Nice v Lokomotiv Moskva background

This is already Nice's longest ever European campaign and they continue against an impressive Lokomotiv Moskva side, who are old hands in the round of 32.

Nice are playing European football in the spring for the first time since 1960
Nice are playing European football in the spring for the first time since 1960 ©AFP/Getty Images

Nice's longest ever European campaign continues in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 against a Lokomotiv Moskva side that topped the table in the Russian Premier League over the winter break.

• The French club finished runners-up to Lazio in Group K during the autumn, winning and losing three games apiece, while Lokomotiv finished first in Group F with 11 points to reach the knockout phase for the third time this decade.

Previous meetings
• The two clubs have never met in European competition.

• Nice's only previous experience of Russian opposition came against FC Krasnodar in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage. They lost 5-2 away with Ari, now at Lokomotiv, scoring two late goals, and won the return fixture 2-1 – although by that stage Nice were already eliminated and Krasnodar qualified for the next round.

• Similarly, Lokomotiv have only played two games against French opposition, winning at home (2-1) and losing away (0-1) against Monaco in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League round of 16 – and exiting the competition on the away goals rule.

Form guide
• Nice are playing European football in the spring for the first time since 1960, when they reached the quarter-finals of the European Champion Clubs' Cup.

• The Cote d'Azur club have won only three of their eight home fixtures over the past two seasons, losing four, but overcame both Vitesse (3-0) and Zulte Waregem (3-1) as hosts in this term's group stage.

• Lokomotiv have been defeated just once in their last eight European away fixtures – all in the UEFA Europa League. They drew away at FC København (0-0) and Sheriff (1-1) in this season's group stage before confirming their position as section winners with a 2-0 victory at FC Zlín on matchday six.

• Third in France's Ligue 1 last term, Nice were beaten 4-0 on aggregate by Napoli in this season's UEFA Champions League play-offs after overcoming Ajax on away goals (3-3) in the third qualifying round. Les Aiglons made their UEFA Europa League group stage debut in 2016/17 but failed to reach the round of 32.

• Nice have already played ten UEFA matches this season, making it the longest European campaign in the club's history.

• Lokomotiv qualified for this competition by winning the 2016/17 Russian Cup – with a 2-0 victory against Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast in the final – and have now progressed from the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stage four times out of five.

• The Moscow club have yet to go beyond the round of 32, however, having lost at this stage to Sevilla in 2005/06, Athletic Club in 2011/12 and Fenerbahçe in 2015/16 – and failed to score in an away defeat on each occasion. Their most successful European campaigns were in 1997/98 and 1998/99, when, under current coach Yuri Semin, they reached the semi-finals of the European Cup Winners' Cup two years running.

UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Mickaël Le Bihan, Ihsan Sacko
Out: Vincent Koziello, Gautier Lloris, Wesley Sneijder, Rémi Walter

In: none
Out: Timofei Margasov, Delvin N'Dinga

Links and trivia
• Nice defender Dante completed 503 passes in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage – the second-highest figure in the competition after Real Sociedad's Asier Illarramendi (507). Dante's club-mate Maxime Le Marchand is fourth on the list with 404.

• Nemanja Pejčinović joined Lokomotiv from Nice in 2014, having made exactly 100 Ligue 1 appearances – and scored six goals – in four seasons with the French Riviera club.

• Other Lokomotiv players to have played in France – and to have faced Nice in Ligue 1 – are Maciej Rybus (Lyon, 2016/17) and Éder (LOSC Lille, 2015–17)

• On-loan forward Éder scored Portugal's extra-time winner in the UEFA EURO 2016 final against France.

• Jefferson Farfán has scored in Lokomotiv's last three UEFA Europa League matches, registering four goals in total.

• Lokomotiv went into the winter break with an eight-point lead over fellow UEFA Europa League participants Zenit and Spartak Moskva at the top of the Russian league.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Mario Balotelli (Nice); Vladislav Ignatyev,  Taras Mikhalik (Lokomotiv).

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 FC Zürich, and subsequently enhanced his reputation with spells in Germany at Hertha Berlin and Borussia Mönchengladbach, leading the latter into the UEFA Champions League.

• Now 70, Yuri Semin took charge of Lokomotiv for a fourth time in August 2016, having lifted the club's only two Russian titles during his second stint from 1992 to 2005, and promptly steered the side to Russian Cup glory. He also played for the club, from 1975 to 1977, and coached Dynamo Kyiv to the 2008/09 Ukrainian league title in the first of two spells there.