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PAOK prepare to host Tottenham in Group A opener

Tottenham Hotspur FC get their UEFA Europa League Group A campaign under way against a PAOK FC side featuring a number of players who will be familiar to visiting manager Harry Redknapp.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is familiar to a number of PAOK players
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is familiar to a number of PAOK players ©Getty Images

PAOK FC will look to get their UEFA Europa League Group A campaign off to a positive start against Tottenham Hotspur FC, with the Greek side featuring a number of players who know visiting boss Harry Redknapp well.

Previous meetings
• The clubs are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.

• PAOK met Spurs' north London rivals Arsenal FC in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup first round, prevailing 1-0 in Salonika and then drawing 1-1 in London. That is their only previous tie against an English side.

• PAOK's 86th-minute equaliser at Highbury was scored by by Zisis Vryzas, now PAOK's technical director, and the club's chairman and managing director Theodoros Zagorakis was also a member of that team.

• Spurs took on Olympiacos FC as UEFA Cup holders in their only previous tie against Greek opponents in the second round of the 1972/73 UEFA Cup; they lost their only previous game in Greece 1-0 but won the return fixture 4-0 in London.

Match background
• Unbeaten in five European games – four since the start of this season – PAOK have lost just one of their last nine UEFA home games, 1-0 to PFC CSKA Moskva in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32. Only one visiting side scored more than once at the Toumbas Stadium in that run (AFC Ajax, who drew 3-3 in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round).

• PAOK have won both of their home games in Europe this season, scoring five and conceding none.

• Spurs have won only one of their last five European games, 5-0 at Heart of Midlothian FC in this season's UEFA Europa League play-offs. However, they have lost only one of their last four European games on the road (4-0 at Real Madrid CF in last season's UEFA Champions League quarter-finals), and winning twice: at AC Milan (1-0 in the UEFA Champions League round of 16) and Hearts.

Team facts
• PAOK's experienced Romanian coach László Bölöni oversaw six games against English sides as coach of R. Standard de Liège with the record W1 D2 L3 (W1 D1 L1 at home). In his only previous game as a club coach in London, his side lost 2-0 at Arsenal FC in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Bölöni also represented Romania as a midfielder in a pair of 1986 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against England; a 0-0 draw in Bucharest and a 1-1 tie at the old Wembley.

• PAOK goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias was coached by Spurs boss Redknapp when he was in charge of Portsmouth FC. Chalkias was to make just nine first-team appearances in a spell that lasted from January 2005 to January 2006.

• PAOK midfielder Bertrand Robert is the younger brother of Laurent Robert, who spent five years in England at Newcastle United FC from 2001 to 2006, and also played under Redknapp during a loan spell at Portsmouth in 2005.

• PAOK president Zagorakis also knows English football well, having played for Leicester City FC from 1998 to 2000. The defensive midfielder came on as a late substitute in the 1999 League Cup final, when ten-man Spurs beat Leicester 1-0 thanks to Allan Nielsen's late goal.

• PAOK's Etto played alongside Tottenham's Vedran Ćorluka (2005-07) and Luka Modrić (2005-08) at GNK Dinamo Zagreb.