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Stuttgart aiming to avoid Molde mishap

Molde FK may be destined to finish bottom of Group E, but the Norwegian champions can still have a say in who progresses when they travel to VfB Stuttgart.

Bruno Labbadia's Stuttgart control their UEFA Europa League destiny
Bruno Labbadia's Stuttgart control their UEFA Europa League destiny ©Getty Images

VfB Stuttgart will look to confirm their UEFA Europa League progress as they face the Norwegian champions in Group E with Molde FK sure to finish bottom of Group E.

Group E permutations
• FC Steaua Bucureşti would be through with a win, draw or if they lose by a one-goal margin other than 1-0 (the score by which they beat FC København at home). Any other defeat and they would need Stuttgart to drop points.

Stuttgart will be through with a victory or if FCK fail to win.

FCK would be through if they win 1-0 or by a two-goal margin. If they triumph by a one-goal margin other than 1-0, they need Stuttgart to draw or lose. FCK are out if they draw or lose.

Molde are out.

Previous meetings
• This will be the sides' fourth meeting, with the previous three having left the sides with near identical records: W1 D1 L1, though Molde are now 6-5 ahead on goal difference.

• Molde won 2-0 when the sides met on matchday two; substitute Jo Inge Berget opened the scoring before Daniel Chima sealed victory late on. That win gave Molde their only Group E points to date.

• Christian Gross's Stuttgart denied Kjell Jonevret's Molde a place in the 2010/11 UEFA Cup group stage, beating them 5-4 on aggregate in a tight third qualifying round tie.

• The teams for their first meeting in Norway, a 3-2 Stuttgart win on 29 July 2010 were:
Molde: Lillebakk, Andreasson, Holm, Hestad* (Skjølsvik 79), Thioune (Emil Johansson 65), Moström* (Runström 86), Hoseth*, Magne Simonsen*, Fall, Rindarøy*, Forren*.
Stuttgart: Ulreich*, Molinaro*, Niedermeier*, Kuzmanović*, Marica, Gebhart, Rudy (Didavi* 72), Gentner*, Celozzi, Pogrebnyak (Boka 79), Träsch (Funk 79).

• Molde took a 2-0 lead in the return fixture, but were held 2-2 on 5 August 2010. The teams were:
Stuttgart: Ulreich*, Molinaro*, Niedermeier*, Kuzmanović*, Marica (Harnik* 86), Gebhart, Funk (Boulahrouz 61), Rudy (Didavi* 71), Gentner*, Pogrebnyak, Träsch.
Molde: Lillebakk, Andreasson, Hestad*, Thioune (Holm 79), Moström* (Skjølsvik 89), Hoseth*, Emil Johansson (Diouf* 86), Magne Simonsen*, Fall, Rindarøy*, Forren*.
* registered to play in 2012/13.

Match background
• The two sides have no experience of opposition from their opponents' home country apart from their previous meetings.

• Stuttgart's loss at Molde remains their only defeat in seven European games this season (W3 D3 L1). However, they have drawn both of their home games in Group E, recording their best results on the road over the last two matchdays, winning 2-0 at FC København then 5-1 at FC Steaua Bucureşti last time out.

• Since beating Stuttgart, Molde have lost three in a row. They have lost both their previous Group E away games.

Team facts
• Stuttgart's William Kvist played alongside Magne Hoseth at FC København (2004–05).

• Molde confirmed their second successive Norwegian title on 11 November.

• Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia played up front for some of Germany's top clubs – Hamburger SV, FC Bayern München and SV Werder Bremen among others – and is the only player to have scored more than 100 goals in both of Germany's top divisions. Since starting his coaching career at home-town side SV Darmstadt 98, he has been in charge at Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Hamburg, taking over at Stuttgart in 2010.

• Molde coach Ole Gunnar Solskjær left his home-town club Clausenengen FK for Molde in 1994, and played for them in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup before embarking on a glittering career as a forward at Manchester United FC, where he won six English titles, two FA Cups and scored the winner in the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League final. Taking charge of the Old Trafford club's reserve team after hanging up his boots, he returned to Molde to become coach, leading them to a first Norwegian title in his debut season, 2011.

• Solskjær never appeared in the UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League as a player.