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VfB Stuttgart will look to end a miserable run in springtime European fixtures as they take on KRC Genk in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition.
• Stuttgart's record in 15 games against Belgian sides reads W8 D3 L4 (W3 D3 L2 at home – W5 D0 L2 in Belgium). They have won their last seven games against Belgian sides – home and away – and have not lost in eight fixtures against Belgian clubs since 2000.
• Genk's record in eight games against German clubs is W2 D2 L4 (W1 D1 L2 at home – W1 D1 L2 in Germany). Worryingly, their only win against German opponents came in Brussels – the draw and two defeats were in Genk.
• Stuttgart failed to win a home game in the UEFA Europa League group stage this season, following up two draws with a 1-0 home defeat by Molde FK on matchday six.
• Genk came through the group stage unbeaten as they finished top of Group G. They recorded three wins and three draws, with their current seven-game unbeaten run matching their previous continental best – a streak which extended from the 1997 UEFA Intertoto Cup into their 1998/99 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup campaign.
• Stuttgart qualified by coming second in Group E. They have yet to make it through the round of 32 since the advent of the UEFA Cup group stage in 2004/05, having fallen at this stage on four occasions (2004/05, 2005/06, 2008/09 and 2010/11).
• Indeed, they have not won a two-legged springtime European tie in eight attempts since losing the 1997/98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final, with their record in those 16 games reading W2 D4 L10.
• Genk are appearing in UEFA club competition in the new year for the first time in their history.
• Coach Mario Been reached the round of 32 with NEC Nijmegen in 2008/09, but his side were no match for Hamburger SV.
• Stuttgart have been losing finalists in major UEFA club competitions twice: they lost to SSC Napoli in the 1988/89 UEFA Cup final and Chelsea FC in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.
• Stuttgart's Ivorian left-back Arthur Boka's first European club was KSK Beveren (2002–04), who were Genk's domestic rivals before the club merged with KV Red Star Waasland in 2010.
• Stuttgart midfielder Támas Hajnal also played in Belgium for K. Sint-Truidense VV (2004–06), with Genk midfielder Benjamin De Ceulaer among his team-mates in 2004/05, and defender Jeroen Simaeys playing alongside him in 2005/06.
• Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia played up front for some of Germany's top clubs – Hamburger SV, FC Bayern München and SV Werder Bremen among others – and is the only player to have scored more than 100 goals in both of Germany's top divisions. Since starting his coaching career at home-town side SV Darmstadt 98, he has been in charge at Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Hamburg, taking over at Stuttgart in 2010.
• Genk's coach since August 2011 has been Dutchman Been, most famous for his work as a midfielder – and then coach – with Feyenoord and their satellite club SBV Excelsior. He led NEC through the group stage of the 2008/09 UEFA Cup, but lost out to KAA Gent in the 2010/11 play-offs when he was coaching Feyenoord.
Round of 16: Stuttgart/Genk v VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach/S.S. Lazio
• The first legs will be played on 7 March, with the returns the following Thursday.
• Stuttgart could meet Mönchengladbach in an all-German round of 16 tie. They have actually met in Europe before, with Gladbach edging out their Bundesliga rivals 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-finals of the 1979/80 UEFA Cup. Jupp Heynckes' side were then beaten by another German team – Eintracht Frankfurt – in the two-legged final.
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