APOEL travel to Denmark to face FC Copenhagen in the first leg of the Champions League playoff round
on Tuesday, where they will be hoping to pick up a positive result ahead of next week’s return fixture in
Thomas Christiansen’s side sealed progression from the third round in the most spectacular fashion
against Rosenborg a fortnight ago, scoring three goals in injury time to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the
Now, against a side who they have fond memories of facing, APOEL will first be looking to establish a
positive result at the Parken Stadium to leave themselves with a manageable task in Nicosia.
Copenhagen were of course the side that APOEL faced and eliminated at the same stage of the
competition in 2009, where a 1-0 defeat in Denmark was followed up by a 3-1 win in the Cypriot capital.
As far as team news goes, the player who put the icing on the cake against Rosenborg, Tomas De
Vincenti, has joined Al Shabab in the United Arab Emirates. Their first test without the Argentine did not
go so smoothly either, as they lost 2-1 to Apollon in the Cypriot Super Cup last week.
APOEL do boast plenty of attacking options however, with Giorgos Efrem, Vander, Giannis Gianniotas
and summer signing Renan Bressan to choose from to play in behind either Pieros Sotiriou or Igor de
Camargo in the lone striking position.
Copenhagen, on their part, enter the game in fine form. Five games into the Danish Superliga, they top
the table with four wins and one draw. Their latest win came on Saturday, coming back from a goal
deficit at half-time against FC Midtjylland.
Incidentally, FC Midtjylland were the side that APOEL knocked out in last year’s Champions League third
round. In fact, APOEL’s recent history against Nordic sides is good: as well as their 2009 elimination of Copenhagen, they reached the group stages of the Champions League in 2014 by defeating Denmark’s Aalborg 5-1 on aggregate just before they had disposed of HJK Helsinki, while last year’s disposal of FC Midtjylland on away goals helped them reach the playoff.
There has been a slight war of wards ahead of the APOEL manager’s return to his homeland, with
Christiansen responding to claims from the Rosenborg camp that his team showed poor conduct in the
latter stages of their win in Nicosia.
“If they are criticizing us for bad sportsmanship, they need to take a look at themselves in the mirror.
Rosenborg, like many other teams, use similar tactics. They need to reflect on what they do and not
criticise others for unsporting behaviour,” said Christiansen.
While the sub-plots may be taking centre stage before the match, APOEL will want to focus solely on on-
field matters and get a positive result to take back to Nicosia. The match kicks off at 9.45pm Cyprus time.