Apoel begin their Europa League group stage campaign in Nicosia against the team considered the ‘weakest’ of Group A, F91 Dudelange of Luxembourg.
The two other teams in the group, Qarabag FK and Sevilla, clash at the same time (7.55pm) in Azerbaijan.
Apoel need to get off to a winning start against Dudelange if they want to keep their hopes of progressing to the knockout stages intact.
They were handed a ‘boost’ yesterday when news surfaced that Dudelange had sacked their coach Emilio Ferrara after a torrid start to their domestic league campaign, losing their third game in five against Hostert, a team that up until then were without a point.
Assistant coach Betrand Crasson will take charge of the team for Thursday night’s game and he appeared relaxed and optimistic in his first comments upon landing in Cyprus.
“We have no pressure and the players are ready, they have an incentive to play well”, he said.
He continued by saying that he will not be making a lot of changes to his starting eleven and that even though he expects a tough game “anything is possible”.
In his brief spell as head coach, Apoel’s Tomas Doll has shown that he does not like making many changes to his starting eleven either.
Despite having two of Apoel’s big summer signings, Alef and Vujadin Savic, available after injury neither are expected to be risked and start the game.
It will be a surprise if Doll makes more than one change to the teams that started against Ajax in the Champions League playoffs and AEL in the domestic league.
Two players banging on the door for selection are Tomas de Vincenti and Antonio Jacolis if Doll decides he needs a more attacking approach to the game.
The two side were paired once before in the second qualifying round of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League with Apoel winning 1-0 in both legs.
The game at the GSP stadium will be officiated by Moldovan referee Dumitri Muntean.