Standard Liège endured a tough start to Group J and must hope for better against newcomers Akhisar.
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Defeated 5-1 at Sevilla on matchday one, Standard Liège will be eager to get their UEFA Europa League Group J campaign back on track against European debutants Akhisar, whose first continental outing ended in a 0-1 home defeat by Krasnodar.
• While this is Akhisar’s first European game outside Turkey, Standard are unbeaten in three games against Turkish opponents, the only home fixture ending 0-0 against Altay 51 years ago in the first round of the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
• Standard enjoyed a fruitful 2017/18 season, finishing runners-up in the Belgian league and winning an eighth domestic cup. Their hopes of a first UEFA Champions League group campaign in nine years ended at the hands of Ajax in this season's third qualifying round – their point of entry – with a 5-2 aggregate defeat, sending them instead into the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• The Liege club have competed in the UEFA Europa League group stage in four previous campaigns, but have only once made further progress, back in 2011/12, when they went on to the round of 16. They were quarter-finalists in the inaugural 2009/10 season after switching over mid-campaign from the UEFA Champions League.
• Standard's record at home in the UEFA Europa League group stage is W2 D5 L5. They drew all three games in Liege – against Celta Vigo, Panathinaikos and Ajax – on their last participation, in 2016/17, and are unbeaten at home in six European home fixtures, having drawn the last four.
• Akhisar qualified for their first European campaign – and an automatic place in the UEFA Europa League group stage – with a shock 3-2 win over Fenerbahçe in the 2018 Turkish Cup final. They finished 11th in the league – nine places and 30 points behind their illustrious Istanbul opponents.
Links and trivia
• Akhisar are one of five clubs making their debut this season in the UEFA Europa League proper. The other four are Dudelange, Jablonec, Sarpsborg and Spartak Trnava. Furthermore, Akhisar and Sarpsborg had never played in Europe before this season.
• Standard's Miloš Kosanović played on loan in Turkey for Göztepe in 2017/18 and his team-mate Luis Pedro Cavanda had spells at both Trabzonspor (2015/16) and Galatasaray (2016–2018).
• Standard's matchday one defeat at Sevilla was the first time they have conceded five goals away from home in a UEFA match.
• A former goalkeeper who played 58 times for Belgium, Michel Preud'homme started out with Standard, winning two league titles before making further waves with Mechelen, notably in their European Cup Winners' Cup triumph of 1988/89. He has enjoyed similar success as a coach, winning trophies with every club he has managed, most recently the 2015/16 Belgian league with Club Brugge. This is his third spell in charge at Standard.
• Cihat Arslan was appointed as Akhisar's new head coach on 25 September, succeeding Safet Sušić. It is his second spell at the club, the first lasting for the duration of the 2015/16 season when he led Akhisar to an eighth-placed finish in the Turkish Süper Lig. A former defender who was a national champion early in his playing career with Galatasaray, he has coached a host of Turkish clubs, most recently Karşiyaka and Adanaspor, bot none in European competition until now.