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Olympiacos v APOEL background

The most successful clubs in Greece and Cyprus are coming together for the first time in a competitive game as Olympiacos await the arrival of APOEL in UEFA Europa League Group B.

Alejandro Domínguez celebrates a play-off goal for Olympiacos
Alejandro Domínguez celebrates a play-off goal for Olympiacos ©AFP

Two of the most successful sides in the Greek-speaking world meet for the first time in an official match as Olympiacos welcome APOEL in UEFA Europa League Group B.

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

• Olympiacos's record in six games against clubs from Cyprus is W4 D1 L1 (W2 D1 at home).

• APOEL's ten fixtures against Greek sides have ended W4 D3 L3 (W1 D2 L2 in Greece, with those defeats coming in the most recent visits).

Form guide
• Olympiacos have won their last three European matches, and are unbeaten in two UEFA home games this season (W1 D1).

• APOEL are without a win in seven continental away fixtures (D1 L6), scoring just once during that barren run.

• Olympiacos made it through to the round of 32 in their one previous UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stage, in 2008/09.

• APOEL have failed to get to the round of 32 in both of their past UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns.

Links and trivia
• The journey from Nicosia to Piraeus is around 900km.

• These teams are their respective countries' record title holders (Olympiacos with 43, APOEL with 25) and domestic cup winners (Olympiacos 27, APOEL 21).

• APOEL's Greek forward Yannis Gianniotas is on loan at the club from Olympiacos.

• APOEL defender Mário Sérgio played under Olympiacos coach Paulo Bento at Sporting CP from 2005–06, but was loaned out to Guimarães during that spell and then released by the club.

• Several APOEL players have Greek league experience: Argentinian midfielder Facundo Bertoglio (Asteras Tripolis, 2015–16), Nektarios Alexandrou (Larissa 2006–08), Stathis Aloneftis (Larissa 2005–07) and goalkeeper Urko Pardo (Iraklis 2007–08).

The coaches
• Paulo Bento was hired as Olympiacos coach in August 2016 following a brief interlude in Brazil. A player for Benfica and Sporting CP in his native Lisbon, he later won two Portuguese Cups as Sporting coach and was Portugal boss from September 2010 to September 2014.

• As a Portugal player, Bento once made a brief cameo in a 6-0 home win over the Cypriots; later, as national coach, his side won 4-0 in Nicosia in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying.

• APOEL's Danish-born coach Thomas Christiansen was once a trainee at Barcelona, playing in their 1992 UEFA Super Cup success, and also scored once in two games for Spain. He joined APOEL this summer after two promising seasons in Cyprus as AEK Larnaca boss.