Zlín v Sheriff background

UEFA Europa League debutants Zlín make a long-awaited return to the European stage in Group F, with Sheriff looking to make the most of any first-night nerves in Olomouc.

Sheriff celebrate a goal in qualifying
Sheriff celebrate a goal in qualifying ©Sergey Sokolov

This week, football fans watching UEFA Europa League matches in stadiums, online and on TV will witness the premiere of the new UEFA RESPECT TV ads, called #EqualGame. The adverts feature Ada Hegerberg, Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, Cristiano Ronaldo and amateur players and will run throughout the season to promote inclusion, diversity and accessibility in European Football with the motto "Everyone has the right to enjoy football, no matter who you are, where you're from, or how you play." More information on the campaign and on the advertisements can be found in the accompanying media release and on the campaign website: www.equalgame.com.

Zlín make a long-awaited return to the European stage in UEFA Europa League Group F, with Sheriff looking to make the most of any first-night nerves in Olomouc.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time, and it is Zlín's first experience of Moldovan opposition.

• Sheriff have yet to win in six encounters with Czech clubs, though four of those games ended in draws (D4 L2). That includes 1-1 home and 0-0 away draws with Sigma Olomouc in their first ever European ties in the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup qualifying round.

Form guide
• Zlín have lost only once in seven European home matches (W3 D3 L1), Atlético Madrid beating them 4-2 in the 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup. They also played in that competition the following year as well as the 1970/71 European Cup Winners' Cup; they were known as TJ Gottwaldov in that latter campaign.

• Sheriff are without a victory in seven UEFA fixtures on the road: D3 L4.

• Zlín won the Czech Cup for the first time last season; the Ševci (Cobblers) have not played European football since 2005 and are making their group stage debut.

• Moldovan champions Sheriff featured in the 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2013/14 UEFA Europa League group stages, but are yet to appear in the spring phase of a UEFA competition.

Links and trivia
• The journey from Tiraspol to Olomouc, where Zlín are playing their European home games, is a little over 950km.

• After unexpectedly hitting the top of the Czech table last season, Zlín were dubbed 'Zlíncester' – with some predicting they could 'do a Leicester' and win the league.

• Founded in 1997, Sheriff are now the pre-eminent force in Moldovan football, winning 15 of the last 17 league championships.

The coaches
• Bohumil Páník started his coaching career with Zlín in 2000, and returned to the club in 2014, his adventures in between times including spells with Lech Poznań and Pogoń Szczecin in Poland. He guided Zlín to Czech Cup glory in 2016/17.

• In charge of Sheriff since October 2016, Roberto Bordin is best known in his native Italy for his long career as a midfielder, taking in spells at Atalanta, Napoli and Piacenza. He was 40 when he finally hung up his boots at Spezia in 2005.