Can Dnipro-1 continue to fly the flag for Ukraine?
They are making their debut in UEFA competition this season, having been founded seven years ago as a phoenix club, after 2015 Europa League Finalists Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk went bankrupt.
Despite playing ‘home’ matches in Košice (Slovakia), Oleksandr Kucher’s side finished second in their Europa Conference League group.
Dnipro-1 were twice beaten by AZ, but accumulated ten points in their other games against Apollon Limassol and Vaduz.
Meanwhile, domestically, they’re five points clear at the top of the Ukrainian Premier League, although their last competitive outing was on 28 November.
This’ll actually be Dnipro’s second meeting this season with AEK Larnaca, with the two clashing in August’s Europa League play-off round.
Back then, the Cypriot club cruised to victory, winning 2-1 away and then 3-0 at home, and they’d certainly take a repeat of that.
This took AEK into the Europa League groups, where they finished third, below Fenerbahçe and Rennes but above Dynamo Kyiv.
The Green-yellows’ sole victory came against Dynamo in Kraków, but this was enough to take them into a knockout phase for the very first time.
Back at home, José Luis Oltra’s team are top of the Cypriot First Division, targeting the club’s first-ever title, but they’d also love to make progress on the continent too.
As mentioned, Dnipro-1 were hammered 3-0 when they visited Larnaca 174 days ago, so will this one got the same way?
AEK Larnaca team news
Winger Bruno Gama hasn’t featured since September after rupturing his ACL in a win over Omonia.
Striker Ivan Trickovski came off the bench to score in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Akritas Chlorakas, so is likely to start this time.
Dnipro-1 team news
Artem Dovbyk is Dnipro’s talisman, having spent two seasons with the club between 2015 and 2017, before rejoining the phoenix club three years later.
He’s scored 16 goals this season, and has netted six times for Ukraine, the first of which was an extra time winner against Sweden at Euro 2020.