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New coach Nikos Nioplias will look to make the most of home advantage in Athens as Panathinaikos FC open their UEFA Europa League round of 32 contest against an AS Roma side who have picked up some handy results on their travels this season.
• This is the clubs' first competitive meeting. Panathinaikos's record from 18 previous matches against Serie A opposition is W4 D5 L9; at home it is W3 D3 L3.
• Roma have yet to lose in six UEFA club competition games against Greek sides. Their record reads W2 D4 L0, with one win and two draws away.
• In addition to those six matches, Roma faced Aris Thessaloniki FC in the 1964/65 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup – the non-UEFA affiliated forerunner of the UEFA Cup – drawing 0-0 in Greece and winning 3-1 at home.
• Roma's only previous visit to Athens yielded a goalless draw at AEK Athens FC in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League group stage. They visited nearby Piraeus more recently in the same competition, winning 1-0 at Olympiacos FC in 2006/07.
• Panathinaikos have not prevailed in five two-legged springtime UEFA club competition ties since beating RSC Anderlecht in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup fourth round.
• Panathinaikos have won their last two European home games without conceding but lost the previous two, shipping three goals on both occasions.
• Roma have suffered just one defeat in five European away games this season, 2-0 at FC Basel 1893 in the UEFA Europa League group stage. That run includes a 7-1 win against KAA Gent and a 3-0 victory at PFC CSKA Sofia.
• Roma last appeared at this stage of the UEFA Cup in 2005/06, beating Club Brugge KV before losing out to that season's eventual runners-up, Middlesbrough FC, in the last 16.
• Giorgos Karagounis is the only Panathinaikos player with experience of Serie A, having played for FC Internazionale Milano from 2003 to 2005. He was a team-mate of Nicolás Burdisso and Marco Andreolli in his second season in Milan.
• Gilberto and Júlio Baptista are team-mates in the Brazil national team and also played together at Arsenal FC in 2006/07 season.
• Gilberto faced Roma twice with Arsenal in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League second group stage, winning 3-1 in Rome before drawing 1-1 in London.
• Júlio Baptista faced Panathinaikos with Sevilla FC in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup round of 32, winning 2-0 at home and losing 1-0 away.
• Djibril Cissé won two French Cups alongside Philippe Mexès at AJ Auxerre from 1999 to 2005, and then claimed the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League and 2005/06 FA Cup with John Arne Riise at Liverpool FC.
• Riise also rubbed shoulders with Sebastian Leto at Anfield in 2007/08.
• Panathinaikos have yet to score in the first half of a game since entering the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Cissé was ruled offside more times than any other player in the UEFA Europa League group stage, with the referee's assistant's flag being raised 18 times.
• The tie concludes in Rome on 25 February with the winners to face the victors of the contest between R. Standard de Liège and FC Salzburg in the round of 16 on 11 and 18 March, playing the first leg at home.
Misses next match if booked: Nikos Spiropoulos
Players added to squad: Giourkas Seitaridis, Cleyton, Anastasios Lagos, Fontas Fetsis
Players removed from squad: Georgos Machlelis
Misses next match if booked: Daniele De Rossi
Players added to squad: Luca Toni, Ricardo Faty
Players removed from squad: Stefano Guberti, Artur, Leandro Greco, Andrea Bertolacci, Stefano Okuka, Valerio Frasca
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