There is only three points between the four Group K teams as Astana look to capitalise on home advantage against Jablonec.
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Just three points separate the four clubs at the halfway point of UEFA Europa League Group K, but Astana, newly crowned as champions of Kazakhstan for the fifth year in a row, will hope to use home advantage to put further daylight between themselves and bottom club Jablonec, with whom they drew 1-1 in the Czech Republic on matchday three.
• That latest result means Astana are undefeated on five points, while Jablonec are winless with two. Astana came from behind to draw 2-2 at Dynamo Kyiv on matchday one before beating Rennes 2-0 at home. Jablonec, meanwhile, lost their opening game 2-1 in Brittany before coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 at home to Dynamo.
• The teams had never met in UEFA competition before their 25 October fixture, nor had Jablonec ever previously faced a team from Kazakhstan.
• Astana's only previous home game against a team from the Czech Republic came in last season's UEFA Europa League, when they drew 1-1 against Slavia Praha. They then won 1-0 in Prague on the final matchday to qualify for the round of 32 at their hosts' expense.
• Astana, who claimed a fifth successive domestic league title last month, came through four qualifying ties during the summer – the first three in the UEFA Champions League – to complete a hat-trick of UEFA Europa League group stage participations. After defeating Sutjeska and Midtjylland but then losing to Dinamo Zagreb, they won their UEFA Europa League play-off on penalties – their first European shoot-out – against Cypriot champions APOEL after two 1-0 home wins.
• Having become the first team from Kazakhstan to play in the UEFA Champions League proper in 2015/16, Astana have spent the last two autumns in the UEFA Europa League. Their tally of five points in 2016/17 was not enough to see them through but last season they doubled that total to reach the round of 32, where they lost 6-4 over two legs to Sporting CP.
• Astana have won four of their five European home games this season. Their overall record at home in UEFA group stage football is W3 D6 L1, the sole defeat having come on matchday five of last season's UEFA Europa League, 2-3 against Villarreal.
• Third in last season's Czech Liga, Jablonec are competing in a UEFA group stage for the first time.
• They had been unsuccessful in four previous attempts to qualify for the UEFA Europa League proper, falling in the third qualifying round in both 2010/11 and 2011/12 then losing play-offs against Real Betis in 2013/14 and Ajax in 2015/16.
• The Czech club have recorded just one win in their last nine European fixtures (D3 L5) – 3-2 at FC København in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round. That is one of three wins they have recorded in their last seven European away games.
Links and trivia
• Astana's fifth victory in the Kazakh Premier League equals the record held jointly by Irtysh Pavlodar and FK Aktobe. No other club has won the title five years in a row.
• Jablonec's Ukrainian left-back Eduard Sobol played for Slavia Praha against Astana in both of last season's UEFA Europa League group games.
• Astana defender Yuri Logvinenko scored all three Kazakhstan goals against the Czech Republic in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying – two in Astana (2-4) and one in Plzen (1-2).
• Jablonec are one of five clubs making their debut this season in the UEFA Europa League proper. The other four are Akhisar, Dudelange, Sarpsborg and Spartak Trnava.
• Last month Astana announced that their Ukrainian head coach Roman Hryhorchuk, who was appointed only in June 2018, had gone on leave for personal reasons, with his assistant Grigoriy Babayan taking over as caretaker – a position the 38-year-old ex-Kairat player has assumed on three occasions previously.
• Petr Rada has taken on numerous coaching jobs in his native Czech Republic since hanging up his boots in 1996, including a nine-month spell as national team boss from July 2008. The former Dukla Praha defender's longest stint in charge of any team was at Jablonec between 2003 and 2007 and he returned over a decade later, in December 2017, steering the club to third place in the Czech Liga and into the group stage of a European club competition for the first time.