Wolfsburg are already through to the knockout phase while Saint-Étienne are playing their last European game of 2019/20.
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Wolfsburg host Saint-Étienne knowing that they are through to the knockout phase of the UEFA Europa League while their opponents will be playing their final European encounter of the season.
• The German side booked their round of 32 berth with a 1-0 win at Olexandriya on Matchday 5 – their eighth successive UEFA Europa League away game without defeat – thanks to Wout Weghorst's penalty in first-half added time. The Ukrainian club are the only opponents that Wolfsburg have beaten in Group I – they were also 3-1 victors at home on Matchday 1 – but the Bundesliga club's tally of eight points is four more than third-placed St-Étienne have managed, the French side having drawn every game since opening with a 3-2 defeat at Gent, who are also through and top the group with nine points.
• In order to dislodge Gent from top spot and qualify as group winners Wolfsburg must beat St-Étienne and hope that the Belgian side do not follow suit in their final fixture at home to bottom-placed Olexandriya.
• The teams met for the first time in UEFA competition on Matchday 2, drawing 1-1 at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard. Both goals were scored early on by defenders, Timothée Kolodziejczak's 13th-minute opener for St-Étienne prompting a swift response from Wolfsburg's Willian.
• Wolfsburg have won only once in six home games against French visitors (D3 L2), the first of those, against Sedan (2-1) in the 2000 UEFA Intertoto Cup. Home and away their record against French opposition is W2 D6 L5.
• This is St-Étienne's 21st match against German opposition, the previous 20 having brought just three wins (D8 L9). They have lost seven of their nine away matches, though gained a first draw on the most recent visit, 1-1 at Mainz in the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League group stage thanks to a late Robert Berić equaliser. Les Verts were also defeated by German opposition in the 1976 European Cup final, going down 1-0 to Bayern München in Glasgow.
• A sixth-placed finish in last season's Bundesliga ensured Wolfsburg direct entry into the group stage and a first European adventure since they reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2015/16.
• The German club are competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for a second time, their 2014/15 campaign having ended in the quarter-finals at the hands of Napoli. They also reached the last eight in the competition's inaugural 2009/10 season having finished third in their UEFA Champions League section.
• Quarter-finalists therefore in each of their last three European campaigns, Wolfsburg won all five home fixtures in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League and have a UEFA Europa League home record of W6 D1 L4, losing the most recent of those fixtures 1-3 to Gent on Matchday 4.
• Absent from Europe since they reached the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League round of 32, St-Étienne returned by finishing fourth in Ligue 1 last term to secure a fourth group stage appearance in this competition.
• Unable to get out of their group in 2014/15, when they drew their first five matches and lost the last, they were successful in both 2015/16 and 2016/17 before exiting both times at the round of 32 stage, latterly to eventual winners Manchester United (0-3 a, 0-1 h).
• Les Verts were on a run of ten UEFA Europa League group fixtures undefeated (W5 D5), including five outside France (W3 D2), before their Matchday 1 reverse at Gent. They have drawn 14 of their 22 group stage fixtures, home and away, in this competition, including all of the last four and those five on the trot in 2014/15.
Links and trivia
• Wolfsburg skipper Josuha Guilavogui started his career with St-Étienne, making over 100 appearances for the club from 2010 to 2014.
• Guilavogui played for Les Verts alongside Loïc Perrin, Stéphane Ruffier, Jessy Moulin and Romain Hamouma.
• Wolfsburg's Marcel Tisserand (Monaco, Lens, Toulouse) and Jérôme Roussillon (Sochaux, Montpellier) have both played in Ligue 1.
• Austrian coach Oliver Glasner signed a three-year contract in the spring of 2019 to succeed Bruno Labbadia at Wolfsburg. He arrived in Germany with a growing reputation having led LASK Linz to a runners-up spot in the Austrian Bundesliga just two seasons after steering the club to promotion from the second tier. A former centre-back, Glasner spent virtually his entire career with Ried, with whom he won the Austrian Cup twice, in 1998 and 2011. He also spent a season as the club's coach before joining LASK in 2015.
• The experienced Claude Puel replaced Ghislain Printant as St-Étienne boss on 4 October, returning to Ligue 1 after spells in the English Premier League at Southampton and Leicester City following his departure from Nice in 2017. A former midfielder who accumulated over 600 appearances in all competitions during his 17 seasons at Monaco, he led the Principality side to the French league title in 1999/2000 and as coach of LOSC Lille and Lyon guided the teams into the UEFA Champions League, reaching the semi-finals with the latter in 2009/10.