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Dinamo Minsk provide PAOK with tough opener

In search of a place in the UEFA Europa League last 32 for a fourth successive season, PAOK FC start their Group K season against a visiting FC Dinamo Minsk on their first trip to Greece.

PAOK's Dimitris Salpingidis has contested 69 UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League games
PAOK's Dimitris Salpingidis has contested 69 UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League games ©Getty Images

PAOK FC are becoming old hands in the UEFA Europa League and will hope for a gentle start in Group K as they take on newcomers FC Dinamo Minsk.

Form guide
PAOK have yet to take on Belarusian opponents and this is Dinamo's first encounter with a Greek side.

PAOK have made it through to the last 32 in their last three UEFA Europa League group stage appearances.

Dinamo are unbeaten in six European games this season (W5 D1) as they look ahead to their first major UEFA group stage campaign. They are only the second Belarusian club – after FC BATE Borisov – to reach this stage.

Trivia and links
Dinamo Minsk midfielder Chigozie Udoji is well known in Greece following spells with Asteras Tripolis FC, Platanias FC, Atromitos FC and PAOK's local rivals Aris Thessaloniki FC. He scored the opener for Aris against PAOK at the Stadio Toumba last season, but the home side struck back to win 3-1.

PAOK's Răzvan Raţ is in line to contest his 100th UEFA club competition game – not counting a UEFA Super Cup appearance – against Dinamo.

• With 69 UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League appearances (including qualifying), PAOK's Dimitris Salpingidis is level with Walter Zenga in third place in the all-time standings. He will make third place his own if he features against Dinamo.

The coaches
• Angelos Anastasiadis started out as a versatile midfielder at PAOK and began his third spell as the club's coach in May 2014. Capped 12 times by Greece, he also played for and coached Panathinaikos FC, and was in charge of Cyprus's national team from 2004 to 2011.

• Vladimir Zhuravel won six national titles as a player during two spells with Dinamo, as well as 11 caps for Belarus. Having moved from the pitch to the bench as assistant coach of FC Torpedo Zhodino in 2005, he struck out alone with a three-year spell at FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk before taking command at Dinamo in 2014.

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