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The easternmost game in the history of the UEFA Europa League group stage sees Maccabi Haifa FC make the 3,600km trip to Astana to take on FC Shakhtar Karagandy in Group L.
• This is the sides' first meeting and Shakhter's first encounter with Israeli opposition.
• Maccabi Haifa are on reasonably familiar territory having met Shakhter's domestic rivals FC Aktobe in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, drawing 0-0 away – a mere 2,700km from their home, this one – before winning 4-3 back in Israel.
• Shakhter sporting director Ulugbek Asanbayev played both games for Aktobe, coming on as a substitute in Haifa after Aktobe had squandered a 3-0 lead established inside the first 15 minutes.
• Including those matches, only four games have been played between Kazakh and Israeli clubs in UEFA club competition; Kazakh sides are unbeaten at home (W1 D1) but have lost both of their games in Israel.
• Shakhter came within 90 minutes of reaching the UEFA Champions League group stage only to let slip a 2-0 first-leg advantage in the play-offs at Celtic FC. They nonetheless received the substantial consolation prize of a first UEFA Europa League group stage campaign.
• Shakhter let three points slip on matchday one, losing 2-1 at PAOK FC. However, their home form in Europe is impressive – they have not lost in their last six European fixtures in Kazakhstan (W5 D1) despite switching between Karagandy and Astana, and have won all three of their home European fixtures this season without conceding.
• This is Maccabi's third attempt at this group stage. They reached the round of 16 on their UEFA Cup group stage debut in 2006/07 but did not advance to the knockout stages in 2011/12.
• Maccabi lost 1-0 at home to AZ Alkmaar on matchday one, but are yet to lose on their travels this season, following up an 8-0 win at Xäzär Länkäran FK with two draws.
• Shakhter are the first Kazakh side to have reached a UEFA club competition group stage, and the most easterly club to reached this stage.
• The distance between Shakhter's home town and that of the most westerly group stage contenders, Estoril Praia, is 6,358km – just over one sixth the circumference of earth.
• Maccabi midfielder Avihay Yadin played two games against Kazakh opposition during his time at Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC; his side lost 1-0 at Aktobe then salvaged their 2010/11 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie with a 3-1 win in Israel.
• Maccabi goalkeeper Bojan Šaranov and Shakhter defender Aleksandar Simčević started their careers playing together at OFK Beograd in their native Serbia.
• A Kazakh title winner in his first two seasons with Shakhter, 2011 and 2012, Russian-born Viktor Kumykov had his career as a goalkeeper cut short by injury when he was 24. He turned to coaching and led home-town club PFC Spartak Nalchik in Russia before embarking on a series of roles in Kazakhstan and then Uzbekistan. Visiting museums is one of his favourite pastimes.
• Israel's most capped player, with 94 international appearances, former defender Arik Benado has been coach of Maccabi since November 2012, having won seven of his nine domestic titles with the club – the other two coming during a spell at Beitar Jerusalem FC. After retiring at the end of 2010/11, Benado returned to the club that his father Shlomo had also played for as a youth coach before being given the first-team job.
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