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St-Étienne v Qarabağ background

AS Saint-Étienne are second in Group F despite having yet to win a game in this season's group stage, while Qarabağ FK are eager for a second successive away success.

Moustapha Bayal Sall after scoring St-Étienne's first Group F goal
Moustapha Bayal Sall after scoring St-Étienne's first Group F goal ©AFP/Getty Images

AS Saint-Étienne could do with getting a first Group F win on the board as they welcome Qarabağ FK on UEFA Europa League matchday five.

Form guide

Qarabağ held St-Étienne to a 0-0 draw on matchday one but have yet to score against French opponents in three games.

• In the nations' only encounters at senior level, France beat Azerbaijan 2-0 away and 10-0 at home in EURO '96 qualifying. Azerbaijan's only victory against France in a men's UEFA competition was a 2-0 success in the 2005 UEFA European Under-17 Championship elite round. Their other three age-group meetings ended in French wins.

St-Étienne have drawn all four of their group stage games, and had not scored or conceded in Group F until they drew 1-1 with FC Internazionale Milano on matchday four.

Qarabağ earned the first UEFA group stage victory by an Azerbaijani side – home or away – when they beat FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in Kyiv on matchday three.

Trivia and links
Qarabağ's Brazilian midfielder Richard Almeida is one of the three most fouled players in the group stage; he, Alexander Büttner (FC Dinamo Moskva) and Bruno Gama (FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk) were infringed against 15 times each over the first four matchdays.

Qarabağ are only the second Azeri side to feature in a UEFA club competition group stage. Neftçi PFK were the pioneers, in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League group stage, recording three draws and three defeats.

The coaches
• A defender for hometown club Olympique de Marseille, LOSC Lille and Toulouse FC among others, St-Étienne boss Christophe Galtier took up his current position in 2009, helping Les Verts to win the 2012/13 French League Cup. He had previously assisted Alain Perrin and Richard Tardy, working in England and Greece as well as France.

Qarabağ coach Gurban Gurbanov is Azerbaijan's all-time top scorer at international level with 14 goals. He played in Russia but enjoyed perhaps his most celebrated years with Neftçi, where he later started out as a coach. In charge at Qarabağ since 2008, he led the club to their second title – after a 21-year wait – last season.

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