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Maribor banking on home form against Tottenham

NK Maribor will rely on their home form to get a positive result from their Group J meeting with Tottenham Hotspur FC, though they will be aware the English club have travelled well of late.

Maribor have been tough to beat on home soil
Maribor have been tough to beat on home soil ©Drago Wernig/Taka

NK Maribor will look to reprise their matchday one performance in UEFA Europa League Group J as Tottenham Hotspur FC head east with half an eye on a competition scoring milestone.

Previous meetings
• The teams are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competititon.

• Maribor got a first taste of English opposition last season, when they lost 2-1 at home and 1-0 away to Birmingham City FC in the UEFA Europa League group stage.

• Spurs' only fixture against a Slovenian side came in the 1995 UEFA Intertoto Cup group stage, when they won 2-1 at NK Rudar Velenje.

Of the five games played between English and Slovenian clubs in UEFA competition, the Premier League team has won four. The only time a Slovenian side have avoided defeat was when NK Olimpija Ljubljana drew 1-1 at home against Liverpool FC in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup first round.

Match background
• Maribor have won three of their four European home games this season by three-goal margins, with 4-1 victories against FK Željezničar and F91 Dudelange preceding a 1-0 defeat by GNK Dinamo Zagreb. They then prevailed 3-0 against Panathinaikos FC in their Group J opener.

• Tottenham have lost only one of their last five European away games – 1-0 at FC Rubin Kazan in the 2011/12 group stage – keeping clean sheets in three of those fixtures.

Team facts
• Spurs need three more goals to reach 200 in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League – this is their 97th game in the competitions.

• Spurs forward Jermain Defoe scored the winning goal in both of England's games against Slovenia at senior international level: a 2-1 2009 friendly win and a 1-0 victory at the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa. Aaron Lennon featured in the first of those games and was an unused subtitute for the latter.

• 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.

• Tottenham manager André Villas-Boas received his first break in coaching as a teenager from then FC Porto boss Sir Bobby Robson, and later assisted José Mourinho at Porto, Chelsea FC and FC Internazionale Milano, before striking out alone at A. Académica de Coimbra and then leading Porto to a domestic double and the UEFA Cup in 2010/11. A move to Chelsea that summer proved to be ill-fated, but he took charge at Spurs in July 2012.

• This is FARE Action Week, with UEFA giving its support to Europe's biggest anti-discrimination campaign. There are activities before each UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League game which will be witnessed by thousands of fans in the stadiums and millions on television. A 30-second RESPECT TV spot and announcements over stadium loudspeakers will encourage fans to join the UEFA family in its call to unite against racism in football. Every team will be accompanied on to the pitch by children wearing Unite Against Racism T-shirts and captains will be asked to wear a Unite Against Racism armband.

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