APOEL FC entertain Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC needing a second successive UEFA Europa League Group F home win if they are to remain in with a chance of reaching the round of 32.
• The Cypriot side revived their bid by defeating FC Girondins de Bordeaux 2-1 in Nicosia on matchday four, but a defeat or a scoring draw against second-placed Maccabi Tel-Aviv would end their hopes of a top-two finish.
• The matchday one meeting between the clubs ended 0-0, with APOEL the happier of the two teams after their goalkeeper Urko Pardo saved a 95th-minute Barak Itzhaki penalty at Bloomfield Stadium.
• In what were their only previous fixtures against sides from their opponents' nations, the clubs came together in the second qualifying round of the 2005/06 UEFA Cup. Marios Konstantinou's APOEL prevailed against Nir Klinger's charges following a 1-0 win at home and a 2-2 draw after extra time in Tel Aviv.
• The teams for that Nicosia encounter on 11 August 2005 were:
APOEL: Morfis, Okkarides, Kaklamanos (Nasiopoulos 58), Ricardo Fernandes, Georgiou (Jovanović 51), Daskalakis, Ilia, Makridis, Michail, Kenedy, Neophytou (Alexandrou 79).
Maccabi: Strauber, Yehiel, Shpungin, Gonzales, Berkovic (L Cohen 90), Rosso, Blesing, T Cohen, Abo Siam, Trică, Dayan (Mesika 72).
• Winger turned left-back Nektarios Alexandrou is the only player registered to play in this season's group stage for either club who appeared in that game, coming on as a late substitute in both legs.
• The win against Bordeaux was APOEL's first in five European home outings, a run that included three defeats and a draw.
• APOEL have featured in the UEFA Champions League group stage twice, famously making it to the quarter-finals in 2011/12, but this is their first participation in the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• APOEL were reinstated into the UEFA Europa League after being drawn to replace Fenerbahçe SK following the Turkish club's exclusion from the 2013/14 UEFA competitions.
• Maccabi Tel-Aviv were given a bye through the play-offs after their opponents PAOK FC were reinstated in the UEFA Champions League play-offs following the exclusion from the competition of FC Metalist Kharkiv, the side that had beaten the Greek outfit in the third qualifying round.
• Maccabi Tel-Aviv have already improved on their only previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaign, having missed the cut without winning a game in the 2011/12 competition, collecting two points from their six matches.
• Maccabi Tel-Aviv are the most southerly side in this season's competition, with Tromsø IL pushing the competition's northern frontier inside the Arctic Circle – 4,299km separate the two clubs.
• Maccabi Tel-Aviv and APOEL are among nine domestic champions in this season's group stage along with NK Maribor (Slovenia), FC Sheriff (Moldova), PFC Ludogorets Razgrad (Bulgaria), Legia Warszawa (Poland), FC Shakhter Karagandy (Kazakhstan), GNK Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) and IF Elfsborg (Sweden).
• Maccabi Tel-Aviv drew 3-3 against the Cyprus national team in Tel Aviv on 23 July 1949 in what was the visitors' first game after being admitted to FIFA in 1948.
• Maccabi Tel-Aviv's Tal Ben Haim and APOEL's Hélder Cabral faced each other in 2012/13 UEFA Europa League Group B last season when the former's Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC drew 1-1 with A. Académica de Coimbra.
• Maccabi Tel-Aviv's general manager Jordi Cruyff worked in a similar capacity for AEK Larnaca FC between 2010 and 2012. During that time, AEK became the first Cypriot side to make it to the UEFA Europa League group stage, in 2011/12.
• APOEL parted company with Portuguese coach Paulo Sérgio the day after their matchday two loss to Eintracht Frankfurt. The former Heart of Midlothian FC and CFR 1907 Cluj boss had arrived this summer following the departure of Ivan Jovanović but oversaw just three victories in 11 games, including a 1-0 win against Apollon Limassol FC in the Cypriot Super Cup, and was replaced by Giorgos Donis on 11 October.
• Born in Germany, Donis played as a winger for, among others, Panathinaikos FC, Blackburn Rovers FC and AEK Athens FC, and won 24 caps for Greece, before turning his hand to coaching at Ilisiakos FC. He then led Larissa FC to the top flight in 2005 and Greek Cup glory the following year, before stints with AEK, Atromitos FC and PAOK FC.
• Maccabi Tel-Aviv's Portuguese coach Paulo Sousa famously won back-to-back UEFA Champions League titles with different clubs – Juventus (1995/96) and Borussia Dortmund (1996/97). The defensive midfielder also reached the semi-finals of UEFA EURO 2000 with Portugal. He coached a series of English league clubs before leading Videoton FC in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League, and was hired as Maccabi coach in June 2013.
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