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Preview: APOEL v AaB

APOEL FC boss Giorgos Donis hopes his players can find their rhythm against Aalborg BK, whose coach Kent Nielsen says "these are the kinds of games we aspire to."

Giorgos Donis has called on his APOEL players to maintain their intensity
Giorgos Donis has called on his APOEL players to maintain their intensity ©Getty Images

Aalborg BK and APOEL FC locked at 1-1 after first leg in Denmark last week
APOEL coach Giorgos Donis says players' "state of mind" is key to victory
Danish side are without three injured players, while APOEL have a full complement
AaB are the lowest-ranked team left in the competition, 249th in the UEFA coefficients
AaB coach Kent Nielsen: "These are the kind of games we aspire to be involved in"

Possible lineups
Pardo; Alexandrou, Carlão, Guilherme, Sérgio; Morais, Vinicius; Gomes, Charalambides; De Vincenti, Sheridan.

AaB: Larsen; Blaabjerg, Thelander, Petersen, Kristensen; Thomsen, Risgård, Würtz, Wichmann; Helenius, Jacobsen.
• Out: Rasmus Jönsson, Viktor Ahlmann, Lukas Spalvis

Giorgos Donis, APOEL coach
Tomorrow will be a very difficult game and I am predicting a big battle because of what's at stake. My team and the players are very motivated but it will not just be about willpower, rather the state of mind. We are well prepared for the game and feel we need to get into it quicker than we did in the first leg.

We are at home, full of confidence and with our fans behind us. This game is especially tough for us because it is only our fourth competitive match of the season and the rhythm is totally different to friendlies. My players have already run a cumulative total of 127km over these games and that shows how much hard work has gone into qualifying. But we need to persevere and maintain that intensity.

Every game is different. The only thing we can do is prepare right. In Helsinki [in the third qualifying round first leg], we fell behind even though we were the better side. In Aalborg, our opponents were better than HJK Helsinki and played better than us in the first half. We improved in the second half and evened out the game in my opinion. Now, for this game, we have quality players available for selection.

Aalborg coach Kent Nielsen
Aalborg coach Kent Nielsen©Getty Images

Kent Nielsen, AaB coach
We are expecting a very difficult and even match, like the first leg. There are parts of that first leg that we would like to repeat and parts we want to improve. If we can do that, then I feel we have a chance. We feel fortunate to be playing in front of such passionate fans in a full stadium. These are the kinds of games that we players and coaches aspire to be involved in.

It is true that we are not as experienced as some other Danish teams but the situation was also the same when we went to Zagreb [and won 2-0 in the third qualifying round]. The feeling in the squad is that of confidence but at the same time not being over-confident. There is belief that we can get a result but it will be a very difficult match.

Weekend results
APOEL: did not play
AaB: did not play

Form guide (all competitions – this season only)

Match fact
• How did APOEL fare when they took on Denmark's FC København – coached by former AaB midfielder Ståle Solbakken – in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League play-offs? Which current APOEL players featured in those matches? Find out in our extensive match background