SS Lazio will look to gain a stronger foothold at the top end of UEFA Europa League Group J as they welcome Apollon Limassol FC, who are eager to become the first Cypriot side to beat Italian opponents.
• The sides met for the first time on matchday three, with a 0-0 draw something of a coup for Apollon, though Hernanes, Ederson and Álvaro González all missed decent opportunities for the visitors.
• Lazio's only prior experience of Cypriot opponents saw them beat AC Omonia 5-0 at home and 2-1 in Nicosia in the first round of the 1995/96 UEFA Cup.
• Apollon's only previous experience of Serie A opposition came when they met FC Internazionale Milano in the 1993/94 UEFA Cup second round, earning a creditable 3-3 draw at home following a 1-0 defeat in Milan.
• No Cypriot side has beaten an Italian opponent home or away in 21 UEFA club competition games – five draws and 16 defeats for the Cypriot clubs. All ten of these games that were played in Italy ended in defeat for the visitors.
• This is Lazio's fifth group stage campaign; they missed the cut in their first two, in 2004/05 and 2009/10, but reached the 2011/12 round of 32 and last season's quarter-finals.
• Lazio are unbeaten in their last eight European home fixtures (W6 D2), and their last seven UEFA Europa League home fixtures (W5 D2).
• Apollon have already achieved one first this season, becoming the first Cypriot side to win a game in Poland on matchday two, ending a seven-game losing streak away from home in Europe to beat Legia Warszawa 1-0.
• Apollon are making their debut in a major UEFA group stage after eliminating OGC Nice in the play-offs.
• Lazio had 25 shots off target in the first three matchdays – more than any other club in this season's group stage. They also lead the way in terms of corners, having won 29.
• Apollon's local rivals AEL Limassol FC featured in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage, finishing bottom of their section with four points.
• Lazio defender Ştefan Radu and Apollon midfielder Ştefan Grigorie were team-mates back in their native Romania at FC Dinamo Bucureşti from 2004-06.
• Apollon coach Christakis Christoforou took on Italian opponents in the 2012/13 UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32 during his time as Apollon Ladies FC coach, with his side losing 3-2 at home and 3-1 away to Sardinian side ASD Torres Calcio.
• Hired in summer 2012, Vladimir Petković won the Coppa Italia and reached the last eight of the UEFA Europa League with the Biancocelesti in his first season in charge. Nicknamed Il Dottore (The Doctor), the Sarajevo-born coach reportedly speaks eight languages and has spent most of his career in Switzerland as a midfielder and then a coach. Prior to joining Lazio, he took BSC Young Boys to the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Appointed in March 2013, Christakis Christoforou guided Apollon to Cypriot Cup glory in 2012/13 and is the first coach to lead the men's and women's branches of the same club in UEFA competition. A successful player with AEL and APOEL, he took charge of Apollon's women following a spell as Cyprus Under-17 coach, winning five successive doubles and reaching the UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32 three times.
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