FC Schalke 04 will look for more of the same when they welcome AEK Larnaca FC on matchday four having beaten their UEFA Europa League Group J rivals 5-0 in Cyprus last time out.
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FC Schalke 04 will look for more of the same against AEK Larnaca FC on matchday four having beaten their UEFA Europa League Group J rivals 5-0 in Cyprus last time out.
• The sides met for the first time in UEFA competition on matchday three in what was AEK's first tie against a German club.
• Goals from Lewis Holtby (22), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (34) and Joel Matip (40) helped the Gelsenkirchen side forge ahead, with late strikes from Julian Draxler (87) and Huntelaar (88) completing the scoring.
• It was Schalke's biggest away win in UEFA competition and AEK Larnaca's first defeat at home in Europe.
• In Schalke's only tie against a Cypriot side, they won 4-1 in Nicosia and then drew 1-1 at home against APOEL FC in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup first round.
• Pezoporikos FC, who merged with EPA Larnaca FC to form AEK in 1994, took on VfB Stuttgart in the first round of the 1980/81 UEFA Cup; they lost 4-1 in Larnaca and 6-0 back in Germany.
• Schalke's home record in their last 12 European home games reads W9 D1 L2; both those defeats came against sides from Manchester. They lost 2-0 to Manchester United FC in last season's UEFA Champions League semi-finals and by the same margin to Manchester City FC in the 2008/09 UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Prior to this season, AEK had lost all four of their European away matches without scoring a single goal. However, they kicked off the current campaign with an 8-0 victory against Floriana FC – their best European result to date – and have drawn two of their three subsequent fixtures on their travels.
• AEK Larnaca, ŠK Slovan Bratislava, FC Steaua Bucureşti and FC Vorskla Poltava are the lowest scoring sides in the group stage, with one goal each going into matchday four.
• Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones turns 30 on the day of the game. He has never played in a UEFA competition game on his birthday.
• AEK's Dutch captain Kevin Hofland played in Germany for VfL Wolfsburg from 2004 to 2007. His three games against Schalke in that period ended in a win, a draw and a defeat.
• Hofland and Schalke's Ghanaian defender Hans Sarpei were team-mates during that period.
• AEK defender Tim de Cler and Schalke forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar were both part of the Netherlands' squad that made it to the quarter-finals at UEFA EURO 2008.
• AEK are coached by Dutchman Ton Caanen, with help from sporting director Jordi Cruyff – son of the great Johan Cruyff. Following a spell in Ukraine with FC Metalurh Donetsk (2003-04), Caanen was in charge of Beitar Jerusalem FC (2005-06) and Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (2006) in Israel. He later coached FC Stal Alchevsk (2006-07) and Maltese side Valletta FC (2009-10) before coming to ambitious AEK in 2010.
• Huub Stevens was named as Schalke's new coach before matchday two, replacing Ralf Rangnick. Stevens first coached Schalke from 1996 to 2002, winning the 1997 UEFA Cup as well as German Cups in 2001 and 2002. Originally a defender for Fortuna Sittard and PSV Eindhoven, the Dutchman was named by fans as the coach of Schalke's team of the century in 1999.