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Sparta Praha v Krasnodar background

Krasnodar make a 1,700km journey to Prague for their first springtime UEFA tie, with Czech champions Sparta Praha still unbeaten in this season's UEFA Europa League.

Sparta Praha players celebrate a group stage win
Sparta Praha players celebrate a group stage win ©Getty Images

AC Sparta Praha have yet to win a game in Russia and will be looking to establish a first-leg advantage as they welcome FC Krasnodar, who are making their UEFA Europa League round of 32 debut.

Previous meetings
• This is the sides' first competitive meeting and Krasnodar's maiden competitive encounter with Czech opponents.

• The clubs drew 1-1 in a friendly in Spain in February 2014. David Lafata scored for Sparta, while Pavel Mamaev equalised for Krasnodar.

• Sparta's 11 games against Russian teams have ended W2 D5 L4 (W2 D2 L2 in Prague – W0 D3 L2 in Russia).

Form guide
• Sparta are unbeaten in eight European fixtures (W4 D4) since succumbing 3-2 at home to Krasnodar's domestic rivals PFC CSKA Moskva in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie on 5 August.

• Krasnodar are undefeated in five European games (W4 D1), conceding just twice during that run.

• Sparta last made it to the round of 32 in 2012/13, losing to Chelsea FC. They reached the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in 1984/85 – their best campaign in this competition.

• This is Krasnodar's first springtime UEFA tie. They failed to advance beyond the group stage in 2014/15 in what was their maiden season in Europe.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Krasnodar to Prague is around 1,700km.

• Krasnodar forward Wanderson turns 30 on the day of the Sparta game. Sparta's Kehinde Fatai will be 26 the day after.

• Sparta's Radoslav Kováč played in Russia for FC Spartak Moskva from 2005 to 2009; Krasnodar's Dmitri Torbinski (2005–07) and Vladimir Bystrov (2005–09) were among his team-mates.

• Sparta's Michal Breznaník also played in Russia for FC Amkar Perm from 2012 to 2014.

• Sparta's Bořek Dočkal and Krasnodar's Stefan Strandberg were team-mates at Norwegian side Rosenborg BK from 2012 to 2013.

• Krasnodar are one of four clubs to have made it all the way from the third qualifying round to the round of 32 this term, along with AS Saint-Étienne, Athletic Club and Borussia Dortmund.

• Sparta were penalised for 121 fouls during the group stage – 17 more than any other team – and were shown 21 yellow cards (only eliminated FK Partizan received as many).

• Krasnodar's French midfielder Charles Kaboré can make his 50th UEFA club competition appearance in the first leg.

The coaches
• Experienced trainer Zdeněk Ščasný, 58, took over at Sparta in April. Once a defender cum midfielder, he won Czechoslovak titles with FK Dukla Praha and Sparta. As a coach, he steered Sparta to two championships in the 1990s and has also managed in Greece and Hungary.

• Oleg Kononov has coached Krasnodar since 2013 and led his charges to an impressive third-place finish in Russia last term. This is his third UEFA Europa League campaign – he made it to the group stage with FC Karpaty Lviv in 2010/11 and with Krasnodar last year.