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Maribor look to buck trend against Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur FC have drawn all of their Group J games so far and must avoid defeat by NK Maribor if they are to maintain English clubs' unbeaten record against Slovenian sides.

Gylfi Sigurdsson (centre) earned Tottenham a share of the spoils away to Maribor
Gylfi Sigurdsson (centre) earned Tottenham a share of the spoils away to Maribor ©AFP/Getty Images

The onus is on Tottenham Hotspur FC to preserve English clubs' unbeaten record against Slovenian opponents when they welcome NK Maribor to White Hart Lane on matchday four.

• Maribor were on course to spring a notable surprise last time out but had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Spurs. Though Robert Berić gave the Slovenian side the lead just before half-time, Gylfi Sigurdsson ensured the spoils were shared.

• Maribor are second in UEFA Europa League Group J, a point behind leaders S.S. Lazio and a point ahead of Tottenham.

Previous meetings
• The teams met for the first time in UEFA club competition on matchday three.

• 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 prior to matchday three came in the 1995 UEFA Intertoto Cup group stage, when they won 2-1 at NK Rudar Velenje.

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

Match background
• Tottenham have only won two of their last seven European home games, with that run including defeats against Real Madrid CF (1-0) and PAOK FC (2-1).

• Maribor's 3-0 triumph over Panathinaikos FC on matchday one was their first victory in seven UEFA Europa League group stage fixtures. They recorded a draw and five defeats in last season's competition proper.

Team facts
• Tottenham are within two goals of their 200th in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League – this is their 98th game in the competition.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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, NK Primorje and ND Gorica before switching to Maribor, where he has won three league titles.

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