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Zürich v Apollon background

FC Zürich and Apollon Limassol FC will look to avoid being cast adrift at the foot of UEFA Europa League Group A as they cross paths for a second time on matchday five.

Zürich's Avraham Rikan after scoring in his side's first meeting with Apollon
Zürich's Avraham Rikan after scoring in his side's first meeting with Apollon ©AFP/Getty Images

FC Zürich and Apollon Limassol FC will look to keep alive their hopes of a top-two finish in UEFA Europa League Group A when they meet again on matchday five.

Form guide
Apollon won 3-2 when the sides locked swords for the first time in Cyprus on matchday one, but they have not scored – or picked up a point – since in three Group A games.

Zürich are unbeaten at home in Europe this season (W1 D2) and have won both of their previous home matches against Cypriot sides without conceding.

Apollon have lost their last four group stage away games since beating Legia Warszawa 1-0 on matchday two in last season's competition, but won their only previous UEFA game in Switzerland – 3-2 at FC Sion in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup.

Trivia and links
• Having made their debut last season, Apollon are the first Cypriot side to have reached the UEFA Europa League group stage for a second time.

Apollon goalkeeper Isli Hidi could come up against fellow Albanian internationals Armando Sadiku and Burim Kukeli, who are both on the books at Zürich.

Apollon's Ivorian forward Guie Gneki Abraham twice faced Zürich during a 2012/13 loan spell at FC Lausanne-Sport; his side lost both games 2-0.

• The clubs have old friends in common. Austrian coach Rolf Fringer was in charge of Apollon in 2004 and Zürich in 2012, while another former Zürich coach – Kurt Jara – was in charge of Apollon's domestic rivals APOEL FC from 1997 to 1998.

• Yet to make his European debut, Zürich goalkeeper Andres Malloth turns 22 on the day of the Apollon game.

The coaches
• Not to be confused with the famous Swiss referee with whom he shares a name, Zürich coach Urs Meier was a defender for the likes of FC Schaffhausen, AC Bellinzona and Grasshopper Club before moving into coaching. Briefly in charge of the Liechtenstein national team, he took charge of his hometown club in 2012, having thrived at the helm of their youth team.

• On 8 October, Apollon parted company with coach Christakis Christoforou, who had been at the helm since March 2013.

• Romanian coach Ioan Andone took charge of Apollon on 16 October, having previously worked in Cyprus when he held the reins at AC Omonia from 2005 to 2007. Capped 55 times as a defender, Andone has served as a coach in Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in recent years.