And they are among the potential thirdround opponents for the Premiership champions - should Neil Lennon's side navigate their way past Estonian outfit Nomme Kalju and Maribor
see off AIK Stockholm in the secondqualifying round.
And he insists that despite being impressed by the quality of the Osijek side they overcame last week, Maribor
- who qualified for the CL groups twice in four years before this season - are an upgrade.
It happened against Arsenal and also against Maribor
had learned their lesson after suffering an embarrassing 7-0 home defeat in Slovenia and defended in numbers, keeping a compact shape and allowing Juergen Klopp's side plenty of possession but few chances.
They approached the game in exactly the right way, picking a strong line-up and playing with a tempo that Maribor
simply couldn't match.
goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic saved well from Hazard and Costa, who had the ball in the net after 79 minutes, only for the strike to be ruled out for offside.
's Champions League campaign began on July 15 - a day before the Blues' first pre-season fixture - and had already upset Celtic to reach the group stages.
Eden Hazard had the best chance of saving his side from embarrassment, but his spot-kick attempt was stopped by Maribor
goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic.
And, until that devastating trip to London, Maribor
had been unbeaten in eight European games, including their battle with Celtic to reach the elite.
Now it is the turn of Jose Mourinho's men to end the unbeaten European run of Maribor
, who have nothing to fear.
City must first beat NK Maribor
at St Andrews tonight if they are to have any chance of progressing from Group H and into the last 32.
1 BLUES 2 From Colin Tattum in Maribor
AN HISTORIC evening for Blues that was all set to be nothing but an horrific one.