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Schalke v Sparta Praha background

One of the top-scoring sides in this season's group stage, Schalke will look to keep the goals flowing when they welcome Sparta Praha for a second time.

Franco Di Santo completes his hat-trick from the spot against Asteras last time out
Franco Di Santo completes his hat-trick from the spot against Asteras last time out ©Getty Images

FC Schalke 04 fans with long memories may recall that they have met AC Sparta Praha before as the sides come together in UEFA Europa League Group K.

Previous meetings
• Tadeáš Kraus's Sparta defeated Ivica Horvat's Schalke 4-2 on aggregate in the last eight of the 1972/73 European Cup Winners' Cup to reach the only UEFA semi-final in their history – which they lost to AC Milan.

• Schalke's ten games against Czech sides have ended W6 D2 L2 (W5 D0 L0 at home – W1 D2 L2 away).

• Sparta's 11 encounters with German teams ended W4 D2 L5 (W3 D0 L2 at home – W1 D2 L3 in Germany).

Form guide
• Schalke and SSC Napoli are the top scorers in this season's group stage with seven goals each.

• Sparta have had scoring draws in all three of their European away matches this term: 2-2, 3-3 and most recently 1-1.

• Schalke have progressed to the round of 32 in two of their previous three UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns. They won the competition in 1997, beating FC Internazionale Milano on penalties in the two-legged final.

• Sparta have made it through to the knockout phase in two of their six UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns, most recently missing the cut last year.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Prague to Gelsenkirchen is around 550km.

• Klaas-Jan Huntelaar needs one more goal to take his UEFA club competition tally to 50. Just 13 players have reached that mark so far.

• Sparta's German right-back - former FC Bayern München trainee Markus Steinhöfer – played alongside Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann at Eintracht Frankfurt (2009–10),

The coaches
• Andre Breitenreiter took over at Schalke in June, having led SC Paderborn 07 to promotion in 2013/14, then steered them momentarily to the top of the Bundesliga. An attacking midfielder, he began his career with Hannover 96 and Hamburger SV yet spent the bulk of his playing days in the lower leagues.

• Experienced coach Zdeněk Ščasný was appointed by Sparta in April. Once a defender cum midfielder, he won Czechoslovakian titles with FK Dukla Praha and Sparta. As a coach, he guided Sparta to two championships in the 1990s and has also managed in Greece and Hungary.