Slavia returned home from Spain with an unexpected 2-2 draw, and will now seek another impressive result as Sevilla visit.
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Czech league leaders Slavia Praha became the first team to avoid defeat at Sevilla in this UEFA Europa League campaign with an unexpected 2-2 draw in Andalusia, setting up a highly anticipated return in the Czech capital, where Slavia are on a run of four successive clean sheets.
• Slavia made it through the UEFA Europa League group stage for the first time, finishing runners-up to Zenit in Group C with ten points. They knocked Genk out of the round of 32 with a 4-1 second-leg win in Belgium following a 0-0 draw in Prague.
• Sevilla were too strong for Lazio in the round of 32, winning 1-0 in Rome and 2-0 in Seville. They had had to wait until matchday six to seal their place in the knockout phase, defeating Krasnodar 3-0 at home to finish above them at the top of Group J on the head-to-head rule.
• Wissam Ben Yedder's goal after just 24 seconds – his fifth in four UEFA Europa League games and seventh of the competition – gave Sevilla an early advantage in the first leg, but Slavia responded with a spectacular Miroslav Stoch equaliser, and the visitors came from behind a second time when a fortuitous goal from defender Alex Král – his first in Europe – cancelled out Munir's strike before half-time.
• Sevilla beat Slavia 4-2 at home and 3-0 away in 2007/08 as both clubs made their debut in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Sevilla strikers Luís Fabiano and Frédéric Kanouté were on target in both games.
• Slavia have posted just one win in 11 games against Spanish opposition – and even that victory, 2-0 at home to Celta Vigo in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, was insufficient to secure progress following a first-leg 3-0 defeat in Galicia. Their most recent home fixture against Spanish visitors ended 0-2 against Villarreal in last season’s UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Sevilla have never lost in eight UEFA encounters against Czech opposition and have a record of W2 D2 in the Czech Republic. They have already faced a Czech club this season, overcoming Sigma Olomouc 4-0 on aggregate in the play-offs (1-0 away, 3-0 home).
• As runners-up to Viktoria Plzeň in the 2017/18 Czech Liga, Slavia earned a spot in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, where defeat by Dynamo Kyiv (1-1 home, 0-2 away) sent them into the UEFA Europa League group stage. They won the Czech Cup last term, defeating Jablonec 3-1 in the final.
• Slavia's two previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns, in 2009/10 and 2017/18, both ended unsuccessfully, but they made it third time lucky this term, scoring just four goals in their six games but finishing above København and Bordeaux.
• UEFA Cup semi-finalists in 1995/96, Slavia's most recent appearance in the last 16 of a European competition was in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup, when they were knocked out by Beşiktaş (1-0 home, 2-4 away).
• The Prague club have yet to concede at home in any of their four UEFA Europa League fixtures this term, beating Bordeaux (1-0) and Zenit (2-0) and drawing 0-0 against København and Genk. They are undefeated in their last five European home fixtures (W2 D3).
• Slavia have won five of the seven UEFA competition ties in which they have drawn the away first leg, succeeding on all three occasions when the scoreline has been 2-2, most recently against Mouscron of Belgium in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup first round (5-1 home). Their only two eliminations have been on the away goals rule after a goalless first leg.
• Although they were UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists last term, seventh place in Spain's Liga meant that Sevilla's first match back in the UEFA Europa League since their 2016 final success against Liverpool was in the second qualifying round. They went on to win six of out six in qualifying, beating Újpest, Žalgiris Vilnius and Olomouc home and away.
• Sevilla topped Group J with 12 points, scoring 18 goals – the most of any of the 48 clubs in the group stage. Their two defeats both came on the road – 1-2 at Krasnodar and 0-1 at Standard Liège.
• This is Sevilla's fifth appearance in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase and fourth in the round of 16, where they have a perfect record. En route to winning the competition three times in a row from 2013/14 to 2015/16, they claimed last-16 successes against, respectively, city rivals Real Betis (0-2 home, 2-0 away, 4-3 on pens), Villarreal (3-1 away, 2-1 home) and Basel (0-0 away, 3-0 home).
• Sevilla have won 12 of their 15 European games this season, racking up 40 goals and conceding nine. However, they have claimed victory in just three of their last eight fixtures outside Spain in the UEFA Europa League proper, one of which was the 3-1 defeat of Liverpool in the 2016 final.
• There have been seven previous instances of Sevilla drawing the first leg of a UEFA tie at home and they have won four of those ties, including all of the last three, among them a round of 16 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in their trophy-winning 2006/07 UEFA Cup campaign when they followed up a 2-2 home draw with a 3-2 away win. That is the only previous occasion that Sevilla were held 2-2 at home in the first leg.
Links and trivia
• Tomáš Vaclík is a Czech Republic international and played in his homeland for Vítkovice (2007–10), Viktoria Žižkov (2010–12) and Sparta Praha (2012–14). While he was at Žižkov, current Slavia boss Jindřich Trpišovský and goalkeeping coach Štěpán Kolář were on the club's staff.
• Vaclík played against Slavia in the Czech league on six occasions, once for Žižkov and five times for Sparta (W4 D1 L1).
• Sevilla's three new mid-season arrivals all played in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage – Maximilian Wöber for Ajax, Munir El Haddadi for Barcelona and Marko Rog for Napoli.
• Slavia's January signing Lukáš Masopust made three appearances for Jablonec in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Sevilla are one of only two clubs involved in the round of 16 to have won the UEFA Europa League, alongside 2012/13 champions Chelsea. There are five others who, like Sevilla (2005/06 and 2006/07), lifted the trophy in its previous guise as the UEFA Cup.
• Sevilla became the fifth side to score 100 goals in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, when Wissam Ben Yedder opened the scoring in the round of 32 second-leg win against Lazio.
• With seven goals Ben Yedder has joined Salzburg's Munas Dabbur as the leading scorer in this season's UEFA Europa League, group stage to final. Sevilla, with 23 goals, are the joint top-scoring team in the competition, alongside Eintracht Frankfurt.
• Ben Yedder scored a Spanish Liga hat-trick at the weekend in Sevilla's 5-2 home win against Real Sociedad.
• Slavia midfielder Josef Hušbauer's next appearance in UEFA club competition will be his 50th.
• Slavia's four goals in the group stage was the fewest by any of the 32 qualified teams, including the eight who finished third in their UEFA Champions League group. They doubled that tally in the round of 32 second-leg win at Genk.
• Slavia are one of four clubs involved in the round of 16 who have never previously participated at this juncture of the UEFA Europa League; Eintracht Frankfurt, Dinamo Zagreb and Rennes are the others.
• Sevilla are the longest surviving team in this season's UEFA Europa League, having started in the second qualifying round.
• Slavia's record in two UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L0:
5-4 v Schalke, 1998/99 UEFA Cup first round
4-3 v Žilina, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
• Sevilla's record in six UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W5 L1:
4-3 v PAOK, 1990/91 UEFA Cup first round
3-1 v Espanyol, 2006/07 UEFA Cup final
2-3 v Fenerbahçe, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League round of 16
4-3 v Real Betis, 2013/14 UEFA Europa League round of 16
4-2 v Benfica, 2013/14 UEFA Europa League final
5-4 v Athletic Club, 2015/16 UEFA Europa League quarter-final
• Heavily influenced by Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, Jindřich Trpišovský started out as a youth coach at Sparta Praha before impressing with his work at second-division Viktoria Žižkov. He then took over at Slovan Liberec in 2017, leading the club into the UEFA Europa League group stage two seasons running. He left Liberec for Slavia in December 2017 and won the Czech Cup with the Prague outfit the following spring.
• Pablo Machín was appointed by Sevilla as their new head coach on a two-year contract in May 2018 – a reward for four progressive campaigns at the helm of Catalan outfit Girona, whom he guided into the Spanish top flight before exceeding expectations by leading them to a tenth-placed Liga finish in 2017/18. Forced to retire from playing at 23, he had a lengthy association with home-town club Numancia before joining Girona in 2014. This is his first season on the European stage.