UEFA Europa League - 2020/21 SeasonMatch press kits
|AEK Athens FC||OACA Spyros Louis - AthensThursday 29 October 2020|
18.55CET (19.55 local time) Group G - Matchday 2
|Leicester City FC|
Leicester City's first away fixture in the UEFA Europa League brings them to the Greek capital as they take on Group G rivals AEK Athens.
• While AEK were beaten 3-0 by Braga in Portugal on Matchday 1, Leicester marked their debut in the competition with a convincing victory by the same score at home to Zorya Luhansk, James Maddision getting the opening goal on his European debut before further strikes from Harvey Barnes – also his first European goal – and Kelechi Iheanacho clinched the three points.
• Leicester are taking on Greek opposition in Europe for the first time, while this is AEK's 11th meeting with an English club. Only two of the previous ten have taken place since the 1970s, and both ended in defeat as Everton overcame them 4-0 in Liverpool and 1-0 in Athens in the inaugural UEFA Europa League group stage of 2009/10.
• AEK's home record against English visitors is W2 L3. One of Leicester's two East Midlands rivals, Derby County, lost 2-0 in the Greek capital in the 1976/77 UEFA Cup second round (in a 5-2 aggregate defeat) but another, Nottingham Forest, won 2-1 there two years later (and then 5-1 at home) in the second round of the club's triumphant debut European Cup campaign.
• Third in last season's Greek Superleague, 22 points adrift of champions Olympiacos, AEK's 2019/20 European campaign ended in the UEFA Europa League play-offs, where they lost on away goals to Trabzonspor (1-3 h, 2-0 a).
• Massimo Carrera's side overcame St Gallen (1-0 a) and Wolfsburg (2-1 h) in this season's qualifying phase, enabling the club to reach the UEFA Europa League group stage for the fifth time. They failed to make further progress in their first three participations, in 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12, but made it through at the fourth attempt, in 2017/18, as runners-up to AC Milan. Indeed, they remained unbeaten in that campaign, going out on away goals to Dynamo Kyiv in the round of 32 after two draws (1-1 h, 0-0 a) having also shared the points in five of their six group games in addition to an opening 2-1 win at Rijeka.
• AEK's Matchday 1 defeat in Braga was only the second loss in their last 17 UEFA Europa League fixtures, including qualifiers. In contrast, they lost all six group matches in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League and have won only two of their 12 home games in the UEFA Europa League group stage (D5 L5).
• Leicester finished fifth in the 2019/20 Premier League to qualify for a first appearance in the UEFA Europa League and direct entry to the group stage.
• This is only the club's fifth European campaign. Their most successful was the most recent, in 2016/17, when, as champions of England, they made their debut appearance in the UEFA Champions League, topped their group and went on to reach the quarter-finals – the best performance by any English club in the competition that season.
• Leicester's last three European away games have all ended in defeat. They have won only two of their nine away fixtures in UEFA competition, most recently defeating Club Brugge 3-0 on their UEFA Champions League debut four years ago.
Links and trivia
• AEK's Portuguese striker Nélson Oliveira spent the 2015/16 season on loan at Leicester's local rivals Nottingham Forest. He also had loan spells in England with Swansea and Reading as well as spending two seasons as a Norwich City player, the second of them, in 2017/18, alongside Leicester's Maddison.
• Two other AEK players have also operated briefly in England, Muamer Tankovic with Fulham in 2013/14 and Karim Ansarifard with Forest in 2018/19.
• Leicester reserve goalkeeper Eldin Jakupović played in the Greek Superleague for Olympiakos Volou (2010/11) and Aris Thessaloniki (2011/12).
• AEK midfielder Yevhen Shakhov's next appearance in UEFA club competition will be his 50th.
• Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has been successful in his two previous UEFA Europa League group campaigns, leading Liverpool to first place ahead of Anji, Young Boys and Udinese in 2012/13 and Celtic to a runners-up spot behind Salzburg but above RB Leipzig and Rosenborg in 2018/19. However, his four round of 32 ties – two with Liverpool (against Zenit in 2012/13 and Beşiktaş in 2014/15) and two with Celtic (against Zenit again in 2017/18 and Valencia in 2018/19) – all ended in elimination.
• Leicester are one of just six group stage debutants in this season's UEFA Europa League – alongside CSKA-Sofia (Group A), Granada and Omonoia (both E), Sivasspor (I) and Royal Antwerp (J).