Qarabağ relishing Roma opportunity

Qarabağ are eager to mark their first home game in the UEFA Champions League group stage with a positive result against Roma, who have struggled on their travels.

Qarabağ marked their group stage debut with a heavy defeat at Chelsea
Qarabağ marked their group stage debut with a heavy defeat at Chelsea ©Getty Images

Having suffered a heavy defeat on their UEFA Champions League group debut, Qarabağ FK will hope to draw on their impressive home form as they seek a more positive result against AS Roma.

Match background

Qarabağ
Beaten 6-0 at Chelsea FC in their first Group C game, Qarabağ can at least look to a solid recent home record as they bid to get points on the board. They have lost just one of their last nine European home matches (W5 D3): 1-2 against ACF Fiorentina in the UEFA Europa League on 8 December 2016.

• The Azerbaijani club reached the group stage for the first time by beating Georgian champions FC Samtredia in the second qualifying round (5-0 home, 1-0 away), followed by Moldova's FC Sheriff (0-0 home, 2-1 away) in the third. In the play-offs, they won 1-0 at home to FC København and advanced on away goals after a 2-1 defeat in Denmark.

• Qarabağ's four previous fixtures against Italian sides have ended W0 D1 L3 (D1 L1 at home). They drew 0-0 with FC Internazionale Milano in Baku in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League group stage, and went down 2-1 to Fiorentina at the same stage of that competition last season, their most recent home defeat.

• This is Qarabağ's fourth UEFA Champions League campaign; in each of the previous three they were eliminated in the third qualifying round. Last year they ousted F91 Dudelange 3-1 on aggregate in the second qualifying round, but then lost to FC Viktoria Plzeň (0-0 away, 1-1 home) in the next stage.

• In 2016/17, the Baku-based team contested the UEFA Europa League group stage – for the third consecutive year – after being knocked out of the UEFA Champions League. They have never gone through to the round of 32, however.

• Qarabağ qualified for the UEFA Champions League after winning the Azerbaijani Premier League for a fifth time in 2016/17 – their fourth straight championship.

Roma
• This is Roma's first game against a club from Azerbaijan.

• Second in Serie A in 2016/17, Roma are in the group stage for a tenth time and the third in four years.

• The Italian side were eliminated by FC Porto in last season's play-offs (1-1 away, 0-3 home). They got as far as the UEFA Europa League round of 16, where they were defeated 5-4 over two legs by Olympique Lyonnais.

• The goalless draw at home to Club Atlético de Madrid on matchday one means Roma are without a win in seven UEFA Champions League matches, home and away and including qualifying, since a 3-2 home victory over Bayer 04 Leverkusen on 4 November 2015. That is their only success in their last 16 games in the competition.

• Roma won two of their five away fixtures in last season's UEFA Europa League but, in the UEFA Champions League, they are without a victory in their last ten away matches, including qualifying (D5 L5). A 3-2 triumph at FC Basel 1893 in the 2009/10 group stage is their sole victory in their last 12 away games in the competition, group stage to final (D4 L7).

Coach and player links
• Roma's Juan Jesus was in the Inter team that beat Qarabağ 2-0 in Milan in the UEFA Europa League on 2 October 2014.

• Stephan El Shaarawy was part of the AS Monaco FC side that edged Qarabağ 1-0 at home before a 1-1 draw in Azerbaijan in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League group stage.

• El Shaarawy scored in Italy's 3-1 win away to Azerbaijan in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying on 10 October 2015.

• Alessandro Florenzi was also in that Italy line-up in Baku, having appeared too in the Azzurri's 2-1 home win on 10 October 2014.

• Have played together
Míchel & Kostas Manolas (AEK Athens FC, 2010/11)

• International team-mates:
Ibrahim Šehić  & Edin Džeko (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
Jakub Rzeźniczak & Łukasz Skorupski (Poland)

Match facts

Qarabağ
• Going for their fifth successive Azerbaijani title, Qarabağ have won their first five league matches of the 2017/18 campaign.

• Overall, Qarabağ are 16 games unbeaten (W13 D3) in domestic competition, a run dating back to 28 February.

• The 2-1 second-leg defeat by København in the UEFA Champions League play-offs and the 6-0 reverse against Chelsea are Qarabağ's only losses in their last 23 fixtures in all competitions.

Roma
• Roma have kept a clean sheet in four of their six games this season, including three in a row up until Saturday's 3-1 success against Udinese Calcio.

• Džeko, the 29-goal Serie A top scorer last term, has six in his last four league appearances and eight in as many outings for club and country this season.

• Džeko struck twice in the 3-0 home victory over Hellas Verona FC on 16 September and repeated the feat as Benevento, where Maxime Gonalons made his Roma debut, were beaten 4-0 four days later, scoring again against Udinese at the weekend.

• Florenzi played the full 90 minutes against Verona – his first competitive appearance since suffering a knee injury last October.

• Summer signing Rick Karsdorp has yet to make his Giallorossi debut due to knee and thigh injuries.

• Patrick Schick made his Roma debut as a substitute against Verona but is now sidelined after the recurrence of a thigh injury.