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Maribor on the up as Zulte Waregem visit

NK Maribor have the wind in their sails as they take on SV Zulte Waregem in UEFA Europa League Group D having recorded their biggest away win in the competition in Belgium last time out.

Zulte Waregem's Thorgan Hazard comes up against Maribor's Matic Črnic
Zulte Waregem's Thorgan Hazard comes up against Maribor's Matic Črnic ©AFP/Getty Images

NK Maribor will look to build on a splendid 3-1 win at SV Zulte Waregem on matchday three as the bottom sides in UEFA Europa League Group D reconvene in Slovenia.

Previous meetings
• Zulte Waregem's first encounter with Slovenian opponents ended badly, with Maribor recording a 3-1 victory – their biggest away win in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League – in Belgium as the sides met for the first time on matchday three.

• The result brought to an end Maribor's three-game losing streak against Belgian teams, and a six-game wait for a European win. As for Francky Dury's home side, it may have been scant consolation, but they did at least score their first Group D goal.

• Maribor have played five games against Belgian outfits, with their record reading W2 D0 L3 (W1 D0 L1 at home – W1 D0 L2 in Belgium).

• Current coach Ante Šimundža was among the scorers as Maribor beat KRC Genk 5-1 at home in the first of those matches.

Match background
• Maribor have reached the group stage of a major UEFA competition for the fourth time but have yet to progress through to the knockout rounds. They failed to record a victory when they made their UEFA Europa League group stage debut in 2011/12 but improved on that with a four-point haul last season.

• Maribor are without a win in their last three European home games (D1 L2), with their most recent Group D fixture ending in one of their worst UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League home results: a 5-2 loss to FC Rubin Kazan.

• Zulte Waregem's last away game was a miserable one too; their 4-0 loss at Rubin on matchday two matched their worst margin of defeat in a European game, set when they lost 6-2 at RCD Espanyol in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup group stage.

• Zulte Waregem made it through their only previous group stage campaign in 2006/07, bowing out to Newcastle United FC in the round of 32. However, KSV Waregem – who merged with Zultse VV to form Zulte Waregem in 2001 – enjoyed even more European success, reaching the semi-finals of the 1985/86 UEFA Cup before losing out to 1. FC Köln.

Team facts
• Maribor have conceded the most goals in this season's group stage – nine in three games, at an average of three per match.

• Maribor forward Tavares and FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk midfielder Yevhen Konoplyanka were fouled 11 times on the first three matchdays – more than any other players in the group stage.

• Domestic double winners Maribor are one of nine domestic champions and 11 domestic cup winners in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage.

Coach information
• Maribor dismissed their Croatian coach Ante Čačić ahead of matchday two after just four months in charge, having secured just one win in their previous six games. Čačić and AZ Alkmaar's Gertjan Verbeek were dismissed on the same day, making them the first coaching casualties of the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League group stage.

• Maribor hired Ante Šimundža as their new coach, with the 42-year-old leaving NK Aluminij to return to the club he played over 200 games for as a striker. Capped three times by Slovenia, he played abroad with BSC Young Boys, Malmö FF and RAA Louviéroise, returning to Maribor as assistant to Darko Milanič. He subsequently took sole command of ND Mura 05, Austrian side Grazer AK and then Aluminij.

• Coach Francky Dury returned to Zulte Waregem at the end of 2011, and came close to leading them to a first title last season. A policeman while playing as a midfielder with amateur side Hulste Sport, he coached Zultse VV and became the new side's first coach when they merged with KSV Waregem to become Zulte Waregem in 2001. He finally handed in his police badge in 2007, having steered the club to the top division and won the 2005/06 Belgian Cup.


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