UEFA Europa League – Vitesse-Nice – Vitesse v Nice background
All of the qualification issues are resolved in Group K, but having failed to win any of their opening five matches, eliminated Vitesse will be eager to sign off their campaign with a long-awaited European victory.
• Nice are through to the round of 32 as group runners-up, behind Lazio, and will be playing European football in the spring for the first time since 1960.
• Nice came out on top on matchday two when the sides met for the first time in UEFA competition, winning 3-0 with two goals from Alassane Pléa and one from Allan Saint-Maximin.
• Vitesse have yet to win in five UEFA encounters with French clubs: D1 L4 (D1 L1 in Arnhem).
• Nice drew their only previous games against Dutch opposition, 1-1 (home) and 2-2 (away) against Ajax in this season’s UEFA Champions League third qualifying round – enough to earn them an away-goals success.
• Vitesse have lost their last five home matches in Europe, scoring three goals and conceding 11. They are winless in 11 UEFA fixtures, home and away, since a 3-1 victory at home to Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the second qualifying round of the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League.
• Nice posted their biggest European away win on matchday one – 5-1 at Zulte Waregem – but that is their only victory in their past five games outside France (D1 L3). The five goals they scored in Belgium matched the total they had registered in the whole of last season’s group stage.
• Vitesse are featuring in the group stage of a UEFA competition for the first time – the reward for having won the 2016/17 Dutch Cup, their maiden major trophy.
• Beaten by Napoli in this season’s UEFA Champions League play-offs, Nice made their UEFA Europa League group stage debut in 2016/17 but failed to reach the round of 32.
• Nice have already played nine UEFA matches this season, making it their longest ever European campaign.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Nice to Arnhem is around 900km.
• Nice’s ex-Ajax schemer and Dutch international Wesley Sneijder last faced Vitesse with the Amsterdam club in an Eredivisie game in December 2006, his side losing 4-2. Ajax had won all seven of the previous matches he was involved in against Vitesse, with Sneijder scoring twice in the process.
• Nice defender Dante has completed more passes than any other player in the competition after five matchdays – 464. His team-mate Maxime Le Marchand is second on the list with 404.
• Suspended for next match if booked: Mario Balotelli (Nice).
• Vitesse coach since 2016, leading them to their historic Dutch Cup triumph last season, Surinam-born Henk Fraser was capped seven times by the Netherlands as a defender, spending the bulk of his playing career at Feyenoord, where he was later a youth coach. He took his first senior job at Den Haag from 2014 to 2016.
• Former Switzerland midfielder Lucien Favre has been in charge at Nice since May 2016. He made his name as a coach by capturing back-to-back Swiss titles with Zürich, and subsequently enhanced his reputation with spells in Germany at Hertha Berlin and Borussia Mönchengladbach.