia
• The journey from Tel Aviv to Villarreal is around 3,200km.

• Villarreal hold the UEFA Europa League group stage to final records for most games played (59), most wins (33) and most goals scored (103). They are the only club to have reached a century of goals in the competition.

• Maccabi have failed to score in the first five matchdays; no UEFA Europa League participant has gone through the entire group stage without a goal, six clubs having managed just one.

• Maccabi are one of three teams to have come all the way from first qualifying round to group stage this season, along with Crvena zvezda and Skënderbeu.

• Former team-mates:
Villarreal’s Pablo Fornals and Maccabi’s Yegor Filipenko (Málaga 2015–16)
Villarreal’s Andrés Fernández and Maccabi’s Jean-Sylvain Babin (Granada 2015–16)

• Babin has represented four clubs in Spain (Lucena 2008–10, Alcorcón 2010–14, Granada 2014–16, Gijón 2016–17). Team-mate Omer Atzily was at Granada in 2016/17.

• Suspended from next match if booked: Jaume Costa (Villarreal); Nick Blackman,  Dor Peretz (Maccabi)

The coaches
• Javier Calleja took over as Villarreal’s new coach after Fran Escribá’s dismissal on 25 September. He represented the club as a player from 1999 to 2006, and returned as a youth coach after hanging up his boots. He was coaching the B team when he was called upon to replace Escribá.

• Jordi Cruyff took over as Maccabi boss in 2017 after five years as the club’s sporting director. The son of Dutch great Johan Cruyff, he played for Barcelona and Manchester United and reached the 2001 UEFA Cup final with Alavés. He also played for the Netherlands at EURO ’96.

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UEFA Europa League – Slavia Praha-Astana – Slavia Praha v Astana background

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Fresh from their first European away win in over a decade, at Maccabi Tel-Aviv on matchday five, Slavia Praha face off against Astana in a Group A decider.

The victors in Prague will join group winners Villarreal in the round of 32; a draw will suffice for Slavia, who hold a one-point advantage over their visitors from Kazakhstan.

Previous meetings
• The sides met for the first time on matchday two, drawing 1-1 in the Astana Arena. Slavia took an early lead with a first European goal from Cameroonian defender Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui before the hosts levelled at the end of the first half through Croatian midfielder Marin Tomasov.

• That was the first time either club had faced a team from their opponents’ country. In the seven meetings between Czech and Kazakh clubs, the former hold the advantage: W3 D3 L1.

Form guide
• Czech champions Slavia have kept a clean sheet in three of their four European home games this season. However, they have scored only twice in their last six European matches at Eden Arena (0-0, 0-3, 1-0, 0-0, 1-0, 0-2).

Slavia’s 2-0 win at Maccabi on matchday five was the club’s first victory in 21 UEFA away fixtures (D10 L10) since a 1-0 success at Ajax in a 2007/08 UEFA Champions League qualifier.

• Astana have won just two of their last 18 European away matches (D5 L11), both this season – 1-0 at Spartaks Jūrmala in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round and 1-0 at Maccabi Tel-Aviv on UEFA Europa League matchday four.

• Edged out by APOEL in this season’s UEFA Champions League play-offs, Slavia made it through the UEFA Cup group stage in 2005/06, but missed the cut in 2008/09 and also fell short in their only previous UEFA Europa League group campaign (2009/10).

• Beaten 8-4 on aggregate by Celtic in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, Astana are playing group stage football for a third successive season: UEFA Champions League in 2015/16, UEFA Europa League in 2016/17 and 2017/18.

• Astana finished bottom of their section, with five points, in last season’s UEFA Europa League, so they have already improved on that performance this term.

Highlights: Astana 1-1 Slavia Praha


Highlights: Astana 1-1 Slavia Praha

Links and trivia
• The journey from Astana to Prague is around 3,900km.

• This is Slavia’s 150th UEFA club competition game; it is Astana’s 46th.

• Slavia’s Ruslan Rotan played for Dnipro in their 2015 UEFA Europa League final defeat by Sevilla; goalkeeper Jan Lastůvka was an unused substitute for the Ukrainian side.

• Astana clinched their fourth successive Kazakh Premier League title on 5 November, finishing one point ahead of perennial rivals Kairat Almaty.

• Astana’s last seven goals in this competition have been shared between their two African strikers, Patrick Twumasi (four) and Junior Kabananga (three).

• Slavia’s Jan Bořil is available after a one-game ban.

• Suspended from next match if booked: Serikzhan Muzhikov (Astana).

The coaches
• A Czechoslovak league runner-up in 1992/93 as a Slavia midfielder, Jaroslav Šilhavý returned to the club after a 22-year absence in September 2016. Having won the Czech crown as Liberec boss in 2011/12, he triumphed again with Slavia in 2017.

• Hired in June 2014, Stanimir Stoilov led Astana to their fourth successive Kazakh title last month. The former Bulgaria player and coach enjoyed his most fruitful years as a player at Levski Sofia, whom he later guided to two championships – and the 2005/06 UEFA Cup quarter-finals.

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UEFA Europa League – Young Boys-Skënderbeu – Young Boys v Skënderbeu background

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Neither Young Boys nor Skënderbeu can reach the knockout phase, but the Swiss side will be hoping to end their disappointing Group B campaign with a first victory.

• The Albanian team, who overcame group leaders Dynamo Kyiv 3-2 at home last time out, will finish third if they avoid defeat. In terms of points gained – five – this is already their most successful performance in a European group stage.

Previous meetings
• The two clubs cancelled each other out in their first meeting, drawing 1-1 in Elbasan on matchday two. Gambian forward Ali Sowe gave Skënderbeu the lead midway through the second half, only for Young Boys to equalise through Ivorian striker Roger Assalé seven minutes later.

• Albanian clubs are yet to win in five UEFA encounters with Swiss counterparts: D2 L3.

Form guide
• Young Boys registered score draws in each of their first three Group B matches but have lost the last two, their hopes of further progress extinguished by a 2-1 defeat at Partizan on matchday five. They are without a win in seven European fixtures (D3 L4).

• Skenderbëu have lost three of their six European away matches this season (W1 D2), including both group stage fixtures on the road, which means they are yet to claim a point away from home in five UEFA Europa League group games.

• Beaten home and away by CSKA Moskva in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, Young Boys are contesting the UEFA Europa League group stage for a fifth time. They have made it through twice before – in 2010/11 and 2014/15.

• Domestic cup runners-up last term, Skënderbeu were the first Albanian side to contest a major UEFA group stage when they figured in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League. Their group record that season was W1 L5.

Highlights: Skënderbeu 1-1 Young Boys


Highlights: Skënderbeu 1-1 Young Boys

Links and trivia
• The journey from Elbasan, where Skënderbeu are playing their European home fixtures, to Berne is around 1,200km.

• Young Boys boast Albanian international talent in the form of winger Taulan Sulejmanov.

• Skënderbeu’s Kosovan defender Fidan Aliti started his career in Switzerland, playing for Old Boys (2011–13) and Luzern (2013–15).

• Skënderbeu are one of three teams to have reached the UEFA Europa League group stage having begun their campaign in the first qualifying round; Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Crvena zvezda are the others.

• Skënderbeu goalkeeper Orges Shehi is the ninth player over the age of 40 to have played in the UEFA Europa League and the oldest participant in this season’s competition.

The coaches
• Austrian coach Adi Hütter has been in charge of Young Boys since September 2015. A midfielder who spent the bulk of his career with Salzburg, he returned to lead the club to a domestic double in 2014/15 after managerial spells at Altach and Grödig.

• Appointed in January 2017, Ilir Daja led Skënderbeu to the Albanian Cup final, which they lost to KF Tirana, and then steered them into this group stage. A former midfielder with Tirana, he has guided Elbasan and Dinamo Tirana to domestic championships as a coach.

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