Manuel Pellegrini aims to do for Málaga CF what he previously did for Villarreal CF in the UEFA Champions League, but Jesualdo Ferreira and Panathinaikos FC have other ideas.
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Málaga CF take on Panathinaikos FC with the goal of bringing UEFA Champions League football to the Costa del Sol for the first time.
• Málaga earned their first stab at qualification by finishing fourth in Spain last season but face experienced rivals in Panathinaikos, who beat Motherwell FC 5-0 over two legs in the last round and are now eyeing a tenth appearance on the UEFA Champions League stage.
• Málaga may be new to this level but the Liga club will hold no surprises for visiting coach Jesualdo Ferreira, who held the reins at La Rosaleda before Manuel Pellegrini.
• Málaga can take heart from the experience of coach Pellegrini, who previously led Villarreal CF from the qualifying rounds to the semi-finals on their UEFA Champions League debut in 2005/06 – and later guided them past Panathinaikos in the 2008/09 round of 16, where a 2-1 victory in Athens secured a 3-2 aggregate success.
• Panathinaikos's record in 23 games against Spanish opposition is W3 D6 L14 (W3 D5 L3 - W0 D1 L11 in Spain). On their last visit to Spain they went down 5-1 to FC Barcelona in the 2010/11 group stage. However, that lone draw in Spain did come against Pellegrini's Villarreal.
• The Athens club lost a UEFA Champions League play-off to another Spanish side, Club Atlético de Madrid, in 2009, succumbing 3-2 at home and 2-0 in Spain.
• Málaga have faced Greek opposition only once before, beating AEK Athens FC 1-0 on aggregate in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup fourth round.
• Panathinaikos coach Ferreira was hired as Málaga boss in June 2010 but lasted just five months before being replaced by Pellegrini.
• As FC Porto coach, Ferreira enjoyed an away-goals victory over Atlético in the last 16 of the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League, and home and away wins in the following season's group stage.
• Málaga's Enzo Maresca enjoyed two derby victories over Panathinaikos with Olympiacos FC in 2010/11.
• Málaga's Julio Baptista was in the Sevilla FC side that overturned a 1-0 loss at Panathinaikos – current Panathinaikos player Loukas Vyntra scoring – with a 2-0 home win after extra time in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup round of 32. At the same stage in 2009/10, however, his AS Roma team lost 6-4 on aggregate to Panathinaikos, with Lazaros Christodoulopoulos among the scorers.
• Panathinaikos's Stefanos Kapino, Spyros Fourlanos, Nikos Marinakis and Charis Mavrias took on Málaga's Juanmi when Greece lost to Spain in the group stage of July's UEFA European Under-19 Championship. All bar the suspended Kapino were involved again in the final, which Spain won 1-0.
• Málaga's Martín Demichelis scored for Argentina in a 2-0 victory over a Greece team including Panathinaikos's Kostas Katsouranis, Nikos Spyropoulos and Loukas Vyntra at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
• Panathinaikos's Katsouranis and Giourkas Seitaridis were in the Greece side that drew 1-1 with Joaquín's Spain at UEFA EURO 2004.
• Seitaridis and Málaga's Ignacio Camacho were team-mates at Club Atlético de Madrid. Seitaridis was at Atlético from 2006-09 and faced Málaga once – a 4-0 home win in August 2008.
• Panathinaikos's Jean-Alain Boumsong and Málaga's Jérémy Toulalan played together at Olympique Lyonnais and were also France team-mates.
• Canary Islander Vitolo had spells with CD Tenerife, Real Racing Club and RC Celta de Vigo before moving to Greece in 2008.
• Toché played for Atlético, CD Numancia, Hércules CF, Real Valldolid CF, Albacete Balompié and FC Cartagena before joining Panathinaikos.