APOEL FC are one of eight clubs making debuts in the UEFA Champions League group stage this season and, as part of a series of features on the competition's new boys, uefa.com runs the rule over Ivan Jovanović's Cypriot champions.
Who are they?
Nickname: Thrylos (The Legend)
League titles: 20
Cypriot Cups: 19
Founded in 1926, APOEL are one of Cyprus's most historic sports clubs with origins in the early days of British colonial rule on the island. Named Athlitikos Podosferikos Omilos Ellinon Lefkosias (Athletic Football Club Greeks Nicosia) or APOEL for short, the club grew out of a desire to represent all Greeks in Nicosia. APOEL have been on an upward trajectory ever since, claiming 20 league titles, 19 cups and eleven Super Cups to surpass cross-town rivals AC Omonia as the country's most decorated side. For a short period in the early 1970s, the Cypriot champions played in the Greek top flight and, in 1973/74, APOEL became the only such team to avoid relegation, finishing the campaign in a creditable 13th place. They are also just the second Cypriot club to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, following the example set by Anorthosis Famagusta FC last season.
One to watch
Konstantinos Charalambides, 28, midfielder
A cultured product of the club's academy, Charalambides is APOEL's creative midfield hub. The Cypriot international first burst on to the scene as a teenager in 1998 and had short spells with Panathinaikos FC and PAOK FC in Greece, as well as with FC Carl Zeiss Jena in Germany, before returning to his homeland to rejoin APOEL in 2008.
APOEL FC 3-1 FC København
UEFA Champions League play-off second leg, 26 August 2009
APOEL were up against it after losing the first leg of their play-off 1-0 in Copenhagen, but two goals from Chrysostomos Michail and one from Kamil Kosowski ensured an occasion that will take some beating for those crammed into Nicosia's GSP Stadium. The club had finally realised their long-standing ambition to mix it with Europe's élite.
A towering striker widely regarded as Cyprus's best ever footballer alongside Omonia's Sotiris Kaiafas. Stylianou earned iconic status among APOEL supporters in more than 300 games for the club between 1963 and 1977, while his electric pace and prolific scoring gained him many admirers across Cyprus and Greece. Such was his speed and fitness, Stylianou also enjoyed a successful career in athletics.
Did you know?
APOEL hold the record for the worst defeat in European club competition. That dubious honour was collected in 1963 when they were on the receiving end of a 16-1 drubbing by Sporting Clube de Portugal in the second round of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. APOEL's Portuguese opponents later spared their blushes somewhat, only winning 2-0 in the second leg to secure an 18-1 aggregate victory.
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