Matchday 3 wake-up call for Atlético

The holders have yet to win in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage, with Sporting Clube de Portugal and FC Zenit St. Petersburg the stars going into Matchday 3.

Atlético have one point from two games thus far
Atlético have one point from two games thus far ©Getty Images

Last season's UEFA Europa League winners Club Atlético de Madrid will look to secure a first group stage victory on Matchday 3, with Sporting Clube de Portugal and FC Zenit St. Petersburg having set a fearsome pace elsewhere.

Quique Sánchez Flores's men beat Fulham FC in the final last May and then overcame FC Internazionale Milano in the UEFA Super Cup, but have just a point to show for their first two Group B games. They welcome a Rosenborg BK side who – perhaps reassuringly for the hosts –have won only once in eight visits to Spain.

If Los Colchoneros have not made a confident start, then Sporting and Zenit have been flying with seven group stage goals apiece making them the competition's top scorers. The Portuguese team go into their Group C home match against KAA Gent two goals shy of their 200th in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League; on current form, they should reach that milestone fast. Russian league leaders Zenit will aim to keep the goals flowing at home to HNK Hajduk Split in Group G.

PFC CSKA Moskva are a goal off that pace with six from two outings, yet remain on target to equal their 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage haul when they won every game, averaging three strikes in each. As CSKA travel to US Città di Palermo in Group F, the Italian club ought to note that Leonid Slutski's side have stamina in spades: five of their six goals have come in the last 30 minutes of matches.

VfB Stuttgart top Group H, going into their meeting with guests Getafe CF on the back of successive victories, yet parted company with coach Christian Gross having hit the bottom of the Bundesliga. FC Dynamo Kyiv are also in flux, with coach Valeri Gazzaev having been cast aside in advance of their Group E fixture at AZ Alkmaar.

In Group I, on-song Hungarian striker Balázs Dzsudzsák returns to former employers Debreceni VSC with PSV Eindhoven, while Group K leaders Liverpool FC – beset by off-field intrigue in recent weeks – visit an SSC Napoli side featuring their ex left-back Andrea Dossena. Finally, Sevilla FC goalkeeper Andrés Palop has extra reason to hope his team's Group J outing to FC Karpaty Lviv goes well; he celebrates his 37th birthday the day after.

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