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Nice v Schalke background

Mario Balotelli will have a chance to leave his mark in this season's UEFA Europa League with Nice, who take on European regulars Schalke in their Group I opener.

Emboldened by the signing of Mario Balotelli, Nice return to European competition for the first time since 2013/14 with a fixture against continental regulars Schalke.

Previous meetings
• This UEFA Europa League Group I contest is the clubs' first meeting in UEFA competition.

• Nice's record in four matches against German sides is W1 D1 L2.

• Schalke's record in seven encounters with French teams reads W3 D2 L2.

Form guide
• Nice are unbeaten in 13 UEFA home games (W10 D3), a run stretching back to a 3-2 loss to Real Madrid in the 1956/57 European Cup quarter-finals. They have never lost a UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League home match.

• This is Nice's first UEFA group stage campaign.

• Schalke are unbeaten in their last six European away games (W4 D2).

• Schalke have made it through three of their previous four UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League campaigns.

Links and trivia
• Nice is around 900km due south of Gelsenkirchen.

• The last UEFA game to be played in Nice was England's 2-1 loss to Iceland at UEFA EURO 2016.

• Mario Balotelli has scored five goals in 11 UEFA Europa League games, for Manchester City and Liverpool.

• Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of Schalke's next goal will be his 50th in UEFA club competition.

The coaches
• Lucien Favre took charge of Nice this summer. Twice a title winner with Zürich in his native Switzerland, he made a positive impression in Germany with Hertha Berlin and Mönchengladbach. He was capped 24 times as a midfielder.

• New Schalke coach Markus Weinzierl made it to last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32 with Augsburg, who he had led since 2012. His playing career peaked when he spent a season with the first-team squad at Bayern München in 1998/99, though he never played a senior game.