APOEL out to emulate Anorthosis

APOEL FC visit Danish titleholders FC København aiming to follow the lead of compatriots Anorthosis Famagusta FC, who became the first Cypriot club in the UEFA Champions League group stage last term.

APOEL fell in the first round of the UEFA Cup last season
APOEL fell in the first round of the UEFA Cup last season ©Getty Images

APOEL FC are looking to follow the lead of their compatriots Anorthosis Famagusta FC, who became the first Cypriot club to reach the UEFA Champions League proper last term. But first they must overcome the obstacle of an FC København side seeking to return to the group stage after a two-year absence.

• Although, technically speaking, the sides have never met before, APOEL did face one of København's parent clubs, Boldklubben 1903, precisely 30 years ago. The merger of B1903 with Kjøbenhavns Boldklub in 1992 created the modern-day København, but prior to that, in 1979/80, B1903 took on APOEL in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup preliminary round. The Danish side won the first leg 6-0 at home on 15 August 1979 and completed a resounding aggregate triumph with a 1-0 victory in the return on 8 September.

Match background

• København's goal is to secure their first appearance in the group stage since they first made it through in 2006/07 by defeating Myllykosken Pallo-47 and AFC Ajax in successive qualifying rounds. Those triumphs reversed a trend that brought the Danish outfit defeats at the qualifying stage on four occasions (2001/02, 2003/04, 2004/05 and 2007/08).

• The Copenhagen side also fell short of the group stage in an earlier version of the competition format in 1993/94, losing 7-0 on aggregate to AC Milan in the second round.

• To reach the play-off round, København swept aside Montenegro's FK Mogren 12-0 on aggregate before a more closely contested tie against Stabæk IF. The Danish champions won 3-1 in Copenhagen – Jesper Grønkjær and Cesar Santin the scorers – before holding on for a goalless draw in Norway.

• APOEL secured a surprise 2-1 aggregate success against FK Partizan in the third qualifying round. After a 2-0 home victory via goals from Nenad Mirosavljević and Marcin Żewłakow, Ivan Jovanović's men limited the Serbian titleholders to a single-goal victory in the return in Belgrade. They had earlier defeated Faroese side EB/Streymur 5-0 on aggregate in the second qualifying round.

• Both clubs competed in the UEFA Cup in 2008/09. København reached the Round of 32, while APOEL advanced no further than the first round.

Team ties

• As a player, København coach Ståle Solbakken appeared for the Norwegian national team in a 2-0 away win against Cyprus in February 1995. He was later in charge of the Norwegian Under-19 side beaten 1-0 at home by Cyprus in November 2002.