Partizan v AZ Alkmaar background

Serbian champions Partizan will look to maintain their winning run at home this season as they welcome AZ Alkmaar for the first time in UEFA Europa League Group L.

Partizan captain Saša Ilić
Partizan captain Saša Ilić ©Getty Images

Serbian champions FK Partizan will look to maintain their positive form at home against Dutch opponents as they welcome AZ Alkmaar in their first UEFA Europa League Group L game.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.

• Partizan's four games against Dutch sides – all against FC Groningen – have ended W2 D0 L2 (W2 D0 L0 at home – W0 D0 L2 in the Netherlands). They have won both of those previous home games by two-goal margins.

• AZ's only encounter with Serbian opponents was a 7-2 aggregate third round win against FK Radnicki Niš en route to defeat to Ipswich Town FC in the final of the 1980/81 UEFA Cup.

Form guide
• Partizan have won all three of their European home games this season.

• Partizan have featured in this group stage six times, but have not made it to the round of 32 since their first appearance in 2004/05.

• In seven previous campaigns in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage, AZ have made it to the knockout stage five times, most recently in 2013/14, when they got as far as the last eight.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Alkmaar to Belgrade is over 1,400km.

• AZ's Serbian left-back Rajko Brežančić started his career at Partizan, and played for FK Bežanija, FK Metalac and FK Čukarički before coming to the Netherlands this summer.

• Partizan's Ivan Bandalovski and Stefan Babović both spent time in the Netherlands with Feyenoord.

• Club Brugge KV's Timmy Simons and Partizan's Saša Ilić have made the most UEFA club competition appearances of any other players in this season's group stage: 118.

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

The coaches
• Zoran Milinković was hired as Partizan coach in March, helping his side to win the Serbian title. It was the first major honour of his career. Having started out at Partizan, he played abroad in Hungary, Japan, Belgium, France, Germany and Cyprus, and has coached in Greece, as well as leading several Serbian clubs.

• AZ coach since 2014, John van den Brom spent the bulk of his playing career as a midfielder at Vitesse. Capped twice, he went on to coach AFC Ajax's youth team, ADO Den Haag and Vitesse before heading to RSC Anderlecht, and winning the Belgian title in 2012/13.