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AZ Alkmaar welcome PAOK FC coach Huub Stevens back to the Netherlands in UEFA Europa League Group L, with the Salonika outfit eager to avenge a pair of defeats by their hosts nine years ago.
• Co Adriaanse's AZ eliminated Rolf Fringer's PAOK in the sides' only previous encounters, in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup first round. AZ won 3-2 in Salonika and then 2-1 at home.
• The teams for that first meeting at the Alkmaarderhout on 30 September 2004 were:
AZ: Timmer, Kromkamp, Opdam, Mathijsen, Landzaat, Elkhattabi (Sektioui 82), Huysegems, De Cler, Meerdink, Buskermolen (José Fortes 86), Van Galen (Ramzi 74).
PAOK: Atmatzidis, Vokolos, Markos (Theodoridis 66), Skarmoutsos, Salpingidis, Yiasemakis, Paraskevas, Lampros-Chara (Hagan 66), Feutchine, Chasiotis, Udeze.
• The only member of the current squads who featured was PAOK striker Dimitris Salpingidis, who scored in both legs for the Greek side. He left in 2006 before returning in 2010.
• AZ's record in seven games against Greek sides is W4 D1 L2 (W2 D1 L1 at home – W2 D0 L1 in Greece). They beat Atromitos FC on away goals in the play-offs to reach this season's group stage, winning 3-1 away before going down 2-0 at home.
• PAOK's overall record in ten games against Dutch sides is W1 D4 L5 (W1 D2 L2 at home – W0 D2 L3 in the Netherlands). They have drawn their last four games against Dutch opposition.
• AZ are appearing in this group stage for the seventh time; losing UEFA Cup finalists in 1980/81, they made it through to the semi-finals after coming through the inaugural UEFA Cup group stage in 2004/05. In total, they have qualified for the knockout phase four times.
• AZ kicked off with a 1-0 win at Maccabi Haifa FC, but have lost their last two European home games, conceding seven goals and scoring none themselves.
• PAOK replaced FC Metalist Kharkiv in the UEFA Champions League play-offs after the Ukrainian side, who had beaten PAOK in the third qualifying round, were excluded from Europe. They lost 4-3 on aggregate to FC Schalke 04 but moved into the UEFA Europa League for what is their fourth group campaign; they failed to progress in 2005/06 but made it to the round of 32 in 2010/11 and 2011/12.
• PAOK came from behind to beat FC Shakhter Karagandy 2-1 in their Group L opener. They have drawn both of their European away games this season 1-1.
• PAOK attacker Salpingidis has made 62 UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League appearances; five more in the group stage would leave the 32-year-old level with Walid Badier in fourth place in the all-time standings.
• Alongside double winners NK Maribor (Slovenia) and Legia Warszawa (Poland), AZ are one of 11 teams in the group stage who are domestic cup holders, along with Wigan Athletic FC (England, FA Cup), Swansea City AFC (England, League Cup), FC Girondins de Bordeaux (France), Apollon Limassol FC (Cyprus), KRC Genk (Belgium), SS Lazio (Italy), Vitória SC (Portugal) and Esbjerg fB (Denmark).
• PAOK have a Dutch coach in Stevens, with AZ defender Dirk Marcellis having played under him during his time at PSV Eindhoven in 2008/09.
• AZ midfielder Roy Beerens met PAOK during his time at sc Heerenveen, leaving the pitch injured after 20 minutes of a 1-1 draw in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup play-offs. The Dutch side prevailed on away goals after a 0-0 second leg.
• PAOK attacker Miroslav Stoch won the 2009/10 Dutch title while on loan from Chelsea FC at FC Twente.
• AZ dismissed coach Gertjan Verbeek on Sunday in the wake of a 2-1 win against PSV Eindhoven, with a club statement explaining that "that the chemistry between the playing squad and the coach has been disrupted". He had been in charge since 2010, and led the club to Dutch Cup success last season.
• The 61-year-old Martin Haar is in temporary command at AZ, with his 36-year-old son Dennis acting as his assistant. Martin Haar was a defender for Go Ahead Eagles, De Graafschap, HFC Haarlem, AZ Alkmaar, Sparta Rotterdam and FC Wageningen, and won the first Dutch Golden Boot award as the Eredivisie's best player of 1982 during his time at Haarlem.
• PAOK coach since June 2013, Huub Stevens won the UEFA Cup as a player with PSV Eindhoven in 1977/78 and as FC Schalke 04 coach in 1996/97. A defender, he spent his best years as a player with PSV, who he later coached. Schalke fans named him as their coach of the century in 1999, and he also coached 1. FC Koln, Hamburger SV and FC Salzburg before embarking on a second, less successful stint with Schalke in 2011.
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