Wigan Athletic FC will look to put four points between themselves and their main rivals for second place in UEFA Europa League Group D as SV Zulte Waregem come to England on matchday five.
• FC Rubin Kazan have already booked one of the top spots in the section, since no more than one of the sides in the section can overtake them. However, a win for NK Maribor in Russia could make for a tense final day in Group D.
• Wigan met Zulte Waregem in what was their very first European fixture on matchday one, with the game in Belgium ending goalless.
• In their only previous meeting with English opponents, Zulte Waregem took on Wigan's former Premier League rivals Newcastle United FC in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup round of 32, losing 3-1 at home and 1-0 at St James' Park.
• No Belgian team has recorded a victory in the last nine European games between English and Belgian clubs (D4 L5) since R. Standard de Liège beat Everton FC 2-1 at home in the first round of the 2008/09 UEFA Cup. More ominously for Zulte Waregem, no Belgian outfit has won in their last 29 away matches against English sides (D4 L25) since R. Antwerp FC won 1-0 at Aston Villa FC in the first round of the UEFA Cup on 1 October 1975.
• Wigan's 1-0 loss at Rubin on matchday four was their first defeat in UEFA club competition.
• Wigan are the only side who entered the competition on matchday one this season with absolutely no previous experience of European football; the other three group stage contenders enjoying their first European season – FC Kuban Krasnodar, Estoril Praia and CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu – all cut their teeth in qualifying.
• Zulte Waregem have been alternating defeats and victories away from home in Europe this season; if that pattern is to continue into a fifth game, they are due a loss in Wigan.
• Zulte Waregem made it through their only previous group stage campaign in 2006/07, bowing out to Newcastle in the round of 32. However, KSV Waregem – who merged with Zultse VV to form Zulte Waregem in 2001 – enjoyed even more European success, reaching the semi-finals of the 1985/86 UEFA Cup before losing out to 1. FC Köln.
• Zulte Waregem's Icelandic midfielder Ólafur Skúlason has some experience of English football; the former Arsenal FC trainee played in the lower leagues for Brentford FC from 2005 to 2007. Forward Thorgan Hazard, meanwhile, is on loan from Chelsea FC, where his brother Eden is a regular starter, though he has yet to play a competitive game for the Blues since joining in 2012.
• Like Birmingham City FC in 2011/12, Wigan are competing in Europe despite being relegated from the Premier League at the end of the previous season; Wigan won the 2012/13 FA Cup, Birmingham won the 2010/11 League Cup. Birmingham also met Belgian opponents during their group stage campaign, winning 2-1 away and drawing 2-2 at home against Club Brugge KV.
• Chilean midfielder Jean Beausejour appeared for Birmingham during that campaign, making him one of only a handful of Wigan players with European experience. The 29-year-old was on the books at Belgian club KAA Gent between 2005 and 2007.
• Owen Coyle took over at Wigan after Roberto Martínez left the relegated club for Everton in July 2013. Capped once by the Republic of Ireland at senior level, he spent most of his playing career in his native Scotland but enjoyed success south of the border as a coach with second-flight sides Burnley FC and Bolton Wanderers FC, having previously helped the latter win promotion to the Premier League as a player in 1994/95.
• Coach Francky Dury returned to Zulte Waregem at the end of 2011, and came close to leading them to a first title last season. A policeman while playing as a midfielder with amateur side Hulste Sport, he coached Zultse VV and became the new side's first coach when they merged with KSV Waregem to become Zulte Waregem in 2001. He finally handed in his police badge in 2007, having steered the club to the top division and won the 2005/06 Belgian Cup.
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