Tottenham Hotspur FC are cutting quite a swathe through UEFA Europa League Group K as they entertain FC Sheriff, who are yet to win an away game in this competition.
• Jan Vertonghen and Jermain Defoe were on target on matchday three as Spurs made it three wins from three, with Sheriff's first contest against an English side ending in a 2-0 defeat – their heaviest home loss in this competition.
• Spurs previously took on the team that were once Sheriff's main rivals, FC Zimbru Chisinau, in the first round of the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, winning 3-0 at home before earning a 0-0 draw in the Moldovan capital.
• England have won all four of their senior national meetings with Moldova, and three of their four UEFA European Under-21 Championship meetings, with the remaining match ending in a draw.
• The only success for a Moldovan side against English opponents in a UEFA competition came when Toligma Chisinau beat Doncaster College DEAF FC 10-2 in the 2006/07 UEFA Futsal Cup preliminary round.
• This is Tottenham's sixth UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stage campaign, and they also competed in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage, meaning that they have competed in one group stage or another for seven of the last eight seasons; their only absence was in 2009/10. They have only once missed out on the knockout phase in those campaigns, in 2011/12.
• Spurs are unbeaten in eight European home games (W6 D2) since losing 2-1 to PAOK FC in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League group stage. They have won both of their UEFA Europa League home games this season 3-0.
• Sheriff are yet to win in 12 away games in the UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League, though their most recent three away fixtures in this competition ended in draws.
• Sheriff competed in the 2009/10 and 2010/11 UEFA Europa League group stages, failing to advance on either occasion after collecting five points each time.
• Spurs are one of five clubs who go into matchday four with 100% records, along with ACF Fiorentina, Eintracht Frankfurt, PFC Ludogorets Razgrad and FC Salzburg. The north London side have also yet to concede, along with Eintracht and Ludogorets. No club has ever gone through a UEFA Europa League group with six clean sheets. The record mark of just one goal conceded was set by R. Standard de Liège in 2011/12.
• Spurs have the best disciplinary record in the group stage – just one yellow card to date.
• Salzburg's Jonatan Soriano and Spurs' Defoe are the top scorers in the group stage with four goals each.
• Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and midfielder Aaron Lennon will make their 50th UEFA club competition appearances if they feature against Sheriff.
• Sheriff are one of nine domestic champions involved in this season's group stage: the others are NK Maribor (Slovenia), Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (Israel), Ludogorets (Bulgaria), Legia Warszawa (Poland), FC Shakhter Karagandy (Kazakhstan), APOEL FC (Cyprus), GNK Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) and IF Elfsborg (Sweden).
• Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel is the oldest player registered in this season's group stage; should he appear in this season's competition he will replace FC Twente goalkeeper Sander Boschker (42 years and 33 days) as the oldest player to have featured in the UEFA Europa League.
• Tottenham (1972, 1984) are one of five teams in the group stage who have won this trophy before, along with Valencia CF (2004), Eintracht Frankfurt (1980), PSV Eindhoven (1978) and fellow two-time winners Sevilla FC (2006, 2007).
• The only coach in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League group stage to have won the competition in its current incarnation, André Villas-Boas learned his coaching craft under Sir Bobby Robson and José Mourinho. After a first solo venture at A. Académica de Coimbra, he led FC Porto to an extraordinary league, cup and UEFA Europa League treble in 2010/11. He fared less well at Chelsea FC but has regained his footing since joining Tottenham in July 2012.
• Aside from Villas-Boas, three other coaches in the group stage have had their hands on the trophy before: PAOK FC's Huub Stevens, who won it as a player (PSV Eindhoven, 1978) and a coach (FC Schalke 04, 1997), FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk's Juande Ramos (Sevilla FC, 2006 & 2007) and AZ Alkmaar's Dick Advocaat (FC Zenit, 2008).
• Sheriff coach Veaceslav Rusnac was a defender for a number of clubs and is now assisted by Juan Ferrando, Cesc Fàbregas' personal trainer at Arsenal FC. He achieved an unusual first in 2000 when he won the Moldovan league with FC Zimbru Chisinau, the local futsal crown with FC Zarea Balti and the top prize in Moldovan beach football with Palestra. As a coach, he led Moldova's Under-17s, taking charge at Sheriff in July 2013 after spells with several other local sides.
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