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Slavia Praha v APOEL: play-off facts and stats

A miserable start in Cyprus has left Slavia Praha with a 2-0 deficit to overturn if they are to make it past APOEL and into the group stage for only the second time.

Milan Škoda and Ruslan Rotan celebrate a Slavia goal
Milan Škoda and Ruslan Rotan celebrate a Slavia goal ©Vlastimil Vacek

The Cypriot and Czech champions meet again, SK Slavia Praha needing to overturn a 2-0 deficit against APOEL FC to make it to the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Previous meetings
• The teams had never met before in UEFA competition prior to the first leg, which was Slavia's first UEFA meeting with opponents from Cyprus.

• APOEL's record in seven games against Czech sides is W3 D1 L3 (W1 D0 L2 in the Czech Republic).

Highlights: APOEL 2-0 Slavia Praha
Highlights: APOEL 2-0 Slavia Praha

Match background
• Slavia have lost only once in their last six UEFA games at Eden Stadium (W2 D3 L1); APOEL have won just one of their last six continental games on the road (W1 D0 L5).

• Slavia hurdled FC BATE Borisov in the third qualifying round, winning 1-0 at home and going through on away goals after a 2-1 defeat in Belarus.

• This is Slavia's first UEFA Champions League campaign since 2009/10, when they were eliminated in the third qualifying round.

• In 2016/17 – Slavia's first European campaign for seven years – the Czech club started in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round, making the play-offs before crashing out 6-0 on aggregate to Anderlecht (0-3 home, 0-3 away).

• Slavia have featured only once in the group stage, in 2007/08. Their seven other UEFA Champions League campaigns ended in the qualifying rounds.

• APOEL have come from the second qualifying round to reach the play-offs, beating Luxembourg's F91 Dudelange 1-0 both away and home, and Romanian club FC Viitorul 4-1 on aggregate (0-1 away, 4-0 home after extra time).

• The Cypriot team are aiming to contest the group stage for the fourth time, having previously qualified in 2009/10, 2011/12 – when they went all the way from second qualifying round to quarter-finals – and 2014/15.

• APOEL lost in the UEFA Champions League play-offs in each of the last two seasons, to FC Astana in 2015/16 and against FC København 12 months ago. Their overall play-off record is W3 L2.

• In 2016/17, APOEL topped their UEFA Europa League group, subsequently beating Athletic Club 4-3 on aggregate in the round of 32 before losing to RSC Anderlecht 1-0 both home and away in the last 16.

APOEL boss Giorgos Donis
APOEL boss Giorgos Donis©AFP/Getty Images

Team and coach links
• Slavia forward Danny faced APOEL during the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League group stage while playing for FC Zenit. The Cypriot team won 2-1 in Nicosia before a 0-0 draw in Russia.

• Jan Sýkora hit a hat-trick for former club FC Slovan Liberec to knock APOEL's domestic rivals AEK Larnaca FC out of last season's UEFA Europa League play-offs.

• Slavia's Halil Altıntop figured as a late substitute and scored for FC Schalke 04 in a 4-1 thrashing of APOEL in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup first round. He played throughout the second leg, a 1-1 draw in Germany.

Coach profiles
• As a player, Jaroslav Šilhavý posted more appearances (465) in the Czech league than anyone else. He made his name as a coach at Slovan Liberec, lifting the Czech title in 2011, being named coach of the year in 2012 and reaching the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League round of 32. He joined Slavia in September 2016 and won the championship in his first term.

• A former midfielder with Greece and Panathinaikos FC among others, Giorgos Donis is starting his second spell in charge of APOEL. He won a league and cup double with the club during his first stint, in 2013/14, and then took them into the following season's UEFA Champions League group stage.

Penalty shoot-outs
• Slavia's shoot-out record in UEFA competition is W2 L1:
4-3 v MŠK Žilina, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
5-4 v FC Schalke 04, 1998/99 UEFA Cup first round
2-3 v FC Carl Zeiss Jena, 1974/75 European Cup Winners' Cup first round

• APOEL won their only previous UEFA penalty shoot-out:
4-3 v Olympique Lyonnais, 2011/12 UEFA Champions League round of 16

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