Trabzonspor AŞ will look to avoid a doomsday scenario in UEFA Europa League Group J, with Apollon Limassol FC needing a win – and at least two goals – if they are to give the Black Sea side a scare in Turkey.
• A win, a draw or a 1-0 defeat would put Trabzonspor through to the next round; anything other than a victory would mean Apollon would be unable to overtake SS Lazio or Trabzonspor at the top end of the section.
• Yusuf Erdoğan struck on 86 minutes to earn Trabzonspor a 2-1 win when the teams met for the first time on matchday one. It was Apollon's first meeting with a Turkish club.
• Trabzonspor have had the edge in their five previous meetings with Cypriot sides, with the record W3 D1 L1 (W2 D0 L0 in Trabzon – W1 D1 L1 in Cyprus). They won both of those home fixtures 1-0.
• Trabzonspor boss Mustafa Akçay was assistant to Şenol Güneş when the Turkish club were eliminated by Anorthosis Famagusta FC in 2005/06 UEFA Champions League qualifying.
• Fenerbahçe SK are the only other Turkish club to have faced Cypriot opposition. Last season, they secured home and away victories against Apollon's cross-town rivals AEL Limassol FC in the UEFA Europa League group stage. Apollon reserve goalkeeper Isli Hidi was on the bench for both games.
• Trabzonspor are unbeaten in 12 European fixtures (W8 D4): ten this season plus two 0-0 draws (and a subsequent penalty shoot-out defeat) against Videoton FC in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League play-offs.
• Trabzonspor are making their debut in the UEFA Europa League group stage, though they played in the 2011/12 round of 32 after finishing third in their section in their maiden UEFA Champions League campaign.
• Apollon are making their debut in a major UEFA group stage after eliminating OGC Nice in the play-offs.
• Qualification would be a nice early birthday gift for Trabzonspor coach Mustafa Akçay, who turns 55 on 12 December, the day of his side's final Group J fixture against Lazio.
• Trabzonspor's Paulo Henrique was the most prolific scorer in UEFA Europa League qualifying this season with seven goals in six games.
• Florent Malouda and Apollon's Camel Meriem were briefly international team-mates for France in 2004.
• Apollon's Bertrand Robert is the brother of former Paris Saint-Germain FC and Newcastle United FC winger Laurent Robert, whose only international goal for France came against Turkey in a friendly back in 2000.
• Along with domestic double winners NK Maribor (Slovenia) and Legia Warszawa (Poland), Apollon are one of 11 cup winners in the group stage along with Wigan Athletic FC (England, FA Cup), Swansea City AFC (Wales, English League Cup), AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands), FC Girondins de Bordeaux (France), KRC Genk (Belgium), SS Lazio (Italy), Vitória SC (Portugal) and Esbjerg fB (Denmark).
• Trabzonspor coach Mustafa Akçay spent several spells observing AFC Ajax at close hand during his education. He made his name by winning promotion to the second tier with TKİ Tavşanlı Linyitspor in 2009/10; their survival at that level the following season prompted Trabzonspor's feeder outfit 1461 Trabzon to take him on. That club's third-place finish in the same division last season earned the coach a move to Trabzonspor in summer 2013.
• Appointed in March 2013, Christakis Christoforou led 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 Limassol FC and APOEL FC, 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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