Unbeaten in eight European home games since the arrival of coach Rudi Garcia, LOSC Lille Métropole meet a Sporting Clube de Portugal side still awaiting a first victory in France.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition.
• Lille have played four games against Portuguese sides – including two meetings with Sporting's Lisbon neighbours SL Benfica – with the record W1 D2 L1 (W0 D2 L0 at home, with both games ending 0-0).
• Sporting's 16 games against French sides have ended W5 D5 L6 (W1 D3 L4 away). The only victory on their travels against Ligue 1 opposition was a 1-0 success against Olympique Lyonnais in a 1963/64 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup semi-final replay, staged in Madrid. Sporting have never won a competitive game on French soil.
• Back in the group stage for a second season in succession, having lost to Liverpool FC in last term's round of 16, Lille are unbeaten in eight European home games – seven wins and a draw – since a 1-0 loss to Manchester United FC in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League last 16.
• They have won nine of their last ten UEFA Europa League/UEFA Cup home games since a 1-0 loss to fellow French side AJ Auxerre in a 2004/05 round of 16 tie.
• Sporting are unbeaten in their last three UEFA club competition away games, earning a draw and two wins since they lost 2-1 at Everton FC in last season's round of 32.
• Lille coach Rudi Garcia represented the club as a midfielder at the start of his playing career, and has been back with Les Dogues since 2008 – though he was briefly released in June last year only to be rehired two weeks later. He has also coached AS Saint-Etienne and Le Mans UC 72.
• Lille have not lost in eight European home games under Garcia.
• A decent forward, Sporting coach Paulo Sérgio never represented any of the top clubs in Portugal as a player, but slowly worked his way up as a coach, with spells at FC Paços de Ferreira and Vitória SC crucial to him replacing Carlos Carvalhal as Sporting coach this summer.
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