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Maribor looking to measure up to Lazio

NK Maribor were beaten heavily the last time they met S.S. Lazio, and the clubs' Group J encounter gives the Slovenian champions a chance to measure their progress since.

Tavares (right) helped Maribor defeat Panathinaikos on matchday one
Tavares (right) helped Maribor defeat Panathinaikos on matchday one ©AFP/Getty Images

Slovenian champions NK Maribor will look to demonstrate how far they have come since 1999 as they take on S.S. Lazio in UEFA Europa League Group J.

Previous meetings
• Bojan Prašnikar's Maribor lost 4-0 home and away to a Lazio side coached by Sven-Göran Eriksson in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League first group stage.

• The teams for their first meeting in Rome on 29 September 1999 – in which Maribor's Geri Çipi was sent off after 19 minutes – were:
Lazio: Marchegiani, Negro, Sensini, Conceição, Mancini, Mihajlović (Almeyda 72), Nesta, Pancaro, Lombardo (Verón 23), Stanković (Salas 45), Inzaghi.
Maribor: Simeunović, Vugdalič, Sešlar, Židan (Pregelj 81), Karić, Šimundža (Šarkezi 45), Çipi, Balajić, Djuranovič, Galič, Bozgo (Filipovič 68).

• That 4-0 loss remains Maribor's heaviest European home defeat.

• The teams for the return leg in Slovenia on 19 October 1999 were:
Maribor: Simeunović, Vugdalič, Sešlar (Dragusha 84), Židan, Karić, Šimundža (Pregelj 78), Balajić, Djuranovič, Galič, Bozgo (Filipovič 61), Šarkezi.
Lazio: Ballotta, Favalli, Sensini, Conceição (Marcolin 75), Mihajlović, Nesta (Couto 18), Simeone, Pancaro, Nedvěd (Gottardi 70), Stanković, Inzaghi.

• Simone Inzaghi, who scored three goals over the two legs, coaches Lazio's Under-16 team.

Match background
• In addition to those games against Maribor, Lazio won both legs of their UEFA Europa League play-off against ND Mura 05 this season, and have thus triumphed in all four of their fixtures against Slovenian sides.

• Maribor have played four further games against Italian clubs since first meeting Lazio, with their overall record versus Serie A teams reading: W1 D1 L4 (W1 D1 L1 at home – W0 D0 L3 in Italy).

• Lazio are unbeaten in three European games this season and have won four of their last six UEFA engagements in Rome.

• This is Lazio's fourth attempt at this group stage; they failed to reach the knockout phase in their first two campaigns, but finally made it to the last 32 in 2011/12, losing to eventual winners Club Atlético de Madrid.

• Maribor are returning to the group stage for a second season, having failed to reach the knockout phase in their maiden effort in 2011/12.

• Maribor failed to win in six group stage games last term, recording a draw and five defeats. Their 3-0 triumph over Panathinaikos FC on matchday one ended an 11-game wait for a UEFA group stage victory, stretching back to a 1-0 success at FC Dynamo Kyiv in their opening encounter of the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League first group stage.

Team facts
• Maribor's Željko Filipovič celebrates his 24th birthday on the eve of the game.

• Maribor goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovič has recent experience in Italian football: he represented Mantova FC (2007–10) and Empoli FC (2010–11) in Serie B. His cousin, Samir Handanovič, now plays in goal for FC Internazionale Milano, and represented Lazio on loan in 2006.

• Maribor's 3-0 win against Panathinaikos FC on matchday one matched their best home victory in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League.

• This is Maribor's 100th UEFA club competition game; their previous 99 have ended W41 D17 L41.

• Lazio's coach since June has been Vladimir Petković, who won a Yugoslavian title as a midfielder with hometown club FK Sarajevo in 1984/85 before moving to Switzerland, where he played at a modest level and coached the likes of AC Bellinzona, BSC Young Boys and FC Sion, as well as moving to Turkey to take charge of Samsunspor.

• Maribor coach Darko Milanič was a defender for Yugoslavia and Slovenia, spending his club career with FK Partizan and SK Sturm Graz. After captaining Slovenia at UEFA EURO 2000, he moved into coaching with NK Izola and NK Primorje, and won the 2007/08 Slovenian title with ND Gorica before switching to Maribor, where he has won two further national crowns.