Qarabağ FK will be vying to become the first Azerbaijani side to win a major UEFA club competition group stage fixture when they welcome AS Saint-Étienne in Group F.
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Qarabağ FK will hope to become the first Azerbaijani side to win a major UEFA club competition group stage fixture when they open their Group F account at home to AS Saint-Étienne.
• Qarabağ's only previous meeting with French opponents ended in a 9-0 aggregate defeat by Montpellier Hérault SC in the 1999 UEFA Intertoto Cup second round. Those are the only games played thus far between French and Azerbaijani sides in UEFA club competition.
• In the nations' only encounters at senior level, France beat Azerbaijan 2-0 away and 10-0 at home in EURO '96 qualifying. Azerbaijan's only victory against France in a men's UEFA competition was a 2-0 success in the 2005 UEFA European Under-17 Championship elite round. Their other three age-group meetings ended in French wins.
• Qarabağ have lost just once in their last ten European home games (W7 D2 L1) – 2-0 against Eintracht Frankfurt in last season's UEFA Europa League play-offs.
• St-Étienne were unbeaten on the road in their only previous UEFA group stage campaign (W1 D1) – in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup – when they made it all the way to the round of 16.
Trivia and links
• Qarabağ are only the second Azeri side to feature in a UEFA club competition group stage. Neftçi PFK were the pioneers, in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League group stage, recording three draws and three defeats. Qarabağ could thus become the first Azerbaijani team to win a UEFA group stage game.
• Qarabağ had reached the UEFA Europa League play-offs three times before finally making it through with an away-goals success against FC Twente, who eliminated them at that stage in 2009/10, this time around.
• St-Étienne striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel has struck nine times in 24 appearances in the UEFA Europa League proper, and 17 goals in 33 games including qualifying.
• Qarabağ coach Gurban Gurbanov is Azerbaijan's all-time top scorer at international level with 14 goals. He played in Russia, but enjoyed perhaps his most celebrated years with Neftçi, where he later started out as a coach. In charge at Qarabağ since 2008, he led the club to their second title – after a 21-year wait – last season.
• A defender for hometown club Olympique de Marseille, LOSC Lille and Toulouse FC among others, St-Étienne boss Christophe Galtier took up his current position in 2009, helping Les Verts to win the 2012/13 French Cup. He had previously assisted Alain Perrin and Richard Tardy, working in England and Greece as well as France.