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UEFA Europa League group stage by numbers

UEFA.com can bring you 12 of the most stimulating facts generated by the group stage, among them the scorer of the competition's 2,500th goal and the oldest player.

Group stage by numbers ©Getty Images

• The UEFA Europa League round of 32 will feature teams from 19 national associations. This is a record for the competition, surpassing the 17 nations that had at least one representative in the 2010/11 knockout phase.

• Two countries will have representation in the knockout stage for the first time – Bulgaria (PFC Ludogorets Razgrad) and Slovenia (NK Maribor). That takes the number of nations that have had at least one club in the round of 32 to 23.

• Seven of the eight sides that finished third in their UEFA Champions League group have participated in at least two previous UEFA Europa League campaigns. The exception is FC Shakhtar Donetsk, the last UEFA Cup winners (in 2008/09), who have featured only once. AFC Ajax, one of the cross-over clubs, will be appearing in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase for the fifth year running, matching the ever-present record of FC Rubin Kazan.

• For the first time in a UEFA Europa League group stage, two teams completed their schedule with a maximum haul of 18 points – FC Salzburg and Tottenham Hotspur FC. The Austrian outfit thus became the first side to achieve the feat twice, having also won all six group games in the inaugural 2009/10 season. The only other clubs to have boasted a perfect record are FC Zenit (2010/11) and RSC Anderlecht (2011/12).

• By closing their campaign with a 2-0 victory at Apollon Limassol FC, Legia Warszawa avoided becoming the first team to fail to score in a UEFA Europa League group phase. However, with just one goal apiece in their six fixtures, FC Paços de Ferreira and Tromsø IL equalled the competition low held jointly by PFC Levski Sofia (2009/10) and Salzburg (2010/11).

• The UEFA Europa League's 2,500th goal was registered by Salzburg's Senegal midfielder Sadio Mané as he rounded off the scoring in a 3-0 home win against Esbjerg fB on matchday six.

• PAOK FC extended their record sequence of away matches without defeat to nine – three more than any other club – with their 2-0 success at FC Shakhter Karagandy on matchday five.

• PSV Eindhoven's Swedish international Ola Toivonen made his 35th UEFA Europa League outing in the 2-0 loss at PFC Ludogorets Razgrad on 28 November, so moving ahead of Eduardo Salvio at the top of the competition's all-time appearance chart.

• Eight sides booked places in the round of 32 as early as matchday four, and all were from different countries – Austria (Salzburg), Bulgaria (Ludogorets Razgrad), Denmark (Esbjerg), England (Tottenham), Italy (ACF Fiorentina), Russia (Rubin Kazan), Spain (Valencia CF) and Ukraine (FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk).

• Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel became the UEFA Europa League's oldest participant by playing against FC Sheriff at White Hart Lane. He displaced another keeper, FC Twente's Sander Boschker, when he took to the field aged 42 years and 173 days – 140 days older than Boschker.

• There were three red cards shown in the Salzburg v R. Standard de Liège encounter on matchday four. It was the first time in 892 UEFA Europa League fixtures that more than two players had been sent off in a game.

• Exactly half of the 48 teams involved on matchday one were making their debut appearance in the UEFA Europa League proper (i.e. group stage to final).