Neftçi PFK will look to protect an impressive home record in UEFA competitions as FC Internazionale Milano become the first Italian club to visit Baku in Group H.
• This is Neftçi and Inter's first encounter. Indeed, this is the first time that clubs from Azerbaijan and Italy have met in any UEFA competition.
• The only previous form the teams have to go by is the two games Azerbaijan played against Italy in UEFA EURO 2004 qualifying – the Azzurri won 2-0 at the Tofig Bahramov Republican Stadium in Baku and 4-0 in the return fixture in Reggio Calabria.
• Under-21 and under-age sides from Azerbaijan and Italy have met in nine previous UEFA games. The first – between U16 sides – ended in a 0-0 draw in 1997, but Italy have won all eight of the subsequent meetings, and it took until the most recent of those – a 2-1 win for Italy's U19s in October 2011 – for the Azeri sides to register their first goal.
• Both of the Italy outfits who visited the Tofig Bahramov Republican Stadium – the seniors in 2002 and the U21s in 2008 – left with 2-0 wins.
• Neftçi are unbeaten in four European games, though two of those ended in draws.
• The Azeri side are also unbeaten in 14 European home games (nine wins and five draws) since a 3-2 loss against FK Crvena Zvezda in the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup qualifying round.
• Inter have drawn their last two European games 2-2 at home, but have won both of their continental away fixtures this season, scoring five goals and conceding none.
• Neftçi are the first Azerbaijani side to make it to the group stage of a UEFA club competition. With seven league titles, they are the most successful club in Azerbaijan since independence, and set a Soviet-era high-water mark for the republic by finishing third in the USSR's top division in 1966.
• Inter are competing in their maiden UEFA Europa League group stage campaign.
• Inter are within two goals of their 500th in UEFA club competition. With 338 games to their name, they stand in eighth place in the all-time UEFA appearances list, but with 498 goals, they are 11th in the scorers' rankings.
• Boyukagha Hajiyev is the coach of Neftçi. A coach and player at now-defunct MFK Araz-Naxçivan, he spent several years coaching in Iran and was Vagif Sadygov's assistant with the national team in 2005. Having won a first national title in what was initially a caretaker spell at FK Bakı in 2005/06, Hajiyev won the crown again in 2011/12, his first season at Neftçi.
• Inter's coach is Andrea Stramaccioni, who stepped in on a caretaker basis to replace Claudio Ranieri in March 2012 and was then handed a contract for the 2012/13 campaign. A defender whose career was cut short by a serious injury at Bologna FC, he specialised in coaching youth teams, taking charge of the AS Roma and then Inter junior selections before getting the senior job.
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