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Tottenham v Qarabağ background

Tottenham Hotspur will host the first UEFA meeting of English and Azerbaijani sides as Qarabağ make a mammoth 4,000km voyage for their Group J opener.

Mauricio Pochettino on the bench at Tottenham
Mauricio Pochettino on the bench at Tottenham ©Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur FC will hope for a gentle reintroduction to UEFA Europa League football as Qarabağ FK play their first competitive game in England in Group J.

Previous meetings
• This is the first UEFA club competition meeting between Azeri and English sides.

• Qarabağ have made two previous visits to the British Isles; they won 2-1 away to Northern Irish side Portadown FC in 2010/11 UEFA Europa League qualifying, then lost 1-0 at Celtic FC in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

Form guide
• Spurs have lost just once in their last 17 European home games (W12 D4 L1), SL Benfica beating them 3-1 in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League round of 16.

• Qarabağ have won three of their last five European away games – notably beating last season's UEFA Europa League finalists FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1-0 in the group stage.

• In seven previous UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League campaigns, Spurs have only once failed to reach the round of 32 – they missed the cut in 2011/12.

• This is Qarabağ's second UEFA Europa League group stage campaign; they narrowly missed the cut for the round of 32 last season, having become the second Azeri side to make it to a major UEFA group stage - after Neftçi PFK in 2012/13 – and the first one to win a group stage game.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Baku to London is just shy of 4,000km, meaning Qarabağ have the longest journey of all the sides in action on matchday one.

• Qarabağ are one of ten domestic champions in this season's group stage, along with KF Skenderbëu (Albania), APOEL FC (Cyprus), FC Viktoria Plzeň (Czech Republic), FC Midtjylland (Denmark), KKS Lech Poznań (Poland), FK Partizan (Serbia), Celtic FC (Scotland), Molde FK (Norway) and FC Basel 1893 (Switzerland).

• Qarabağ's Spanish midfielder Míchel played in England for Birmingham City FC in the 2010/11 season. He was an unused substitute when Birmingham held Spurs to a 1-1 home Premier League draw in December 2010.

The coaches
• Mauricio Pochettino has been coach of Tottenham since 2014, the former RSC Espanyol and Paris Saint-Germain defender brought to London after an impressive season at Southampton FC. He was capped 20 times by Argentina, and featured at the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals.

• Qarabağ coach Gurban Gurbanov is his nation's highest scoring international with 12 goals in 62 Azerbaijan games, and played club football in Russia and Ukraine as well as Azerbaijan. Coach since 2008, the former striker has led Qarabağ to domestic titles in the last two seasons.

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