Saint-Étienne and Olexandriya meet for the first time with both sides hoping to prolong an upward trend in Group I.
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Saint-Étienne and Olexandriya meet for the first time with both hoping to prolong an upward trend in their Group I adventure after losing their opening fixture and drawing the second.
• The French club, who have changed coach since Matchday 2, Claude Puel replacing Ghislain Printant, lost 3-2 at Gent and drew 1-1 at home to Wolfsburg under the previous regime. Group stage first-timers Olexandriya lost 3-1 at Wolfsburg on their debut before claiming their first point in a 1-1 draw at home to Gent.
• While this is a first UEFA competition outing against French opposition for Oleaxandriya, St-Étienne have had six previous games against Ukrainian clubs and are unbeaten and yet to concede in the three matches at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard. The latest of them was a 3-0 win against Dnipro in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League group stage in which current forwards Kévin Monnet-Paquet, Robert Berić and Romain Hamouma were all on target, the latter having scored the only goal in the first fixture two weeks previously.
• Absent from Europe since they reached the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League round of 32, St-Étienne returned by finishing fourth in Ligue 1 last term to secure a fourth group stage appearance in this competition.
• Unable to get out of their group in 2014/15, when they drew their first five matches and lost the last, they were successful in both 2015/16 and 2016/17 before exiting both times at the round of 32 stage, latterly to eventual winners Manchester United (0-3 a, 0-1 h).
• Les Verts are unbeaten at home in the UEFA Europa League group stage, but eight of those ten matches have been drawn. They were on a run of ten matches undefeated in group fixtures, home and away (W5 D5), until their Matchday 1 reverse at Gent, but in the competition as a whole, including the qualifying phase, they have not scored more than once in any of their last seven home fixtures, managing just three in total.
• Olexandriya finished third in the 2018/19 Ukrainian Premier League – the club's highest ever final placing – to gain direct access to the UEFA Europa League group stage and sample European football in the autumn for the first time.
• This is only the club's third European campaign, their 2016/17 debut having ended in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round (against Hajduk Split), the second, in 2017/18, concluding in the play-offs (against BATE Borisov). Their only European victory came against Astra Giurgiu in the 2017/18 third qualifying round (0-0 a, 1-0 h).
• Olexandriya have yet to win away in Europe (D2 L2), scoring three goals and conceding seven.
Links and trivia
• St-Étienne's Yohan Cabaye scored his first senior goal for France against Ukraine in a 2-0 defeat of the UEFA EURO 2012 co-hosts in Donetsk; Mathieu Debuchy and substitute Yann M'Vila also featured in that group stage game in June 2012.
• Born in France, Olexandriya's João Tiago is a youth product of Metz but has never played top-flight football in his homeland.
• Olexandriya are one of six UEFA Europa League group stage debutants this season; the others are Espanyol, Ferencváros, Wolverhampton Wanderers and two Austrian clubs, LASK and Wolfsberg.
• The experienced Puel replaced Printant as St-Étienne boss on 4 October, returning to Ligue 1 after spells in the English Premier League at Southampton and Leicester City following his departure from Nice in 2017. A former midfielder who accumulated over 600 appearances in all competitions during his 17 seasons at Monaco, he led the Principality side to the French league title in 1999/2000 and as coach of LOSC Lille and Lyon guided the teams into the UEFA Champions League, reaching the semi-finals with the latter in 2009/10.
• A one-cap Ukrainian international midfielder who won two domestic league titles with Dynamo Kyiv in the early 1990s, Volodymyr Sharan has been the Olexandriya coach for the best part of a decade, a first spell, lasting two years, preceding a brief stint at Karpaty Lviv before he returned in 2013 and steered the club into the Ukrainian top flight two years later. He has since qualified Olexandriya for the UEFA Europa League on three occasions, their third-place finish in 2018/19 securing a first experience of group stage football.
The FootballPeople weeks take place from 10 to 24 October 2019 and are organised by UEFA's social responsibility partner Fare. The weeks are a global campaign aimed at tackling discrimination and celebrating diversity in football. The UEFA Europa League is offering its full support to the FootballPeople weeks; teams will line up for a mixed photo with the referees, while an #EqualGame hashtag will also be on display. Videos will be played on giant screens at stadiums across Europe, and child mascots will be wearing #FootballPeople t-shirts. UEFA's collaboration with the Fare network's FootballPeople weeks has been running since 2001. The aim of this initiative fits in perfectly with the goals of #EqualGame, which is looking to promote inclusion, diversity and accessibility.