Sevilla were surprisingly beaten last time out and now face an Akhisar side who have lost both their European games.
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Surprisingly beaten last time out, three-time UEFA Europa League winners Sevilla will expect to get their Group J campaign back on track as they entertain Turkish side Akhisar, who have yet to avoid defeat in their debut European campaign.
• The Spanish club overpowered Standard Liège 5-1 on matchday one to prolong their 100% record of success from the qualifying phase, but then surrendered a lead to lose 2-1 away to Krasnodar. Akhisar, meanwhile, followed up a 0-1 home defeat to the Russian club on their European bow by losing 2-1 in Belgium.
• This is Akhisar's first game against Spanish opponents.
• Sevilla have faced three other Turkish clubs, getting the better of Beşiktaş in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage – en route to winning the trophy – and also İstanbul Başakşehir in last season's UEFA Champions League play-offs, but losing on penalties to Fenerbahçe in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League round of 16. They are unbeaten against Süper Lig opposition at home (W2 D1).
• 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 from the UEFA Champions League during the winter.
• Sevilla have won all four European home games this season, extending to 13 matches their winning run at home to non-Spanish opposition in the UEFA Europa League, qualifying included. 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.
• Akhisar qualified for their first European campaign – and an automatic place in the UEFA Europa League group stage – with a shock 3-2 win over Fenerbahçe in the 2018 Turkish Cup final. They finished 11th in the league – nine places and 30 points behind their illustrious Istanbul opponents.
Links and trivia
• As a Dnipro player Akhisar's Ukrainian forward Yevhen Seleznyov came on as a substitute in the 2015 UEFA Europa League final against Sevilla in Warsaw.
• Akhisar's Miguel Lopes spent the 2010/11 season at Sevilla's city rivals Real Betis, making 21 league appearances. He also played for Granada – as, briefly, did Dany Nounkeu – while Hélder Barbosa (Almería) and Abdoul Sissoko (Hércules, Granada, Mallorca) have also played club football in Spain.
• Sevilla's Danish international defender Simon Kjær played for Turkish club Fenerbahçe in 2015/16 and 2016/17, making 55 Süper Lig appearances and scoring three goals.
• 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.
• Cihat Arslan was appointed as Akhisar's new head coach on 25 September, succeeding Safet Sušić. It is his second spell at the club, the first lasting for the duration of the 2015/16 season when he led Akhisar to an eighth-placed finish in the Turkish Süper Lig. A former defender who was a national champion early in his playing career with Galatasaray, he has coached a host of Turkish clubs, most recently Karşiyaka and Adanaspor.