With Sevilla through as Group A winners, Dudelange and APOEL meet still harbouring hopes of joining them in the round of 32.
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With Sevilla already through as Group A winners, Dudelange and APOEL meet in Luxembourg still harbouring hopes of qualifying for the round of 32 as runners-up to the three-time UEFA Europa League champions.
• Indeed, the Cypriot side will clinch second spot with a game to spare if they beat Dudelange and Qarabağ lose in Seville. APOEL are level on four points with the champions of Azerbaijan but boast head-to-head superiority, having drawn 2-2 in Baku and beaten them 2-1 in Nicosia on their last two outings. Dudelange, who have lost their last three matches, are a point further back in fourth place.
• Dudelange made history when the clubs met on Matchday 1, coming from behind to beat APOEL 4-3 in Nicosia with a late Danel Sinani winner and thus record the first ever victory for a team from Luxembourg in a UEFA group stage.
• The clubs have been paired once before in UEFA competition, APOEL winning 1-0 both home and away in the second qualifying round of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League. It was the first time Dudelange had lost both games in a two-legged European tie for five years, and they have not done so since.
• Dudelange have never faced another Cypriot club, while the three games against Dudelange are also APOEL's only encounters with opposition from Luxembourg.
• The premier force in Luxembourg since the turn of the millennium, Dudelange won their 15th national championship last season to make it four in a row. They also shone in continental competition, becoming the first club from Luxembourg to reach a European group stage when they beat CFR Cluj home and away in the UEFA Europa League play-offs.
• Like last season, Dudelange lost their UEFA Champions League first qualifying round tie – albeit only on away goals to Valletta (2-2 h, 1-1 a) – but once again impressed in the UEFA Europa League preliminaries, eliminating Shkëndija of North Macedonia and Estonia's Nõmme Kalju before seeing off Ararat-Armenia on penalties in the play-offs.
• Dudelange were unbeaten in five home European fixtures (W2 D3) before losing 1-4 to Qarabağ on Matchday 2. However, they have yet to register a victory at home in the UEFA Europa League group stage (D1 L4), the latest defeat having come against Sevilla on Matchday 4 (2-5).
• Cypriot champions a record 28 times, APOEL made it seven national titles in a row with last season's triumph, which came at the end of a campaign in which they were absent from Europe in the autumn for the first time in six years having lost their UEFA Europa League play-off against Astana on penalties.
• This season, having comfortably eliminated Montenegro's Sutjeska in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round (1-0 a, 3-0 h), APOEL ensured a return to European group stage football with a 3-2 aggregate success against Qarabağ. They were then defeated 2-0 on aggregate by Ajax in the play-offs (0-0 h, 0-2 a) to move into the UEFA Europa League.
• APOEL failed to reach the knockout phase in their first two UEFA Europa League group participations (in 2013/14 and 2015/16) but made it all the way to the round of 16 on their most recent appearance, in 2016/17, having topped their group thanks in part to a 1-0 victory at Olympiacos – their solitary win in 13 away fixtures during the competition proper. They have lost ten of those games, though ended a five-match losing run at Qarabağ on Matchday 3.
Links and trivia
• Dudelange and APOEL are their respective countries' sole representatives in Europe this autumn.
• Bertrand Crasson stepped into the breach as Dudelange head coach ahead of Matchday 1 after his compatriot Emilio Ferrera's short reign ended on 17 September. A defender during his playing days, Crasson won 26 caps for Belgium and appeared at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, while also enjoying lengthy stints at Anderlecht either side of a two-year stay in Italy with Napoli. He joined Dudelange's coaching staff in September 2019, swiftly finding himself in temporary charge following Ferrera's departure.
• A gifted attacking midfielder who played for both East Germany and the unified German national side, scoring a total of eight goals in 47 full internationals, Thomas Doll won two Oberliga titles with BFC Dynamo and later plied his trade in both the Bundesliga and Serie A, where he spent three seasons at Lazio. Doll hit the ground running as a coach with former club Hamburg, but was less successful at Borussia Dortmund before he reasserted his credentials during a five-year spell in Hungary with Ferencváros. He was appointed APOEL coach in August 2019.