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Clubs stake their claim to join qualified six

Published: Friday 18 November 2011, 14.08CET
The UEFA Europa League has the stage to itself on matchday five and there are plenty of issues to be decided as a host of clubs bid to join the six already through to the round of 32.
Clubs stake their claim to join qualified six
Tottenham's game against PAOK is their 150th UEFA competition fixture ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 18 November 2011, 14.08CET

Clubs stake their claim to join qualified six

The UEFA Europa League has the stage to itself on matchday five and there are plenty of issues to be decided as a host of clubs bid to join the six already through to the round of 32.

Sporting Clube de Portugal, RSC Anderlecht, PSV Eindhoven, Legia Warszawa, FC Twente and Athletic Club are already through to the round of 32 but there is plenty more to be decided as the UEFA Europa League takes centre stage on matchday five, with 24 games split over the evenings of 30 November and 1 December.

Anderlecht have been the stars of the group stage so far; they are the only side to have won all four of their games and boast the top scorer, six-goal Matías Suárez, who is on the hunt for more as the Brussels club visit AEK Athens FC, against whom he scored a hat-trick on matchday one.

Three more goals will take Anderlecht's total to 550 in UEFA competition, but, as UEFA.com discovers, there are plenty of other stories to be written in the next batch of games.

Numbers add up for Spurs and PAOK
Lovers of round numbers should keep an eye on Tottenham Hotspur FC's 150th UEFA competition fixture, a home tie against Group A leaders PAOK FC. The Greek side's next goal will be their 150th in UEFA games, while the next one they concede will be the 100th they have let past them in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League.

A hard habit to kick
FC Vorskla Poltava are out of contention for a round of 32 place, but their exciting forward Roman Bezus remains one to watch. Despite being suspended for the Ukrainian side's 3-1 matchday four loss to R. Standard de Liège, the 21-year-old remains the most fouled player in the group stage, having had 16 free-kicks awarded to him in the first three games.

Metalist mayhem
Seemingly incapable of playing anything other than cavalier attacking football, FC Metalist Kharkiv can confirm their progress from Group G against FK Austria Wien. Three more goals will take their all-time UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League tally to 50, but Karl Daxbacher's men have their own target in sight; two more strikes and they reach 300 in UEFA competition.

Dalmat milestone
Stade Rennais FC must beat Udinese Calcio if they are to go into matchday six with a chance of reaching the round of 32, and the game could represent a milestone for midfielder Stéphane Dalmat − the 32-year-old is in line to make his 50th appearance in a UEFA club competition, having scored twice in his previous 49.

Vaslui's home from home
FC Vaslui continue to hold their own in Europe, thanks in part to a great home record. As they take on S.S. Lazio, they have yet to lose in ten continental home fixtures – no small achievement this season since they are playing their home ties in Piatra Neamt, 100km from their stadium.

Dynamo disheartened
Stoke City FC and FC Dynamo Kyiv have a lot to fight for in Group E, but the statistics seem to be favouring the Potters, who have never lost at home in Europe. The Ukrainian side have yet to win in ten visits to England, and have scored just twice on English soil.

A touch of Klaas
As FC Schalke 04 take on FC Steaua Bucureşti in Group K, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will be in the limelight. The Dutch striker could make his 50th club competition appearance, with his record of 28 goals in his previous 49 continental club ties speaking volumes for his ability.

Jol returns
Twente are through, but there will be plenty of interest in Enschede as a Fulham FC team coached by former Twente player Martin Jol come calling in Group K. Co Adriaanse's men are the group stage's 12-goal top scorers, but have never beaten an English team in 12 attempts, and will have to be wary of Andrew Johnson, Fulham's top marksman with five goals.

Last updated: 29/11/11 13.05CET

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