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Astana v Young Boys background

Young Boys will break a Swiss distance record in Group B as they make a 4,550km journey east to take on Astana, a side who have a handy home record in European competitions.

Astana are hard to beat at home in Europe
Astana are hard to beat at home in Europe ©AFP/Getty Images

Astana can take considerable encouragement from recent home results in Europe as Young Boys make a huge trip east in UEFA Europa League Group B.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time; neither has met a club from their opponents' home nation before.

• The only previous UEFA club competition encounters between Swiss and Kazakh teams came in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup first qualifying round, where Basel beat Tobol Kostanay 3-1 at home before recording a 0-0 draw in Kazakhstan.

Form guide
• Astana have gone nine European home games unbeaten (W5 D4) since a 3-0 loss to Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League play-offs in August 2014.

• Young Boys, by contrast, are on a five-match losing streak on their European travels during which they have scored twice and conceded 18 times – an average of over three a game.

• Astana are making their UEFA Europa League group stage debut, having participated in the UEFA Champions League group stage last term.

• Young Boys have progressed successfully through two of their previous three UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns.

Links and trivia
• The journey from Berne to Astana is around 4,550km, making this comfortably the longest European trip in Young Boys' European history, and indeed the longest trip by any Swiss club in UEFA competition (Basel's journey to Kostanay in 2006 being a mere 3,900km).

• None of Astana's players have any Swiss experience, though at least a couple should be fluent German speakers; Kazakh right-back Konstantin Engel played in Germany for ten years before joining Astana in the summer, while Macedonian winger Agim Ibraimi spent two years in Austria with Salzburg (2006–08) when current Young Boys boss Adi Hütter was a player and assistant coach with the Austrian club's amateur team.

The coaches
• Former Bulgaria midfielder Stanimir Stoilov has won two league titles since coming to Kazakhstan in 2014, as well as leading Astana into last autumn's UEFA Champions League group stage – a phase he had earlier graced as a coach with Levski Sofia.

• Adi Hütter took command at Young Boys in September 2015 having steered Salzburg to a domestic double in his native Austria in his sole campaign in charge in 2014/15. He had spent the bulk of his career as a midfielder at the Salzburg outfit, returning as a youth specialist after retirement.