Convincing winners on matchday one, former champions Sevilla next entertain an APOEL side who lost their opening fixture.
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Convincing winners on matchday one, former UEFA Europa League champions Sevilla will be confident of adding three more points to their Group A total as they entertain an APOEL side who lost their opening fixture at home.
• While the Spanish side struck three times after the interval, new signing Javier Hernández breaking the deadlock, to beat Qarabağ 3-0 in Baku, APOEL suffered a shock defeat in Nicosia, three goals in four second-half minutes proving insufficient to prevent Luxembourg's Dudelange from claiming a famous 4-3 win.
• This is Sevilla's first UEFA encounter against a team from Cyprus.
• APOEL's record in 18 previous fixtures against Spanish clubs is W1 D5 L12, with just one draw and eight defeats from nine visits to Spain. The sole victory – 2-0 at home – clinched a momentous round of 32 triumph against Athletic Club in the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League (after a 2-3 defeat in Bilbao). The only time they have avoided defeat on Spanish soil was on their UEFA Champions League group stage debut in 2009/10, when they drew 0-0 at Atlético Madrid – the club that would eventually finish third in the group above APOEL on head-to-head record (the game in Cyprus finished 1-1) and go on to win that season's inaugural UEFA Europa League.
• Sevilla played 16 UEFA Europa League matches last season, travelling from the second qualifying round to the round of 16, where they were dramatically eliminated by Slavia Praha after a 4-3 extra-time defeat in the Czech capital. Sevilla had topped Group J with 12 points, scoring 18 goals – the most in the group stage.
• The Andalusian club re-qualified for this competition by finishing sixth in the 2018/19 Liga, which assured them an automatic group stage berth and a fifth appearance at this juncture. They have never failed to go through to the round of 32, though have been group winners only twice.
• Sevilla had won 18 successive UEFA Europa League matches at home to non-Spanish opposition, qualifying included, before drawing 2-2 against Slavia last season. Their group stage record in Seville is W8 D3 L1, with no defeats in the last 11 and victories in all of the last six. They scored 14 goals in their three home group fixtures last season.
• Cypriot champions a record 28 times, APOEL made it seven national titles in a row with last season's triumph, which came at the end of a campaign in which they were absent from Europe in the autumn for the first time in six years having lost their UEFA Europa League play-off against Astana on penalties.
• This season, having comfortably eliminated Montenegro's Sutjeska in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round (1-0 a, 3-0 h), APOEL ensured a return to European group stage football by overturning a first-leg 1-2 home defeat against Qarabağ in the next round with a 2-0 second-leg victory in new coach Thomas Doll's first match at the helm. They were then defeated 2-0 on aggregate by Ajax in the play-offs (0-0 h, 0-2 a) to move into the UEFA Europa League.
• APOEL failed to reach the knockout phase in their first two UEFA Europa League group participations (in 2013/14 and 2015/16) but made it all the way to the round of 16 on their most recent appearance, in 2016/17, having topped their group thanks in part to a 1-0 victory at Olympiacos – their solitary win in 11 away fixtures during the competition proper (D1 L9). The only time they have scored more than once in any of those matches was on that 2016/17 visit to Bilbao.
Links and trivia
• Sevilla's Nemanja Gudelj and APOEL's Vujadin Savić are former Serbia Under-21 team-mates.
• Sevilla's Portuguese defender Daniel Carriço, who has accumulated a competition-record 60 appearances in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, spent the second half of 2007/08 on loan from Sporting CP at AEL Limassol, helping them avoid relegation from the Cypriot First Division.
• The Andalusian club, who lifted the trophy three years running from 2013/14–2015/16, are one of three former UEFA Europa League winners in this season's group stage, along with Porto and Manchester United.
• Sevilla appointed Julen Lopetegui as their new head coach on a three-year contract in June 2019, the former goalkeeper returning to duty in the Spanish Liga after a brief spell in charge of Real Madrid had swiftly ended in October 2018. A highly successful stint with Spain's youth selections brought European titles with the Under-19s in 2012 and U21s the following year. He had 18 months at Porto before taking charge of the senior Spain side and qualifying them for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, only to be dismissed on the eve of the tournament.
• A gifted attacking midfielder who played for both East Germany and the unified German national side, scoring a total of eight goals in 47 full internationals, Thomas Doll won two Oberliga titles with BFC Dynamo and later plied his trade in both the Bundesliga and Serie A, where he spent three seasons at Lazio. Doll hit the ground running as a coach with former club Hamburg, but was less successful at Borussia Dortmund before he reasserted his credentials during a five-year spell in Hungary with Ferencváros. He was appointed APOEL coach in August 2019.