5 things you didn't know about Tottenham's Europa League opponents

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Asteras Tripolis head to White Hart Lane on Thursday but how much do we know about Spurs’ latest European opponents – read on to learn more.

Based in Tripoli, the Asteras part of the club’s name means “star” in Greek and nicknames include The Yellow Blue and Galacticos, while they are also known as Arkades in reference to the fact the club is based in the Arcadia region of the country - but what do we know about the club beyond the obvious? Here are five fascinating facts.

 

1. Asteras Tripolis record transfer fee received for a player came this summer when Mainz 05 paid £1.06 million to bring Argentine attacking midfielder Pablo de Blasis to the Bundesliga after the South American scored 14 goals in 71 games for the Greek Super League side. The most the club has spent on a single player is £598,000 back in the 2008/09 season for defensive midfielder Adrian Bastia, who arrived in Greece from Argentine side Racing Club.

 

2. The Greek side’s danger man could well be striker Facundo Parra, who has already found the net twice in this competition with goals against Besiktas and Partizan Belgrade.

The 29-year-old Argentine spent a season in Italy with Serie A side Atalanta from 2012-13 and moved to Asteras over the summer from South American giants Independiente, having opted to move back to Europe rather than sign with Club Atletico Belgrano.

Capped ten times at under-20 level for the Albiceleste, where he also scored three times, he also won the Copa Sudamericana during his first spell with Independiente in 2010, scoring twice in the second leg of the final against Brazilian side Goias before also converting his spot-kick in the subsequent shootout.

 

3. Arguably the most famous player currently on Asteris’ books is Dorin Goian, a 33-year-old defender with 62 caps and seven goals to his name for the Romania national team to date.

Goian was part of the Steaua Bucharest side that reached the semi-finals of the 2005-2006 Europa League, where they lost to Middlesbrough 4-3 on aggregate.

The stopper scored Steaua’s second goal at the Riverside to put the Romanian’s 2-0 up on the night and 3-0 up on aggregate before Boro’s sensational four-goal turnaround.

Goian later went on to play for Palermo and Glasgow Rangers and will be familiar to Spurs defender Vlad Chiriches, having played with the Lilywhites stopper for the national side.

 

4. Despite being formed way back in 1931, the current incarnation of Asteras actually came into existence in 1978, competing in the regional Arcadian League from then until the 2000s, before a sensational run of results saw the catapulted into the top-flight.

All told, the club managed four promotions from 2001 to 2007 and went unbeaten at their home the Kolokotronis Stadium from early 2001 to November 2006.

The 2012-13 remains their most successful campaign ever, with the club finishing third in the Greece Super League and reaching the Greek Cup final.

 

5. Incredibly, one player has been on the books at both Tottenham and Asteras.

Martin Fulop spent three years at White Hart Lane from 2004 to 2007 and was on the books of their Greek opponents from 2012 to 2013.

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