Gelsenkirchen - AC Sparta Praha are the visitors to the Veltins Arena as FC Schalke 04 go in search of their third successive UEFA Europa League win of the season on Thursday (kick-off 19:00 CET/17:00 GMT).

Top of Group K after two matches, victory on Matchday 3 could all but wrap up the Royal Blues’ place in the next round, depending on the outcome of Asteras Tripolis FC’s trip to Apoel FC.

Top facts

  • Schalke and SSC Napoli are the top scorers in this season's group stage with seven goals apiece.
  • The Royal Blues lost 4-2 on aggregate to Sparta in the last eight of the 1972/73 European Cup Winners' Cup.
  • Schalke have won all five of their home games against Czech sides in European competition.
  • Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar needs one more goal to take his UEFA club competition tally to 50.
  • Sparta right-back Markus Steinhöfer is a former FC Bayern München trainee and also played alongside Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann at Eintracht Frankfurt (2009–10).
  • Sparta midfielder Petr Jiracek made 66 Bundesliga appearances between 2011-2015 (VfL Wolfsburg and Hamburger SV).
  • Sparta’s record in Germany: W1, D2, L3.

Possible line-ups:

Schalke: Fährmann - Junior Caicara, Matip, Höwedes, Kolasinac - Geis, Goretzka - Sane, Meyer - Choupo-Moting, Huntelaar

Sparta: Bicik - Marecek, Brabec, Nhamoinesu, Frydek - Piracek, Matejovsky - Fatai, Dockal, Krejci - Lafata