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Steaua steeled for Sevilla visit

Only victory against Sevilla FC will be sufficient to maintain interest in this season's competition for FC Steaua Bucureşti after three straight defeats.

Three successive Group H defeats have left FC Steaua Bucureşti with little margin for error as they prepare for the return fixture with a Sevilla FC side who defeated them at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán on 23 October. Only a victory will be sufficient to maintain interest in this season's UEFA Champions League for the Romanian side.

• Sevilla's stadium had proved the stage for Steaua's finest hour – their triumph in the 1985/86 European Champion Clubs' Cup final against FC Barcelona on penalties – but they failed to repeat the trick on Matchday 3, falling behind to goals from Frédéric Kanouté and Luis Fabiano inside the opening 18 minutes.

• Last season's Liga 1 runners-up rallied and reduced the deficit through Ovidiu Petre's second-half strike but were unable to find an equaliser and are still looking for their first point in the competition. They began with a 2-1 loss away to SK Slavia Praha in which Dorin Goian scored and were then thwarted by Robin van Persie, who gave Arsenal FC a 1-0 win at the Steaua Stadium.

• Steaua have not won for eight UEFA Champions League outings – not including qualifying ties – and they know it is a case of now or never as they try and achieve what has proved beyond them in their previous four participations in Europe's premier club competition: namely a place in the knockout rounds.

• They have faced Spanish teams on many occasions on the European stage and in the European Cup have never beaten a side from that country apart from that memorable night in Seville 21 years ago. In Bucharest they drew 1-1 with Club Atlético de Madrid in the 1996/97 group stage and lost 4-1 at home to Real Madrid CF in the equivalent stage of the 2006/07 edition. That reverse was part of a run of five successive defeats, home and away, against Spanish teams while at home they have not won in four attempts, a sequence in which they have scored just once. They last celebrated victory in a home game when Valencia CF were in Romania for a UEFA Cup Round of 32 game in 2004/05.

• With Slavia losing away to Arsenal on 23 October Sevilla were left with a three-point advantage in second place and will be hoping to stretch that lead further in this return fixture with Steaua. They might have wondered what their debut UEFA Champions League season had in store for them when it began with a 3-0 defeat away to Arsenal but a 4-2 victory against Slavia, in which Kanouté and Fabiano were also on target, made them feel much more at home in this élite company and their qualifying prospects look strong.

• They will be buoyed before this encounter by the happy memory of a victory in Bucharest against these opponents. They met in last season's UEFA Cup Round of 32 when Sevilla comfortably had the better of things on their way to retaining the trophy, winning 2-0 through Christian Poulsen and a Kanouté penalty. They followed it up with a victory in the home leg thanks to Aleksandr Kerzhakov's goal.

• In the other game in the group Slavia entertain Arsenal.