Sparta Praha and Lazio meet for the fifth time in UEFA competition in the round of 16, with both sides unbeaten in this season's UEFA Europa League.
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AC Sparta Praha and SS Lazio come into their round of 16 encounter still unbeaten in this season's UEFA Europa League, having last met in Europe in 2003.
• Lazio have had the better of the sides' four European meetings (W2 D1 L1), all in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Sven-Göran Eriksson's Lazio got the better of Ivan Hašek's Sparta home and away in the 2000/01 competition, but in 2003/04 Jiří Kotrba's Sparta held Roberto Mancini's Lazio to a 2-2 draw in Rome and then beat them 1-0 in Prague.
• Those four games represent Lazio's only experience of Czech opponents.
• Sparta's record in 22 European encounters with Italian teams is W3 D9 L10 (W3 D6 L2 in Prague – W0 D3 L8 in Italy). They are unbeaten in their last four home matches with Serie A clubs (W2 D2).
• Sparta are unbeaten in ten UEFA Europa League fixtures (W6 D4) since entering this season's competition in the play-offs, and are currently on a four-game winning streak in Europe, keeping clean sheets in three of those matches.
• Lazio too have not lost a UEFA Europa League fixture since the start of the group stage (W5 D3 – W1 D3 away), though they have kept just one clean sheet during that sequence.
• Sparta made it to the round of 32 in 2012/13, losing to Chelsea FC. They reached the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in 1983/84 – their best campaign in this competition.
• Lazio last contested the round of 16 in 2012/13, when they beat VfB Stuttgart en route to a last-eight loss to Fenerbahçe SK. In their most successful campaign in this competition, they went down 3-0 against FC Internazionale Milano in the 1998 UEFA Cup final.
Trivia and links
• The journey from Rome to Prague is around 900km.
• Lazio goalkeeper Etrit Berisha turns 27 the day of the first leg against Sparta.
• Lazio defender Senad Lulić can make his 50th UEFA club competition appearance in the first leg.
• Sparta have been penalised for 152 fouls from the group stage onwards – 18 more than any other side in this season's competition. They have also received the most yellow cards (24) after eight matchdays.
• Sparta defender Ondřej Mazuch was part of the FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk squad that graced the UEFA Europa League final last term, though he did not play in the 3-2 final reverse to Sevilla FC.
• Lazio's Lucas Biglia played alongside Mazuch (2009–11) and Lukáš Mareček (2010–13) at RSC Anderlecht.
• Mazuch also has Serie A experience, the defender having been an ACF Fiorentina player from 2007–09, though he made just two league outings for the Viola.
• Notable players who represented both clubs include Pavel Nedvěd (Sparta 1992–96, Lazio 1996–2001) and Karel Poborský (Lazio 2000–01, Sparta 2002–05).
• Experienced trainer Zdeněk Ščasný, 58, took over at Sparta last April. Once a defender-cum-midfielder, he won Czechoslovakian 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.
• A central defender with Juventus and Fiorentina among others, Stefano Pioli was appointed by Lazio in June 2014. The 50-year-old has coached in Italy's top two divisions since 2003, his clubs including home-town side Parma FC, AC Chievo Verona and most recently Bologna FC.