Nice v Zulte Waregem background

Beaten on matchday four, Nice nevertheless welcome Zulte Waregem knowing that victory would secure second place in Group K; the Belgian side are out if they get beaten.

Nice will be through from Group K if they win
Nice will be through from Group K if they win ©AFP/Getty Images

Beaten 1-0 by UEFA Europa League Group K leaders Lazio in added time on matchday four, Nice are nevertheless in a strong position to qualify alongside the Italian club as they host Zulte Waregem.

• A home win over the Belgian team they defeated 5-1 away on matchday one will secure a knockout phase berth for Nice at their opponents' expense. Should Zulte Waregem win, however, they will leapfrog Nice into second place with one game to go.

Previous meetings
• That 5-1 opening-night triumph at the Regenboogstadion came in Nice's first meeting with a Belgian side. It was also Zulte Waregem's first encounter with French opposition.

• Alassane Plea scored twice in the opening 20 minutes to set Nice on the way to the biggest away win in their European history. Dante, Allan Saint-Maximin and Mario Balotelli added further goals for the visitors, Aaron Leya Iseka's 46th-minute effort a mere consolation for the hosts.

Form guide
• Over the past two seasons Nice have won just two of their seven home fixtures in European competition, losing four.

• Zulte Waregem have won five of their last eight European away matches (D1 L2), most recently 2-0 at Vitesse on matchday four. That result ended the Belgian club's five-game winless streak in UEFA competition.

• Nice made their UEFA Europa League group stage debut in 2016/17 but failed to reach the round of 32.

• Beaten by Napoli in this season's UEFA Champions League play-offs, Nice have already played eight UEFA matches this season, making it their longest ever European campaign.

• Zulte Waregem claimed their second Belgian Cup in 2016/17; they made it through the UEFA Cup group stage in 2006/07, but could not emulate that success in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League.

Highlights: Zulte Waregem 1-5 Nice
Highlights: Zulte Waregem 1-5 Nice

Links and trivia
• The journey from Waregem to Nice is around 850km.

• Nice defender Arnaud Souquet spent 2012/13 in Belgium, on loan at Mouscron from LOSC Lille.

• Nice's Brazilian defender Dante played in Belgium with Charleroi (2006–07) and Standard Liège (2007–09).

• Dante has completed more passes than any other player in the competition after four matchdays – 347. His team-mate Maxime Le Marchand is second on the list with 322.

• Zulte Waregem's Congolese defender Marvin Baudry was born in France and played in the French league for Amiens (2011–15).

• Leya Iseka played eight games in Ligue 1 last term, on loan from Anderlecht to Marseille, while midfielder Nill De Pauw plied his trade with Guingamp from 2015–17.

• Zulte Waregem's Kingsley Madu is banned after receiving a red card against Vitesse on matchday four.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Balotelli (Nice).

The coaches
• Former Switzerland midfielder Lucien Favre has been in charge at Nice since May 2016. He made his name as a coach by capturing back-to-back Swiss titles with Zürich, and subsequently enhanced his reputation during German sojourns at Hertha Berlin and Borussia Mönchengladbach.

• Francky Dury's second coming as Zulte Waregem coach began in 2012 and he led them to a second Belgian Cup success last season. Zultse and – post-merger – Zulte Waregem boss from 1994–2010, he had spells with Gent and Belgium's Under-21 side prior to his return.