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Bulgaria v Azerbaijan background

A 2-1 win in Azerbaijan in their opening qualifying Group H game will offer some encouragement for Bulgaria as they seek to secure their first home victory in the section.

Preview: European qualifiers on 13 October ©AFP/Getty Images

Bulgaria will look to secure a first qualifying Group H home win at the fifth and final attempt as Azerbaijan's senior national team make their first trip to Sofia.

• Bulgaria's slim qualifying hopes were ended by a 3-0 loss in Croatia on 10 October, and they will finish fourth in the section if they avoid defeat against Azerbaijan. The visitors will finish a point above their opponents if they win; otherwise, they will end in fifth position.

Previous meetings
• Ventsislav Hristov's header three minutes from time earned Bulgaria a 2-1 victory in Azerbaijan on 9 September 2014.

• The teams' only previous meeting had been a 0-0 friendly draw in Baku on 17 November 2004. Home coach Carlos Alberto Torres handed debuts to Rauf Mekhtiev, Daniel Akhtyamov and Elmar Bakhshiev, but there were to be no goals against a Bulgarian XI led by Hristo Stoichkov.

Form guide
• Bulgaria are yet to win a Group H home game (D2 L2); they are without a victory in five competitive home matches in total (D2 L3).

• Azerbaijan are without a win in 14 competitive away games (D5 L9) since a 2-0 success in Liechtenstein on 10 October 2009.

• The latest booking list is available here:

Trivia and links
• The contest is taking place the day after Azerbaijan midfielder Gara Garayev's 23rd birthday.

• Clubs from Azerbaijan and Bulgaria have met in four men's UEFA competition games, with clubs from Bulgaria having the record W2 D1 L1. In the most recent encounters, PFC Levski Sofia eliminated Bakı FK from the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, winning 2-0 at home after a scoreless draw in Baku.

• The sides' three meetings in UEFA age-group competitions have ended all square, both sides having the record W1 D1 L1. Most recently, Bulgaria beat Azerbaijan 4-1 in Under-17 qualifying in 2012.

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