A few facts on...NK Maribor
Thursday night represents the first time we've faced NK Maribor - so here are a few facts about the Slovenian champions...
- The team was formed in 1960 and are nicknamed Vijolice (Violets) after their colours, which were inspired by Fiorentina.
- Prior to Slovenia's independence in 1991, Maribor played in the Yugoslav football system, winning the Second Division once and the Third Division five times. They spent five years in the First Division between 1967-72.
- Maribor's Director of Football is Zlatko Zahovic, who played for Porto, Benfica, Olympiacos and Valencia. He was runner-up in the Champions League with Valencia in 2001 and holds the record for most caps (80) and most goals (35) for Slovenia.
- Their Head Coach is Darko Milanic, a former Yugoslav and Slovenia international defender. He joined Maribor in 2008 and has won three titles.
- NK Maribor are the most successful team in Slovenian history having won 10 league titles and seven Slovenian Cups. They completed the league and cup double in 2012.
- That title success took them into the second qualifying round for this season's Champions League. They beat Zeljeznicar of Bosnia 6-2 on aggregate and then Dudelange of Luxembourg 5-1 before losing to Dinamo Zagreb 3-1 in the play-offs.
- They are currently top of the Slovenia league by nine points having won 11 of their 14 matches so far. They moved nine points clear of Olimpija Ljubljana after beating them 1-0 on Saturday. Tavares scored an 89th-minute winner.
- We have played Slovenian opposition before in European competition - NK Rudar Velenje in the group stage of the InterToto Cup in July, 1995.
- NK Maribor have also played English opposition once before - Birmingham City in the group stages of the Europa League last season. They lost 1-0 at St Andrews before the Blues won 2-1 in Maribor.
- A note of Spurs interest - we need three more goals to reach 200 in the UEFA Cup and Europa League. We've played 96 matches.