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.
Article top media content
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.
• Matchday one was the Russian club's first game against Slovenian opposition.
• 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 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.
• 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.