UEFA Europa League - 2020/21 SeasonMatch press kits
|PAOK FC||Stadio Toumba - SalonikaThursday 22 October 2020|
18.55CET (19.55 local time) Group E - Matchday 1
Defeated by Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, Omonoia kick off their debut appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage with another match against Greek opponents as they take on competition ever-presents PAOK in Salonika.
• The clubs have only been drawn together once before in UEFA competition, PAOK winning a European Cup first-round tie in 1976/77 3-1 on aggregate (2-0 a, 1-1 h). Those remain PAOK's only matches against Cypriot opposition.
• Omonoia lost last month's tie against Olympiacos, drawing 0-0 at home after a 2-0 defeat in Piraeus, and their only win in ten matches against Greek sides came in Athens, 1-0 against AEK in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round with a 2-2 draw in the return sealing an aggregate victory. Omonoia's record in Greece is W1 D2 L2.
• PAOK finished distant runners-up to Olympiacos in the 2019/20 Greek Superleague in defence of their title, but Abel Ferreira's side harboured high hopes of reaching the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time this season when they knocked out Beşiktaş (3-1 h) and Benfica (2-1 h) in their first two qualifying ties, only to lose 2-1 in both legs of their play-off against Krasnodar.
• That means PAOK have extended their record of having participated in every season of the UEFA Europa League to a 12th successive year. Last season they lost on away goals to Slovan Bratislava in the play-offs (0-1 a, 3-2 h), but they are back in the group stage this term for the eighth time. Four of their previous seven participations have extended into the knockout phase but never beyond the round of 32. Their most recent group campaign, in 2018/19, was their poorest yet as they lost five of their six games and finished bottom of a group headed by eventual winners Chelsea.
• The Salonika side lost all three home fixtures in that 2018/19 group stage and have won just one of their last 12 at the Stadio Toumba in the UEFA Europa League proper (D4 L7), failing to score in eight of them, including five of the last seven.
• Omonoia, who led their domestic league when the Cypriot season was halted in March, were awarded a place in this season's UEFA Champions League. Henning Berg's team needed extra time before winning at both Ararat-Armenia (1-0) in the first qualifying round and Legia Warszawa (2-0) in the second, and it took penalties to settle their third qualifying round tie at home to Crvena zvezda (4-2 after a 1-1 draw) before they lost that play-off tie to Olympiacos.
• This is Omonoia's first European campaign for four years and their first in the group stage of any UEFA competition. In their most recent continental campaign they lost on away goals to Beitar Jerusalem in the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round (0-1 a, 3-2 h).
• The defeat at Olympiacos was only the second in Omonoia's last seven European away fixtures (W3 D2). They have not scored more than two goals away from home in Europe since a 4-1 win at HB Tórshavn in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round – a run of 19 matches.
Links and trivia
• Omonoia's Charis Mavrias is a Greek international who started out in his homeland with Panathinaikos, where he became the youngest Greek player to appear in the UEFA Champions League. He is an international team-mate of PAOK quartet Christos Tzolis, Dimitris Giannoulis, Alexandros Paschalakis and Giannis Michailidis.
• Giannoulis played for Cypriot club Anorthosis on loan from PAOK in the second half of 2016/17.
• Omonoia's Cypriot international forward Fotis Papoulis was born in Athens and played in Greece for six clubs before moving to Cyprus in 2012 when he joined Apollon Limassol.
• Both clubs are captained by Spaniards – PAOK by José Ángel Crespo, Omonoia by Jordi Gómez.
• Anderson Esiti (PAOK) and Shehu Abdullahi (Omonoia) are fellow Nigerian internationals.
• PAOK's eighth appearance in the UEFA Europa League proper is a Greek record, one more than Olympiacos.
• Omonoia are one of five UEFA Europa League group stage debutants this season alongside Leicester City (Group G), Sivasspor (I), Royal Antwerp (J) and Granada, who join them in Group E.