UEFA Champions League – Maribor-Sevilla – Sevilla seek progress via Maribor success
Sevilla FC mounted one of the UEFA Champions League’s most remarkable comebacks on matchday five, and that has put them within sight of a place in the round of 16 as they conclude their Group E campaign at NK Maribor.
• The Spanish side came from three goals down at half-time to salvage a 3-3 draw at home to Liverpool FC on 21 November, and now have eight points – one less than the English team but two more than third-placed FC Spartak Moskva.
• Maribor, who have two points and lost 3-0 in Spain on matchday two, will finish fourth.
• These clubs were paired together in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League round of 32 – a campaign that would end with Sevilla holding the trophy aloft, the first of their record three straight triumphs in the competition.
• The first leg in Slovenia finished 2-2, Marcos Tavares giving the hosts a 33rd-minute lead. Kevin Gameiro (47) and Federico Fazio (72) turned things around but Maribor substitute Dare Vršič levelled nine minutes from time.
• The line-ups at the Stadion Ljudski vrt on 20 February 2014 were:
Maribor: Handanović, Filipović, Milec, Mezga (Vršič 75), Tavares, Mendy (Fajić 86), Dervišević (Cvijanovič 87), Bohar, Viler, Rajčević, Arghus.
Sevilla: Varas, Carriço, Fazio, Pareja (Iborra 59), Navarro, Diogo Figueiras, Cristóforo (Trochowski 84), Rakitić, Cheryshev (Marin 40), Vitolo, Gameiro.
• Back in Spain, goals either side of half-time from José Antonio Reyes (42) and Gameiro (59) took Sevilla through despite another late Vršič strike (90+2).
• The Slovenian champions have lost just one of their three home games against Spanish opposition, suffering a 3-0 defeat by Club Atlético de Madrid in the 1992/93 European Cup Winners’ Cup first round first leg (1-9 aggregate). They held Villarreal CF 1-1 in a UEFA Intertoto Cup third round second leg in 2006 (2-3 aggregate).
• That Liverpool reversal halted Maribor’s eight-game unbeaten home run in Europe (W5 D3). In fact, they have lost just four of their last 16 European matches, home and away (W6 D6).
• However, Maribor have not won any of their eight home fixtures in the UEFA Champions League proper, group stage to final (D3 L5).
• The Slovene outfit are in the group stage for a third time, having previously competed in 1999/2000 and 2014/15. In that latter group appearance they drew 1-1 at home to both Sporting Clube de Portugal and Chelsea, and lost 1-0 to FC Schalke 04.
• Maribor qualified for this season’s UEFA Champions League by winning a sixth Slovenian title in seven seasons in 2016/17. They reached the group stage by overcoming HŠK Zrinjski of Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-2 on aggregate in the second qualifying round (2-1 away, 1-1 home) and Iceland’s FH Hafnarfjördur in the next round (1-0 home, 1-0 away). In the play-offs they went down 2-1 at Hapoel Beer-Sheva FC in the first leg but progressed on away goals thanks to a 1-0 home success.
• The Spanish side are yet to win away in Group E, and endured their heaviest UEFA Champions League defeat in losing 5-1 at Spartak on matchday three. They picked up a 2-2 draw at Liverpool in their first game.
• Sevilla have lost only two of their last ten away matches in UEFA competition (W3 D5): at Spartak and the 2-0 reverse at Leicester City FC in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg, which completed a 3-2 aggregate loss.
• Last term, Sevilla made it to the round of 16 for the first time since 2009/10 – but they have never gone any further in the UEFA Champions League era. This is their fifth group stage campaign, and third in a row.
• Those 2013/14 matches against Maribor were Sevilla’s only experience of Slovenian opponents before this season.
Coach and player links
• Striker Sunny Omoregie started his career in Spain, playing for CF Palencia in 2012/13 and Mérida AD the following season in the Tercera División.
• Maribor’s 18-match unbeaten league run, (W13 D5) in the league, which began two games before the end of last season, ended with a 2-1 defeat at NK Celje on 25 November.
• Maribor have managed a solitary victory in five matches in all competitions.*
• Maribor have not registered more than once in their last seven home games. They have mustered just 11 in 13 outings on their own turf all season.*
• Marcos Tavares scored five goals in as many outings.*
• Maribor’s Slovenian Cup ambitions were ended at the quarter-final stage by NK Olimpija Ljubljana, a 1-1 draw on 29 November completing a 4-1 aggregate defeat.
• Jasmin Mešanović is out until the new year after suffering a head injury in the second leg against Olimpija.
• Sergio Escudero, Éver Banega and Gabriel Mercado will incur a suspension with their next bookings.
• Coach Eduardo Berizzo is on leave after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
• Sevilla are four games unbeaten, winning three of them, scoring 12 in the process.*
• Wissam Ben Yedder has scored four goals in his last two appearances and has 12 in 16 outings this season.*
• Sevilla have scored just 17 goals in 13 Liga games this term.*
• Steven N’Zonzi made his debut for France in the 2-0 friendly win against Wales on 10 November.
*Subject to updates