The UEFA Europa League's most successful club, Sevilla's first group game in four years pits them against Standard Liège.
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Sevilla, who have won the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League combined a record five times, return to the competition's group stage for the first time in four years after a successful qualifying run, hosting a Standard Liège side whose only European tie during the summer ended in a UEFA Champions League third qualifying round defeat.
• Standard are the only Belgian club Sevilla have ever faced in UEFA competition, and their record against the Liege side is W1 D1 L1, the victory coming in the only one of the three games staged in Seville – 3-1 in the group stage of the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League, which the Andalusians went on to win. Standard's one victory came at home on matchday one of the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage.
• Standard have won one of their five matches in Spain, 3-2 against Real Madrid in the 1969/70 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round – a result that took them through following a 1-0 first-leg home win in Belgium.
• 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 came through their opening tie, against Hungary's Újpest, with ease, winning both legs, and it was the same story in subsequent rounds against Žalgiris Vilnius and Sigma Olomouc.
• This is Sevilla's fourth appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage. They have always progressed through to the knockout phase, winning the competition in both 2013/14 and 2014/15. The hat-trick triumph of 2015/16 came after they had crossed over to the competition from the UEFA Champions League during the winter.
• Sevilla have won all three European home games this season, extending to 11 matches their winning run at home to non-Spanish opposition in the UEFA Europa League. Their last two home defeats in this competition have both been to fellow Liga sides – 1-2 against Athletic Club in the 2015/16 quarter-finals and 0-2 against city rivals Betis in the 2013/14 round of 16 – though Sevilla won both ties on penalties.
• Standard enjoyed a fruitful 2017/18 season, finishing runners-up in the Belgian league and winning an eighth domestic cup. Their hopes of a first UEFA Champions League group campaign in nine years ended at the hands of Ajax in this season's third qualifying round – their point of entry – with a 5-2 aggregate defeat, sending them instead into the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• The Liege club have competed in the UEFA Europa League group stage in four previous campaigns, but have only once made further progress, back in 2011/12, when they went on to the round of 16. They were quarter-finalists in the inaugural 2009/10 season after switching over mid-campaign from the UEFA Champions League.
• Standard have won only one of their last nine UEFA Europa League group games away from home, losing six including that 2014/15 game at Sevilla.
Links and trivia
• Standard's Guillermo Ochoa (Málaga and Granada), Medhi Carcela (Granada) and Maxime Lestienne (Málaga) have all played club football in southern Spain.
• Paul-José M'Poku scored Standard's consolation goal on their last visit to Sevilla, in November 2014, during his first spell at the club.
• 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.
• A former goalkeeper who played 58 times for Belgium, Michel Preud'homme started out with Standard, winning two league titles before making further waves with Mechelen, notably in their European Cup Winners' Cup triumph of 1988/89. He has enjoyed similar success as a coach, winning trophies with every club he has managed, most recently the 2015/16 Belgian league with Club Brugge. This is his third spell in charge at Standard.