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Maribor and Wigan clutch at straws

Victory is the sole remaining option on matchday six for NK Maribor and Wigan Athletic FC, who can only reach the round of 32 if SV Zulte Waregem lose the other Group D fixture.

Maribor players in training
Maribor players in training ©AFP/Getty Images

NK Maribor and Wigan Athletic FC will look to grab their outside chance of a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 as they meet in their final Group D game.

• The winner of this game will reach the round of 32 provided SV Zulte Waregem lose at home to section winners FC Rubin Kazan. A draw would condemn both to elimination.

Previous meetings
• Nick Powell and Ben Watson put Wigan two goals up when the sides first met on matchday two, and although Tavares replied on the hour, Powell struck late to secure a 3-1 win – Wigan's first success in European competition.

• Maribor's record in five games against English sides is W0 D1 L4 (W0 D1 L1 at home – W0 D0 L3 in England).

• Like Maribor's first English opponents in the 2011/12 group stage, Birmingham City FC, Wigan are competing in Europe despite being relegated from the Premier League at the end of the previous season; Wigan won the 2012/13 FA Cup, Birmingham won the 2010/11 League Cup.

• As yet, no Slovenian club has overcome an English counterpart in eight UEFA club competition meetings (D2 L6).

Match background
• Maribor are without a win in their last four European home games (D1 L3).

• Wigan have yet to score an away goal in European competition.

• Wigan were the only side entering the competition on matchday one this season with absolutely no previous experience of European football.

• Of the four sides in the group stage experiencing their first season in European competition, only Wigan and FC Kuban Krasnodar come into matchday six with a chance of progressing, with CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu and Estoril Praia already out of contention

• Maribor have reached the group stage of a major UEFA competition for the fourth time but have yet to make it 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.

Team facts
• Wigan lost at home for the first time in Europe on matchday five, going down 2-1 to SV Zulte Waregem.

• Wigan's Chilean midfielder Jean Beausejour faced Maribor twice in the 2011/12 group stage with Birmingham.

• Wgan and domestic double winners Maribor are among 11 domestic cup holders in the group stage along with Vitória SC (Portugal), Legia Warszawa (Poland), Swansea City AFC (Wales, English League Cup), AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands), FC Girondins de Bordeaux (France), Apollon Limassol FC (Cyprus), KRC Genk (Belgium), SS Lazio (Italy) and Esbjerg fB (Denmark).

Coach information
• Maribor dismissed their Croatian coach Ante Čačić ahead of matchday two after just four months in charge, Čačić 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.

• Manager Owen Coyle left Wigan "by mutual agreement" on 1 December. He had taken charge after Roberto Martínez left the relegated club for Everton FC in July 2013.

• Former Manchester City FC and East Germany striker Uwe Rösler has been named as Coyle's replacement, having previously coached Lillestrøm SK, Viking FK, Molde FK and – until Saturday – Brentford FC. Rösler moved into coaching after a battle with lung cancer hastened the end of a playing career that began in East Germany and included spells in the reunited Germany with Dynamo Dresden, 1. FC Nürnberg and 1. FC Kaiserslautern.

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