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UEFA Europa League Group C rivals IF Elfsborg and R. Standard de Liège will be taking a step into the unknown when they meet in Sweden, and both will be eager for victory after suffering losses on matchday one.
• This is the sides' first meeting and Elfsborg's first exposure to Belgian opponents.
• Standard's record in four games against Swedish sides reads W3 D0 L1 (W2 D0 L0 in Liege – W1 D0 L1 in Sweden).
• Belgian clubs have traditionally been stronger in meetings between teams from the two nations, with the Belgian clubs' record reading W12 D7 L6 (W7 D4 L2 at home – W5 D3 L4 in Sweden).
• While Elfsborg slipped to a heavy 4-0 reverse at FC Salzburg on matchday one, Standard suffered a 2-1 home loss to Esbjerg fB.
• Elfsborg picked up just one point in their only previous group stage tilt – in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup, and also Group C: they drew their opener 1-1 at home against AEK Athens FC then lost to ACF Fiorentina (6-1), FK Mladá Boleslav (1-3) and Villarreal CF (2-0), finishing bottom of their section.
• Elfsborg have drawn their last two European home games since starting the season with a 7-1 win against FC Daugava Daugavpils.
• Since missing the cut on their UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stage debut in 2004/05, Standard have made it through both of their subsequent group stage campaigns at this level. They also notably reached the last eight in 2009/10, having transferred from the UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Standard have won all three of their European away fixtures this season, scoring at least twice in each.
• Elfsborg are one of nine domestic champions in the UEFA Europa League group stage along with NK Maribor (SVN), FC Sheriff (MDA), Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (ISR), PFC Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL), Legia Warszawa (POL), FC Shakhter Karagandy (KAZ), APOEL FC (CYP) and GNK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO).
• Elfsborg midfielder Anders Svensson and Standard defender Jelle Van Damme were team-mates at Southampton FC in the 2004/05 season.
• Elfsborg's Mikkel Beckmann and Standard's David Biton were team-mates last season, both spending the spring on loan at Cypriot side APOEL FC.
• Elfsborg forward Lasse Nilsson and Standard's Reza Ghoochanneijhad played together at sc Heerenveen from 2005–07.
• New Elfsborg coach Klas Ingesson has a working knowledge of Belgian football, having played for KV Mechelen from 1990-93.
• Jörgen Lennartsson was dismissed as Elfsborg coach on Monday, with his side having failed to sparkle after winning the Swedish title in 2012. "Jorgen has done a fantastic job as head coach," club chairman Bosse Johansson said. "I want to emphasise that this is a pro-active change ahead of the new, big challenges in 2014."
• Youth coach Klas Ingesson has stepped up to take charge of Elfsborg for the remainder of the Swedish season. A bronze medalist with Sweden at the 1994 FIFA World Cup finals, the midfielder played abroad for KV Mechelen, PSV Eindhoven, Sheffield Wednesday FC, AS Bari, Bologna FC, Olympique de Marsille and US Lecce. His coaching career has been interrupted by an ongoing battle with cancer.
• Guy Luzon left his native Israel to take over as Standard coach in summer 2013, having led his national team on home soil at the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. Injury forced the nephew of Israel Football Association (IFA) president Avi Luzon to hang up his boots at 21, but he found his calling as a coach, famously leading Maccabi Petach-Tikva FC into the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage.
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