Qarabağ FK and Club Atlético de Madrid are both aiming to bounce back from matchday two defeats at home as they meet for the first time at the Bakı Olimpiya Stadionu.
• This is Qarabağ’s first game against Spanish opponents; Atlético have never before played a team from Azerbaijan.
• The debutants have lost their first two Group C matches, going down 2-1 at home to AS Roma on matchday two in their first home group stage game. That was only Qarabağ’s second defeat in their last ten European home matches (W5 D3); the other also came at the hands of Italian opponents, 1-2 against ACF Fiorentina in the UEFA Europa League on 8 December 2016.
• Qarabağ were beaten 6-0 at Chelsea FC in their first Group C game.
• Qarabağ’s record in home group games in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League is W2 D4 L4.
• The Azerbaijani club reached the group stage for the first time by beating Georgian champions FC Samtredia in the second qualifying round (5-0 home, 1-0 away), followed by Moldova’s FC Sheriff (0-0 home, 2-1 away) in the third. In the play-offs, they won 1-0 at home to FC København and advanced on away goals after a 2-1 defeat in Denmark.
• This is Qarabağ’s fourth UEFA Champions League campaign; in each of the previous three they were eliminated in the third qualifying round. Last year they ousted F91 Dudelange 3-1 on aggregate in the second qualifying round, but then lost to FC Viktoria Plzeň (0-0 away, 1-1 home) in the next stage.
• In 2016/17, the Baku-based team contested the UEFA Europa League group stage – for the third consecutive year – after being eliminated from the UEFA Champions League. They have never reached the knockout stages.
• Qarabağ qualified for the UEFA Champions League after winning the Azerbaijani Premier League for a fifth time in 2016/17 – their fourth straight championship.
• The Spanish side played a friendly against FC Baku in 2013, winning 3-0 with Diego Costa – who returned to Atlético in September but is not in their UEFA Champions League squad – scoring one of the goals.
• The Roma stalemate meant Atlético have managed just three victories in their last ten UEFA Champions League away matches (D3 L4). They did, however, win two of their three away fixtures in last year’s group stage.
• Third in Spain in 2016/17, Atlético missed out on becoming only the seventh team to win all six matches in a UEFA Champions League group when they went down 1-0 at FC Bayern München on matchday six last season.
• Diego Simeone’s men went on to reach the semi-finals, but a 3-0 first-leg reversal at Real Madrid proved too much to retrieve despite a 2-1 second-leg success in the last European game to be played at the Vicente Calderón.
Coach and player links
• Míchel scored in Getafe CF’s 3-2 win against Atlético on 6 November 2011 – his only goal in 60 games for the club. He also featured in a 7-0 away defeat in November 2013 for Getafe, and in Sporting Gijón’s 3-1 loss at Atlético’s former home the Vicente Calderón on 26 April 2009.
• Míchel and Atlético’s Miguel Ángel Moyà were team-mates at Getafe between 2011 and 2014.
• Daniel Quintana started his career in Valencia CF’s B team (2006–08) and had spells at UD Puçol (2006/07, loan), Ontinyent CF (2008), UD Alzira (2008/09), Racing de Ferrol (2009/10), AD Huracán (2010/11), CD Olímpic de Xàtiva (2011/12) and Gimnàstic de Tarragona (2012/13) in his native Spain. He never faced Atlético.
• Going for their fifth successive Azerbaijani title, Qarabağ have 16 points from six league matches this season, three more than they had at the same stage last term.*
• Qarabağ are 17 games unbeaten (W13 D4) in domestic competition, a run dating back to 28 February.*
• Badavi Hüseynov, Rahid Amirguliyev, Gara Garayev, Ramil Sheydaev, Afran Ismayilov and Richard Almeida played in Azerbaijan’s losses to the Czech Republic and Germany in the European Qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on 5 and 8 October respectively. Rashad F. Sadygov and Mahir Madatov featured in the first of those fixtures.
• Sadygov, Azerbaijan’s most-capped player, made his 111th and last appearance for his country against the Czechs. Amirguliyev took over as captain.
• The 2-1 loss to Chelsea is Atlético’s only defeat in their last 13 matches in all competitions, a sequence stretching back to early May.*
• Diego Godín (Uruguay), José María Giménez (Uruguay), Koke (Spain), Saúl Ñíguez (Spain) and Antoine Griezmann (France) played during the international break as their teams qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
• Griezmann is on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or. The winner will be announced in December.