Qarabağ and Dudelange meet in Baku knowing that this will be their last fixture of a 14-match European campaign.
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Qarabağ and Dudelange meet in Baku knowing that this will be their last fixture of a 14-match European campaign that started back in early July in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. The elimination of both clubs was confirmed on Matchday 5.
• Qarabağ have four points from their five matches, one more than Dudelange, who are on a run of four successive defeats since beating APOEL 4-3 in Nicosia on Matchday 1. The champions of Azerbaijan are yet to win at home in Group A, having lost 0-3 to Sevilla and drawn 2-2 against APOEL.
• Three of Qarabağ's four points came at Dudelange's expense when the clubs met in Luxembourg on Matchday 2, the visitors coasting to a 4-1 win – their biggest in a European group game.
• The clubs first faced each other three seasons ago in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round. Gurban Gurbanov's Qarabağ won the home leg 2-0 with a double from Richard Almeida – a scorer again on Matchday 2 – before clinching qualification with a 1-1 draw in Dudelange's Stade Jos Nosbaum.
• Those were the only matches Dudelange had played against opposition from Azerbaijan prior to this season and also Qarabağ's sole previous encounters against a team from Luxembourg.
• Qarabağ were crowned champions of Azerbaijan for the sixth season running in 2018/19 – and seventh overall – having finished eight points clear of runners-up Neftçi. They also made it to a fifth successive European group stage, in the UEFA Europa League, but lost five of their six matches.
• This season, as in 2018/19, Qarabağ began their European journey in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round but were eliminated two rounds later by future Group A rivals APOEL (2-1 a, 0-2 h) before an away-goals win against Linfield in the UEFA Europa League play-offs (2-3 a, 2-1 h). They have still never managed to extend their European involvement into the spring.
• Qarabağ have won none of their last nine home European group games, losing seven, the exceptions a 0-0 stalemate against Atlético Madrid in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League and this season's draw against APOEL. They lost all three last season, suffering their heaviest European home defeat as they went down 6-1 in Baku to Sporting CP.
• The premier force in Luxembourg since the turn of the millennium, Dudelange won their 15th national championship last season to make it four in a row. They also shone in continental competition, becoming the first club from Luxembourg to reach a European group stage when they beat CFR Cluj home and away in the UEFA Europa League play-offs.
• Like last season, Dudelange lost their UEFA Champions League first qualifying round tie – albeit only on away goals to Valletta (2-2 h, 1-1 a) – but once again impressed in the UEFA Europa League preliminaries, eliminating Shkëndija of North Macedonia and Estonia's Nõmme Kalju before seeing off Ararat-Armenia on penalties in the play-offs.
• The Matchday 1 victory at APOEL was their third outside Luxembourg this season (D1 L2) and also ended a run of three successive away defeats in the group stage. Dudelange have conceded 19 goals in their five away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League proper, letting in at least three in every game.
Links and trivia
• Qarabağ midfielder Míchel's next appearance in UEFA club competition will be his 50th.
• Qarabağ and Dudelange are their respective countries' sole autumn European representatives for the second season in succession.
• Of all the clubs to have appeared twice in the UEFA Europa League group stage, only one, Gabala, have a worse record in the competition than Dudelange. Qarabağ's domestic rivals collected just two points from their two campaigns – two fewer than the team from Luxembourg.
• Dudelange have conceded 17 goals in their first five matches – more than any other side in this season's competition. The record number of goals conceded in a UEFA Europa League group stage is 20, by Slovan Bratislava (2014/15) and Vardar (2017/18).
• Targeting a seventh successive title, Qarabağ lead their domestic league by six points ahead of second-placed Neftçi going into the winter break.
• Qarabağ boss Gurban Gurbanov is Azerbaijan's highest-scoring international with 12 goals in 64 matches. While he regularly changed club as a player, he celebrated 11 years as head coach of Qarabağ in August 2019, during which time he has led the club to six successive national league titles, four Azerbaijani Cups and European group stage involvement in each of the last six seasons, including a maiden UEFA Champions League adventure in 2017/18. He doubled up as the coach of Azerbaijan from January to December 2018.
• Bertrand Crasson stepped into the breach as Dudelange head coach ahead of Matchday 1 after his compatriot Emilio Ferrera's short reign ended on 17 September. A defender during his playing days, Crasson won 26 caps for Belgium and appeared at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, while also enjoying lengthy stints at Anderlecht either side of a two-year stay in Italy with Napoli. He joined Dudelange's coaching staff in September 2019, swiftly finding himself in temporary charge following Ferrera's departure.