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A few facts on... Asteras Tripolis

Posted on 22 October 2014  - 12:10

Thursday night's Europa League Group C match represents the first time we've played Asteras Tripolis - here are a few facts on the Greek side.

Facundo Parra scores at BesiktasAsteras celebrate in BesiktasAsteras celebrate in their second qualifying round against RoPS Rovaniemi

Formed: 1931.

Nickname: Arkades (Arcadians).

Rapid rise: Promoted to the national fourth division in 2003, Asteras had two years in the third tier before back-to-back promotions lifted them among the elite. Asteras (literally, Star) were losing Greek Cup finalists in 2013 - to Olympiacos - and in the last three seasons finished sixth, third and then fifth in the league.

How they qualified: Asteras finished fifth in the Greek Superleague in 2013-14 and then fourth in the end-of-season play-offs to take their place in the second qualifying round of the Europa League this season.

So far this season: Asteras are eighth in the league with three wins in eight matches and have already played eight times in Europe.

European form: Kicking-off their Europa League campaign in July, Asteras beat RoPS Rovaniemi 5-3 on aggregate, German side Mainz 3-2 and then Maccabi Tel-Aviv of Israel on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate score. They top Group C after a draw against Besiktas and 2-0 win against Partizan Belgrade.

Current form: Asteras arrive at the Lane unbeaten in five matches and drew 1-1 against Panaitolikos on Saturday.

Links: Vlad Chiriches and Asteras defender Dorin Goian have played together for Romania.

Played for both: Goalkeeper Marton Fulop was here at Spurs between 2004-07 and played for Asteras from 2012 to 2013.

Coach: Tripoli-born Staikos Vergetis took over in 2013 and has worked for the club as an interpreter, youth coach, match analyst and assistant coach.

Players to watch: Asteras have a heavy Argentinian influence including strikers Pablo Mazza and Facundo Parra, who have five goals between them in Europe so far this season. Parra has scored in both group matches against Besiktas and Partizan, including the winner against Partizan. Captain Fernando Usero played in the La Liga for Malaga but spent most of his career in the second tier in Spain with the likes of Elche and Cordoba.

Our Greek record: We've played three Greek teams in Europe with recent matches against PAOK and Panathinaikos in the group stage of the Europa League. We also played Olympiacos on the way to our UEFA Cup triumph in 1972. Our record is played six, won three, drawn two, lost one - our only defeat at home to PAOK in November, 2011.