UEFA Europa League - 2020/21 SeasonMatch press kits
|AC Sparta Praha||Stadion Letná - PragueThursday 22 October 2020|
21.00CET (21.00 local time) Group H - Matchday 1
Sparta Praha and LOSC Lille both get their 2020/21 European campaigns under way as the UEFA Europa League Group H rivals meet in the Czech capital with the French side hoping to bring a long winless European run to an end in the city where they recorded their biggest continental victory.
• The clubs have never met in UEFA competition.
• Sparta have won only one of their four home matches against French visitors – the first, 2-1 against Marseille in the second round of the 1991/92 European Cup. Since then they have lost one and drawn two, including the most recent, 1-1 against Lyon on Matchday 5 of the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League group stage.
• LOSC's only previous experience of Czech opposition was a couple of comprehensive wins against Sparta's city rivals Slavia Praha (5-1 a, 3-1 h) in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage. That victory in Prague remains the French club's biggest, home and away, in UEFA competition.
• Sparta won the 2019/20 Czech Cup, beating Slovan Liberec 2-1 in the final, to qualify for the UEFA Europa League group stage, where they are appearing for the seventh time, the first under new coach Václav Kotal. They have made it through to the knockout phase in four of their previous six participations, reaching the quarter-finals in 2015/16.
• This is the club's 38th successive European campaign but their first in a group stage since 2016/17, when they finished top of a UEFA Europa League section containing Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Southampton and Internazionale before going out in the round of 32 to Rostov (0-4 a, 1-1 h). Since then Sparta have been eliminated on entry in the UEFA Europa League qualifying phase three summers running, going out last season to Trabzonspor in the second qualifying round (2-2 h, 1-2 a).
• Sparta have lost only one of their 18 UEFA Europa League home group games (W11 D6) and are currently on a 15-match unbeaten run, registering three wins out of three in Prague on their last appearance in 2016/17.
• LOSC are back in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the fourth time thanks to the fourth place they occupied when last season's Ligue 1 campaign ended in March. Christophe Galtier's side also competed in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League, finishing bottom of a group containing Chelsea, Valencia and Ajax.
• The club from northern France last participated in the UEFA Europa League group stage in 2014/15, when they failed to win a game (D4 L2). Their other two group campaigns, in 2009/10 and 2010/11, were more successful as they reached the knockout phase on both occasions.
• Les Dogues have failed to win any of their last 17 European fixtures. They are without an away win in eight (D2 L6) since a 2-0 success at Grasshoppers in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. In the UEFA Europa League group stage their away record is W1 D4 L4, with no wins in the last eight matches.
Links and trivia
• Sparta's Ondřej Čelůstka was in the Slavia side that lost 3-1 in Lille in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage; he missed the earlier 5-1 defeat.
• LOSC's Burak Yılmaz scored for Turkey against Czech Republic in the UEFA EURO 2016 group stage, helping his country to a 2-0 win in Lens against a side featuring Sparta's Bořek Dočkal.
• While Sparta's seventh appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage is the most made by a Czech club, LOSC's fourth participation matches the French record jointly held by Bordeaux, Marseille and St-Étienne.