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Fenerbahçe to test AEL home strength

AEL Limassol FC will look to bounce back from their sapping matchday two defeat and defend their unbeaten home record as Fenerbahçe SK make a maiden trip to Cyprus in Group C.

Dirk Kuyt and Fenerbahçe won well on matchday two
Dirk Kuyt and Fenerbahçe won well on matchday two ©Getty Images

With a new coach, AEL Limassol FC will look to preserve an unbeaten home record in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League as Fenerbahçe SK make a first trip to Cyprus.

Previous meetings
• The sides have never met before, and this is AEL's first meeting with a Turkish team and Fenerbahçe's first encounter with Cypriot opposition.

Four previous games have been played between Turkish and Cypriot clubs in UEFA competition, with the Turkish sides' record reading: W2 D1 L1 (W2 D0 L0 in Turkey – W0 D1 L1 in Cyprus). Both of those Turkish home wins were by 1-0 margins.

• Beşiktaş JK were drawn against APOEL FC in the second round of the 1987/88 European Champion Clubs' Cup, but progressed to the next stage without kicking a ball after both matches were cancelled due to political tensions between the clubs' nations.

Match background
• Both clubs entered the group stage after losing their UEFA Champions League play-off ties 3-2 on aggregate.

• AEL's 5-1 loss to Olympique de Marseille on matchday two in Group C equalled their worst result in this competition – a 4-0 defeat at Ferencvárosi TC in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup qualifying round. They have yet to lose a home game (or indeed win an away fixture) in the UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League.

• AEL have not lost in six European home games (W5 D1) since a 1-0 defeat by DAC Dunajska Streda in the preliminary round of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup on 23 August 1987. They have conceded only once at home in four European outings this season.

• Fenerbahçe have yet to win at home in Europe this term, drawing all three of their games, but have scored four times on the road twice, winning 4-1 at SC Vaslui in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round and then 4-2 at VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach on matchday two.

Team facts
• Fenerbahçe's next goal will be their 100th in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League – this is their 71st game in the competition.

• Fenerbahçe midfielder Raul Meireles played at FC Porto with Orlando Sá (2009/10), though the AEL forward spent most of that season injured, making just two league appearances. Porto won the Portuguese Cup that campaign, though Sá did not play in the final. Sá came on as a second-half substitute to make his debut for Portugal in 1-0 friendly win against Finland on 11 February 2009, with Meireles emerging from the bench in the same match.

• Another AEL player, Monteiro, was in Porto's reserves (2007-10) during Meireles's time with the club, though he spent that period out on loan in Portugal's lower leagues.

• AEL named Jorge Costa as their new coach on the eve of matchday three, following the dismissal of his predecessor Charalambos Christodoulou – who led the club to title success last season. As a defender, Jorge Costa captained FC Porto to glory in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup and 2003/04 UEFA Champions League, and has coached the likes of SC Braga and, most recently, CFR 1907 Cluj since retiring.

• Aykut Kocaman made his name with Fenerbahçe as a striker, winning two titles in an eight-year stint from 1988-96. He moved into coaching at Istanbulspor AŞ and following spells at Malatyaspor, Konyaspor and Ankaraspor, became Fenerbahçe's director of football. He then became coach in 2010, winning the title in his first season and the Turkish Cup in the next campaign.

• This is FARE Action Week, with UEFA giving its support to Europe's biggest anti-discrimination campaign. There are activities before each UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League game which will be witnessed by thousands of fans in the stadiums and millions on television. A 30-second RESPECT TV spot and announcements over stadium loudspeakers will encourage fans to join the UEFA family in its call to unite against racism in football. Every team will be accompanied on to the pitch by children wearing Unite Against Racism T-shirts and captains will be asked to wear a Unite Against Racism armband.