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A few facts on...Qarabag

Posted on 17 September 2015  - 12:25

We open our Europa League, Group J campaign against Qarabag at the Lane tonight (Thursday, September 17, 8.05pm) - here are a few facts and stats on the Azerbaijan champions.

Qarabag and Azerbaijan captain Rashad SadygovQarabag's top-scorer this season, Richard Almeida

Formed - 1951.

Nickname - The Horsemen.

History in the making - This is the first UEFA club meeting between teams from England and Azerbaijan. However, Qarabag have visited the UK twice before - they beat Portadown of Northern Ireland in Europa League qualifying in 2010 and took on Celtic in Champions League qualifying this season, losing 1-0 over two legs.

Four Lions - Five of our former players have played against Azerbaijan - Sol Campbell, Jermain Defoe, Jermaine Jenas and Paul Robinson all started England's World Cup qualifying win in Baku on October 13, 2004. Robbo then started the home match - a 2-0 win at St James' Park on March 30, 2005 - Ledley King came off the bench in that game, alongside Jermain.

Form - Qarabag have already played 10 matches in all competitions this season, and they've only lost once, 1-0 against Celtic in the Champions League qualifier at Celtic Park. They've won five on the trot in all competitions.

European form - Qarabag beat Young Boys over two legs to qualify for the Europa League group stages. They have won three of their last five European away games - including a fine win against last season's eventual runners-up Dnipro in the group stages last season.

Domestic form - Qarabag top the table again with three wins and a draw from their four games so far.

Last time out - Qarabag beat Xazar Lankaran 1-0 in the league thanks to Samuel Armenteros' 73rd-minute goal.

Home sweet home - We've lost only one of our last 17 home matches in Europe - a 3-1 loss against Benfica in 2014.

Air miles - It's approximately 4,000 miles from Baku to London - the longest trip on Matchday One.

Champions - Qarabag are one of 10 domestic champions in the Europa League group stages. They've won the Azerbaijan title on three occasions.

We've met before - Qarabag midfielder Michel came off the bench for Birmingham City in a 1-1 draw at St Andrews in the Premier League in December, 2010.

About the coach - Gurban Gurbanov tops the Azerbaijan international goalscoring charts with 12 goals in 62 caps. He has been coach at Qarabag since 2008 and led the team to successive titles.