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Olympiacos v Astana background

In only the fifth UEFA club competition encounter between clubs from Greece and Kazakhstan, Olympiacos welcome Astana looking to put a matchday two home loss behind them.

Alejandro Domínguez after scoring a play-off goal for Olympiacos
Alejandro Domínguez after scoring a play-off goal for Olympiacos ©AFP

Olympiacos are smarting from a 1-0 home loss to APOEL on matchday two and will look to get their Group B house back in order against Astana, the Kazakh side short of wins on their travels.

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

• This is only the fifth encounter between Greek and Kazakh clubs in UEFA competition with honours even at this stage – two victories each. Tobol Kostanay beat OFI Crete 1-0 home and away in a 2007 UEFA Intertoto Cup tie, while PAOK overcame Shakhter Karagandy 2-1 at home and 2-0 in Astana in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League group stage.

Form guide
• Olympiacos have won just one of their last five European home games (W1 D1 L3) – 2-1 against Arouca in this season's play-offs.

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

• Astana are without a victory in 11 European away matches (D5 L6) since a 3-0 success at AIK Solna in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.

• Astana are making their UEFA Europa League group stage debut, having participated in the UEFA Champions League group stage last term.

Links and trivia
• The journey from Astana to Piraeus is about 4,000km.

• Astana's Junior Kabananga was flagged offside ten times in the opening two matchdays – three more times than any other player. He is also the most fouled player in this group phase with nine infringements against him.

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.

• Former Bulgaria midfielder Stanimir Stoilov has won two league titles since coming to Kazakhstan in 2014, as well as leading Astana into last autumn's UEFA Champions League group stage – an arena he had earlier graced as a coach with Levski Sofia.