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Leicester vs AEK Athens: UEFA Europa League background, form guide, previous meetings

Having surrendered their unbeaten record, Leicester will be keen to make it three home wins out of three in Group G against eliminated AEK Athens.

Leicester's James Justin and AEK's Marko Livaja in the reverse fixture
Leicester's James Justin and AEK's Marko Livaja in the reverse fixture Getty Images

Having surrendered their unbeaten record in the UEFA Europa League on Matchday 5, Leicester City will be keen to make it three home wins out of three in Group G as they host eliminated AEK Athens.

• Despite losing 1-0 at Zorya Luhansk, Leicester, who clinched qualification for the knockout phase on Matchday 4, remain top of the group on head-to-head record above fellow qualifiers Braga and will clinch first place if they beat AEK or, failing that, match or better the Portuguese side's result at home to Zorya.

Previous meetings

• Leicester's first UEFA game against Greek opponents brought them a 2-1 win over AEK in Athens on 29 October, a Jamie Vardy penalty and first European goal for Hamza Choudhury preceding Muamer Tankovic's lone reply.

• AEK's one victory in five visits to England (L4) came at Leicester's East Midlands rivals Derby County, a 3-2 success in the 1976/77 UEFA Cup second round sealing a 5-2 aggregate win. Their only trip to England since the 1970s resulted in a 4-0 defeat at Everton in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage.

Form guide

• Leicester finished fifth in the 2019/20 Premier League to qualify for a first appearance in the UEFA Europa League and direct entry to the group stage.

Highlights: AEK 1-2 Leicester

• This is only the club's fifth European campaign. Their most successful was the most recent, in 2016/17, when, as champions of England, they made their debut appearance in the UEFA Champions League, topped their group and went on to reach the quarter-finals – the best performance by any English club in the competition that season – where they lost to Atlético de Madrid.

• Leicester are unbeaten in eight European home matches (W6 D2) since losing 2-0 to Atlético in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup first round second leg. They have scored seven goals without reply in their two Group G home fixtures – 3-0 against Zorya on Matchday 1 and 4-0 against Braga on Matchday 3, the latter result replacing the former as the club's biggest European home win.

• Third in last season's Greek Superleague, 22 points adrift of champions Olympiacos, AEK's 2019/20 European campaign ended in the UEFA Europa League play-offs, where they lost on away goals to Trabzonspor (1-3 h, 2-0 a).

• Massimo Carrera's side overcame St Gallen (1-0 a) and Wolfsburg (2-1 h) in this season's qualifying phase, enabling the club to reach the UEFA Europa League group stage for the fifth time. AEK failed to make further progress in their first three participations, in 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12, but made it through at the fourth attempt, in 2017/18, as runners-up to AC Milan. Indeed, they remained unbeaten in that campaign, two draws against Dynamo Kyiv in the round of 32 (1-1 h, 0-0 a) eliminating them on away goals after they had also shared the points in five of their six group games in addition to an opening 2-1 win at Rijeka.

• AEK have lost only one of their last 12 away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League, qualifiers included (W6 D5) – 3-0 at Braga on Matchday 1. However, their 4-1 success at Zorya on Matchday 3 is their only win in the competition proper, home and away, in the last 12 matches (D7 L4).

Links and trivia

• AEK's Portuguese striker Nélson Oliveira spent 2015/16 on loan at Leicester's local rivals Nottingham Forest. He also had loan spells in England with Swansea and Reading as well as spending two seasons as a Norwich City player, the second of them, in 2017/18, alongside Leicester's James Maddison.

Nelson Oliveira, formerly of Leicester's East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest, celebrates scoring against Braga.
Nelson Oliveira, formerly of Leicester's East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest, celebrates scoring against Braga.AFP via Getty Images

• Two other AEK players have also operated briefly in England, Tankovic with Fulham in 2013/14 and Karim Ansarifard with Forest in 2018/19.

• Leicester reserve goalkeeper Eldin Jakupović played in the Greek Superleague for Olympiakos Volou (2010/11) and Aris Thessaloniki (2011/12).

• Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has also been successful in his two previous UEFA Europa League group campaigns, leading Liverpool to first place in 2012/13 and Celtic to a runners-up spot behind Salzburg in 2018/19. However, his four round of 32 ties – two with Liverpool (against Zenit in 2012/13 and Beşiktaş in 2014/15) and two with Celtic (against Zenit again in 2017/18 and Valencia in 2018/19) – all ended in elimination.

• Leicester are the only one of the 48 clubs who came into this season's group stage having never played a match in the UEFA Europa League, qualifying included. They are also one of just six group stage debutants – alongside CSKA-Sofia (Group A), Granada and Omonoia (both E), Sivasspor (Group I) and Royal Antwerp (Group J) – and one of three from that number, alongside Granada and Antwerp, to have already booked their place in the round of 32.