PAOK have platform to spring Schalke surprise

PAOK FC will look to build on an encouraging first-leg draw at FC Schalke 04 when the teams meet again in their UEFA Champions League play-off second leg in Salonika.

PAOK's Miguel Vítor jumps for a high ball with Julian Draxler during the first leg in Germany
PAOK's Miguel Vítor jumps for a high ball with Julian Draxler during the first leg in Germany ©AFP/Getty Images

• PAOK FC will look to build on an encouraging first-leg draw at FC Schalke 04 when the teams meet again in their UEFA Champions League play-off second leg in Salonika.

• The Greek club have never competed in the group stage but raised their hopes with a 1-1 draw as Miroslav Stoch (73) cancelled out Jefferson Farfán's goal (32) for the Royal Blues.

• PAOK are in the play-off following UEFA's decision to disqualify FC Metalist Kharkiv from its club competitions for 2013/14. Metalist had beaten PAOK 3-1 on aggregate in the third qualifying round.

Match background
• The 2013 Greek Super League runners-up, PAOK are hoping it will be third time lucky after they lost third qualifying round matches to AFC Ajax in 2010/11 (4-4 agg; away goals) and Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC in 2004/05 (0-4 agg).

• PAOK also suffered defeat in last season's UEFA Europa League play-off round, going down 4-2 on aggregate to SK Rapid Wien, yet have suffered just one defeat in their last nine European fixtures at the Stadio Toumba, including the 1-1 draw with Metalist.

• Fourth in Germany last season, Schalke are looking to secure their sixth participation in the UEFA Champions League group stage. This is only their second experience of the qualifying rounds, however, the first coming in 2008/09 when they lost 4-1 on aggregate to Club Atlético de Madrid.

• Schalke were unbeaten in their four away matches in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League, a run that included a 2-1 victory over Olympiacos FC 2-1 in Greece with Benedikt Höwedes and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scoring. Huub Stevens, the PAOK coach, was in charge of Schalke when they made that trip to Piraeus and was still at the helm when Christian Fuchs' goal earned them a 1-0 success over Olympiacos two months later.

• Schalke's only other meeting with a team from Greece came in the 2001/02 first group stage when they suffered 2-0 home and away losses to Panathinaikos FC.

• PAOK's two previous encounters with German opponents both went to penalty shoot-outs. In the 1983/84 UEFA Cup second round against FC Bayern München, Pál Csernai's PAOK side drew 0-0 at home and earned a second stalemate in Munich before losing the tie 9-8 on penalties.

• PAOK suffered the same fate against Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1981/82 European Cup Winners' Cup first round, having won the second leg in Salonika 2-0 to level the aggregate scores at 2-2.

• PAOK's shoot-out record in UEFA club competitions is:
1-4 v SL Benfica, 1999/2000 UEFA Cup second round
3-4 v Sevilla FC, 1990/91 UEFA Cup first round
8-9 v FC Bayern München, 1983/84 UEFA Cup second round
4-5 v Eintracht Frankfurt, 1981/82 European Cup Winners' Cup first round

• Schalke's record is:
4-1 v FC Porto, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League round of 16
1-3 v Brøndby IF, 2003/04 UEFA Cup second round
4-5 v SK Slavia Praha, 1998/99 UEFA Cup first round
4-1 v FC Internazionale Milano, 1996/97 UEFA Cup final

Team ties
• PAOK coach Stevens had two spells managing Schalke, the first of which (1996-2002) yielded the 1997 UEFA Cup as well as German Cup triumphs in 2001 and 2002. The month before he took over he was coach of the Roda JC side beaten 5-2 on aggregate by the Royal Blues in the UEFA Cup first round, the trophy he would end the season holding aloft after Schalke's final shoot-out win over FC Internazionale Milano.

• Stevens returned to Schalke in September 2011 and led the club to a third-place Bundesliga finish in 2012 before his dismissal last December. The Dutchman has also coached Hertha BSC Berlin (2002-2003), 1. FC Köln (2004/05) and Hamburger SV (2007-2008) in Germany.

• As a VfB Stuttgart player, Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt faced Panathinaikos in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stage, winning 2-0 at home and 3-1 away.

• Kyriakos Papadopoulos played for Olympiacos from 2007 until 2010. Aged 15 years and 283 days, he became the youngest player to appear in the Greek league against Atromitos FC on 2 December 2007 but never played against PAOK, the club his family supports.

• Fuchs scored in Austria's 2-1 friendly defeat in November 2010 by a Greece side including Kostas Katsouranis, Dimitris Salpingidis and Giorgos Georgiadis.

• Katsouranis and Salpingidis played alongside Papadopoulos in the Greece team that lost 4-2 to Germany in the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter-finals. Salpingidis scored a late penalty for Greece, while Höwedes sat on the bench for Germany.

• Chinedu Obasi was a second-half substitute for Nigeria in their 2-1 loss to Greece at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Salpingidis hit the opening goal while Tziolis and Katsouranis also played.

• The only Schalke player to have faced PAOK in the past is goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand, who featured in Stuttgart's 2-1 win in Salonika in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage.

• Alexandros Tziolis spent the second half of 2008/09 on loan at SV Werder Bremen and appeared in a 1-0 defeat at Schalke, Höwedes scoring.

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