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Spartak Moskva aim to up the ante against Maribor

Spartak Moskva cannot be eliminated whatever their result on matchday five, but three points at home to Maribor would put them in a strong position to progress.

Spartak Moskva celebrate their matchday three win
Spartak Moskva celebrate their matchday three win ©AFP/Getty Images

FC Spartak Moskva will look to put pressure on the top two in Group E when they entertain NK Maribor in the penultimate round of fixtures.

• Spartak are third in the standings on five points, two behind second-placed Sevilla FC and three adrift of Liverpool FC, with those teams meeting in Spain on matchday five.

Spartak cannot be eliminated whatever their result and will ensure at least third spot with a draw.

• Maribor have picked up only one point from their first four fixtures, and must win while hoping Sevilla lose to stay in contention for a top-two finish. They will finish fourth if they fail to win.

Match background

• Matchday one was the Russian club's first game against Slovenian opposition.

• Spartak have earned four points at home in Group E, following a 1-1 draw against Liverpool with a 5-1 thrashing of Sevilla, their biggest win in the UEFA Champions League.

• That was Spartak's only win in their last 11 European fixtures, home and away, since a 2-1 victory over SL Benfica on 23 October 2012 (D4 L6).

• Before the Liverpool draw, Spartak had lost their previous three European home matches; they have now lost four of the last seven. They have won just five of their last 19 UEFA home games, losing 11.

• This is Spartak's 12th group stage campaign, and first since 2012/13, when they came fourth in a section also including FC Barcelona, Benfica and Celtic FC. They have not graced the last 16 since 2000/01, when they reached the second group stage.

• On each of their last two group stage appearances, in 2010/11 and 2012/13, Spartak lost two home fixtures and won the other.

• The Moscow club qualified automatically for the group stage by lifting their 22nd league title in 2016/17. Last term, their European challenge ended at the first hurdle, with defeat by AEK Larnaca FC in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.

• The Slovenian champions have lost both away games 3-0, going down at Sevilla on matchday two and Liverpool last time out. They have lost their last three UEFA Champions League matches, home and away.

• Maribor have now lost four of their last six European away games (W2). However, they have lost just five of their last 16 UEFA matches, home and away (W6 D5).

• Maribor's sole victory in the UEFA Champions League proper, group stage to final, came away from home with a 1-0 success at FC Dynamo Kyiv on their debut in September 1999. Their away record since reads D2 L5.

• The only previous time Maribor travelled to Russia, they drew 1-1 at FC Rubin Kazan in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League group stage. They had crashed 5-2 at home.

• The Slovenes are in the group stage for a third time, having previously competed in 1999/2000 and 2014/15. In that latter group appearance they drew 1-1 at FC Schalke 04 and lost at both Sporting Clube de Portugal (1-3) and Chelsea FC (0-6 – their biggest away defeat in the competition).

• Maribor qualified for this season's UEFA Champions League by winning a sixth Slovenian title in seven seasons in 2016/17. In Europe last term, they beat PFC Levski Sofia and Aberdeen FC before losing to Gabala SC in the UEFA Europa League play-offs.

• Maribor got to the current group stage by overcoming HŠK Zrinjski of Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-2 on aggregate in the second qualifying round (2-1 away, 1-1 home) and Iceland's FH Hafnarfjördur in the next round (1-0 home, 1-0 away). In the play-offs they went down 2-1 at Hapoel Beer-Sheva FC in the first leg but progressed on away goals thanks to a 1-0 home success.

Coach and player links
• Marko Šuler played all 180 minutes in the 2010 FIFA World Cup play-offs as Slovenia lost 2-1 in Russia before securing a 1-0 home success in the second leg to qualify for the finals.

Match facts

• Georgi Dzhikiya serves a one-match suspension.

• Spartak's matchday four reverse at Sevilla FC is their only defeat in 16 matches in all competitions.

• Spartak are on a ten-match unbeaten run in the league, winning five of those games.

• In Saturday's 4-1 win at FC Krasnodar, Quincy Promes got his eighth league goal of the season and Luiz Adriano struck twice to move on to six.

• Ivelin Popov scored the only goal in Bulgaria's friendly 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia on 13 November.

• Roman Zobnin, out since the beginning of June with a knee ligament injury, came off the bench at half-time on Saturday at Krasnodar.

• Aleksandr Samedov, Jano Ananidze, Artem Timofeev and Georgi Tigiev are still sidelined.

• Including the final two games of last season, Maribor are 18 league matches unbeaten (W13 D5).

• Maribor have won their last five away matches in the league, scoring 14 goals.

• Maribor have lost two of their last six games in all competitions 3-0, winning the other four without conceding.

• Maribor suffered their worst domestic defeat in over two years on 11 November, going down 3-0 at NK Olimpija Ljubljana in the Slovenian Cup quarter-final first leg. The return takes place on 29 November.

• Marcos Tavares struck his first hat-trick since 2013 as Maribor beat NK Krško 5-0 on 4 November.

• Jasmin Mešanović has scored seven goals in his last 11 domestic matches.