APOEL FC will hope they can begin a new UEFA Champions League group stage adventure as Aalborg BK look to avoid the fate that once befell Superliga rivals FC København in Cyprus.
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APOEL FC will look to emulate their achievement in 2009/10 as they take on Aalborg BK in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, with a Danish side once more standing between them and the group stage.
• The first leg in Aalborg ended 1-1, Vinicius cancelling out Nicolaj Thomsen's 16th-minute opener for the hosts with APOEL's only shot on target.
• Ahead of the first leg, AaB had yet to face Cypriot opponents, but APOEL had featured in all four UEFA games between Cypriot and Danish sides, with the record W1 D0 L3 (W1 D0 L1 at home – W0 D0 L2 in Denmark).
• Crucially, they earned their first group stage qualification in 2009/10 by beating Denmark's FC København – coached by former AaB midfielder Ståle Solbakken – 3-2 on aggregate in the play-offs, despite losing the first leg 1-0 in Copenhagen. Current APOEL players Dionisios Chiotis, Nuno Morais and Constantinos Charalambides featured in those ties.
• AaB are the lowest-ranked team left in the competition, 249th in the UEFA coefficients, yet have twice played in the group stage – in 1995/96 and 2008/09. APOEL have also made it to the group stage twice, notably reaching the quarter-finals in 2011/12.
Links and trivia
• AaB goalkeeper Carsten Christensen celebrates his 28th birthday on 28 August – the day of the UEFA Champions League group stage draw.
• APOEL's Kostakis Artymatas and Pieros Sotiriou faced AaB's Nikolaj Thomsen in a UEFA Under-19 European Championship match on 23 May 2012. Denmark won 6-2, but Sotiriou scored both of Cyprus's goals.
• APOEL's Efstathios Aloneftis and captain Constantinos Charalambides featured in Cyprus' 2-0 loss to Denmark in Copenhagen in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying; Charalambides, Nektarios Alexandrou and Giorgos Efrem also featured in the return fixture in Nicosia – a 4-1 Denmark win.