Last season Sparta Praha comfortably dismissed Russian side Krasnodar in the round of 32. This time around they will need a small miracle if they are to emulate that campaign's eventual run to the last eight.
• Rostov hold all the aces in this UEFA Europa League tie after putting four unanswered goals past Sparta in Rostov-on-Don. Admittedly, the visitors had Tiémoko Konaté sent off after only 32 minutes. It was Rostov's biggest ever win in a UEFA club competition.
• The clubs met for the first time in the 16 February first leg – Rostov's successful first encounter with Czech opposition.
• Sparta's 14 UEFA fixtures against Russian teams have now ended W4 D5 L5 (W3 D2 L2 in Prague). In contrast with their 4-0 reversal this time, they beat Rostov's domestic rivals Krasnodar 4-0 on aggregate in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32.
• Sparta are unbeaten in five European home matches this season – a draw followed by four wins.
• Rostov are without a victory in four European games on their travels (D2 L2).
• Sparta made it to the quarter-finals last term, losing to Villarreal. They have never reached a major UEFA final but got to the last four of the 1972/73 European Cup Winners' Cup.
• Rostov are making their first appearance in the spring phase of a European competition. This is the 12th fixture of their longest European campaign to date, UEFA Champions League assignments included.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Rostov to Prague is around 1,800km.
• Rostov, having transferred from the UEFA Champions League, became the 190th club to participate in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final. Their debut victory over Sparta marked an unhappy 47th appearance in the competition for the Czech oufit.
• An 87th-minute substitute, Sparta forward David Lafata made his 50th UEFA club competition outing in the first leg.
• Sparta's Bořek Dočkal tops the competition's assists rankings this season with six; he had a hand in three-quarters of his side's eight group stage goals.
• Sparta boast Russian talent in the form of Under-21 international defender Vyacheslav Karavaev. The 21-year-old started out at home-town club CSKA Moskva but has spent the bulk of his career in the Czech Republic with Dukla Praha, Jablonec and – since last summer – Sparta.
• These teams have a couple of former players in common: Jan Holenda (Sparta 2004–10, Rostov 2012–14) and Martin Horák (Sparta 2002, Rostov 2005 and 2007).
• Tomáš Požár was appointed Sparta coach during the winter break, with stand-in boss David Holoubek returning to his erstwhile role as assistant coach. The 41-year-old Požar – once a defender with Sparta – had previously been the club's chief scout and sporting director.
• Ivan Daniliants took over at Rostov in September 2016, having been on the club's coaching staff since December 2014. He played in his native Turkmenistan and Moldova, and was in charge of a number of Moldovan sides – and the national team – before joining Rostov.
• Sparta's record in two UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L1:
L 3-1 H v Dynamo Kyiv (1998/99 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round)
W 4-3 A v Odense (2007/08 UEFA Cup first round)
• Rostov have yet to feature in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.
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