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AZ at risk as Metalist head west

With AZ Alkmaar holding a two-point cushion in second place, they need a win against Group G leaders FC Metalist Kharkiv to seal progress; dropping points could let in FK Austria Wien.

AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek pictured in his side's first meeting with Metalist
AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek pictured in his side's first meeting with Metalist ©Getty Images

AZ Alkmaar have some cause for concern as they take on Group G leaders FC Metalist Kharkiv with a UEFA Europa League round of 32 place at stake.

• AZ are two points clear of third-placed FK Austria Wien but a defeat – or even a draw – against Metalist could let Karl Daxbacher's Austria progress in their place, provided the Vienna club win at home against bottom side Malmö FF.

Previous meetings
• Jozy Altidore fired AZ ahead (26) in the first half when the teams first met on matchday two, but Metalist were rewarded for a much-improved showing after the interval, Taison's 76th-minute effort earning a share of the points.

• That game took place on AZ captain Niklas Moisander's 26th birthday.

• AZ's six games against Ukrainian opponents ended W3 D1 L2 (W1 D0 L1 in Alkmaar). They came up against FC Dynamo Kyiv in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage, losing 2-1 at home and 2-0 away.

• Metalist have played five games against Dutch sides with the record W0 D3 L2 (W0 D1 L1 in the Netherlands, where they have yet to score). They met PSV Eindhoven in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage, losing 2-0 at home but drawing 0-0 away.

Match background
• While they have now lost at home to Everton FC and Dynamo, both in the group stage of this competition, AZ still boast an impressive European home record of W30 D13 L2. They were unbeaten at home for 30 years – and 31 games – in Europe before a 3-2 UEFA Cup group stage loss to Everton on 20 December 2007.

• Metalist are now the top scorers in the group stage with 14 goals in their five matches. Five of those goals have gone in in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

• Metalist have won their last three European away games, scoring ten goals and conceding just two. They have never lost away from home in seven UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage games, winning five and drawing two.

Team facts
• AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek spent most of his playing career as a defender at sc Heerenveen barring a season on loan at Heracles Almelo in 1986/87. He has twice coached Heracles (2001-04 & 2009-10) either side of stints in charge of Heerenveen (2004-08) and, briefly, Feyenoord in 2008/09. AZ brought him in at the start of 2010/11.

• Metalist coach Myron Markevich is a keen student of the game – he has made trips to study Fabio Capello, Christoph Daum and Carlo Ancelotti – and is also an able pianist. Having been in charge of Metalist since 2005, he was also named Ukraine coach on his 59th birthday in February 2010 but stepped down that August to focus solely on his club duties.