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Preview: AaB v APOEL

The tie will be "decided by details", says APOEL FC coach Giorgos Donis who leads Cyprus's champions into an even-looking first leg against their Danish counterparts.

Preview: AaB v APOEL
Preview: AaB v APOEL ©Getty Images

• Both teams are aiming for a third group stage appearance
• AaB may start with Donny Gorter, newly signed from AZ Alkmaar
• Home coach Kent Nielsen is concerned about APOEL's prowess on the break
• Visiting boss Giorgos Donis believes his side are not yet 100% 
• Carlão is fit to start for the Cypriot club but Alex Konstantinou is ruled out

Possible lineups
AaB: Larsen; Kristensen, Petersen, Thelander, Gorter; Enevoldsen, Würtz, Risgård, Thomsen; Wichmann; Jacobsen.
• Out: Lukas Spalvis (cruciate ligament), Jakob Nielsen (cruciate ligament), Rasmus Jönsson (unfit)

APOEL: Pardo; Antoniades, Carlão, João Guilherme, Mário Sérgio; Manduca, Vinicius, Nuno Morais, Charalambides; De Vincenti, Sheridan
• Out: Konstantinou (unfit)

Kent Nielsen, AaB coach
We are delighted to be here with a chance of qualifying for the biggest stage in Europe. We have it in our hands – of course we are aiming for the Champions League.

Against Dinamo Zagreb in the last round, we did not know where we stood because this team have not got a lot of European experience, but we managed to play two close matches at international level and that gives us hope for this fixture.

We have the deepest respect for APOEL. They are a well-organised side who work extremely hard for one another. They are both physically and technically strong but maybe lack the individual quality that made Dinamo Zagreb so dangerous. We have to be patient to avoid being caught on the break, as I believe APOEL will focus on keeping it tight at the back and hitting us on the counter.

Our new signing Donny Gorter trained with us yesterday and could slot straight in if I feel that is the best for the team tomorrow.

All in all I feel we are well prepared and we have opportunities in both matches. Like against Dinamo Zagreb it is close to 50-50. If we can keep momentum with the ball and believe in ourselves, we have a chance.

Giorgos Donis, APOEL coach
It is a very important match for our players. It is a stage to show their abilities. It is an important game but every match is important. AaB are a good team – to win the Danish double you have to be very strong – so it will be a difficult game. I have watched AaB several times and rate them as equally strong as us, so I predict two balanced ties that will be decided in the details.

At this time of year we are not yet 100%. We still need three or four weeks to be at our best, but we are getting stronger every day and I am sure the players will enter the pitch fully concentrated and ready to get a good result. AaB have played more games than us this season but we are well prepared and with discipline and concentration we can get a good result for the return match in Cyprus. Carlão's injury is not significant and he will be ready to start.

Kenneth Petersen scored on Saturday
Kenneth Petersen scored on Saturday©Getty Images

Weekend results
AaB 1-1 Esbjerg fB (Petersen 3; Pušić 63)
APOEL: 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.

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