No room for error for APOEL and Dortmund
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Having lost both Group H games so far, neither APOEL nor Borussia Dortmund can afford to slip further off the pace when they meet for the first time in Cyprus.
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APOEL FC and Borussia Dortmund have it all to do as they meet for the first time with both looking to get off the mark in Group H at the third time of asking.
• Both sides have lost their first two UEFA Champions League games this season, each conceding six goals.
• APOEL were beaten 3-0 at holders Real Madrid CF on matchday one, before a 3-0 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur FC last time out. Tottenham had overcome Dortmund 3-1 in London in the first matchweek, with the German team then losing by the same scoreline at home to Madrid.
• This is APOEL's ninth home game against German opponents. They have lost seven of those previous fixtures, including all of the last six.
• The Cypriot club's sole success against German opposition, home or away, came against Berliner FC Dynamo in the 1980/81 European Champion Clubs' Cup first round, when they won the second leg 2-1 in Nicosia. APOEL nevertheless bowed out, having gone down 3-0 in the first game in Berlin.
• Furthermore, APOEL have avoided defeat in just two of their 16 matches against German sides: that Berlin success and a 1-1 draw away to FC Schalke 04 in their 2008/09 UEFA Cup first-round second leg (2-5 aggregate).
• APOEL's last encounter with a Bundesliga team was also against Schalke, in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League group stage (0-3 home, 0-1 away).
• The Tottenham defeat and a 1-0 loss to RSC Anderlecht in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 16 are APOEL's only reverses in their last 12 European home games – nine of which ended in victory. Those two defeats featured the only goals APOEL have conceded in their last eight home fixtures.
• APOEL have not won a match in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final, since beating Olympique Lyonnais 1-0 in their round of 16 second leg on 7 March 2012. Their subsequent record is D1 L9.
• The Nicosia outfit are in the group stage for a fourth time, having previously qualified in 2009/10, 2011/12 – when they went all the way from second qualifying round to quarter-finals, losing to Real Madrid – and 2014/15.
• APOEL have won through from the second qualifying round to reach this group stage, beating Luxembourg's F91 Dudelange (2-0 on aggregate) and FC Viitorul of Romania (4-1). In the play-offs they eclipsed SK Slavia Praha 2-0 at home before a goalless away draw.
• Thwarted in the play-offs by FC København 12 months ago, APOEL went on to finish first in their UEFA Europa League group, subsequently ousting Athletic Club 4-3 on aggregate in the round of 32 before losing to Anderlecht 1-0 both home and away in the last 16.
• This is Dortmund's first game against a club from Cyprus.
• Dortmund, contesting the group stage for the 12th time and a sixth in seven years, have got to the knockout stage on their last four UEFA Champions League appearances. In 2016/17 they beat SL Benfica 4-1 on aggregate in the round of 16, subsequently losing 6-3 to Monaco over two legs (2-3 home, 1-3 away).
• On matchday one 12 months ago Dortmund triumphed 6-0 at Legia Warszawa – their biggest-ever European away success. They also won their next away match, at Sporting Clube de Portugal (2-1), before victory eluded them in their next three on the road, including defeats in the last two.
• Defeat at Tottenham on matchday one means Dortmund have lost their last three UEFA Champions League away games; if you add the Madrid result on matchday two, they have lost their last four, home and away.
• The Bundesliga side have won only one of their last seven European matches (D1 L5).
Coach and player links
• Marc Bartra helped FC Barcelona to home (1-0) and away (4-0) victories against APOEL in the 2014/15 group stage. Carlão, Vinicius, Nuno Morais, Stathis Aloneftis and George Efrem played for the Cypriot team.
• Nuri Şahin was in the Real Madrid side that knocked out APOEL in the 2011/12 quarter-finals. Nuno Morais and Nektarios Alexandrou represented the Cypriot club.
• Sokratis Papastathopoulos plays alongside VfB Stuttgart's Anastasios Donis, the son of APOEL coach Giorgos Donis, for Greece.
• Andriy Yarmolenko helped Ukraine to a 1-0 friendly win against Cyprus on 24 March 2016; Efrem and Antreas Makris played for the losing team.
• Shinji Kagawa was in the Japan side that beat Cyprus 1-0 on 27 May 2014, with Efrem and Giorgos Merkis featuring.
• Have played in Germany:
Boy Waterman (TSV Alemannia Aachen 2011/12).
Efstathios Aloneftis (FC Energie Cottbus 2007/08)
Mikaël Poté (1. FC Dynamo Dresden 2011–14).
Igor de Camargo (VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 2010–13, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 2013)
• Have played together:
Igor de Camargo & Marco Reus (VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 2010–12)
Facundo Bertoglio & Andriy Yarmolenko (FC Dynamo Kyiv 2011/12)
• APOEL have won only two of their last six matches in all competitions, scoring three goals in that time.
• Alexandrou featured in Cyprus' concluding qualifying fixtures for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, losses to Greece (2-1) and Belgium (4-0) on 7 and 10 October respectively. Giorgos Merkis played in the latter fixture, while Antreas Makris was an unused substitute in both games.
• The son of APOEL coach Giorgos Donis, Anastasios Donis, came up against Alexandrou as Greece triumphed in Nicosia.
• Dortmund's 3-2 loss to RB Leipzig on Saturday was their first defeat over 90 minutes in domestic competition since a 4-1 loss to FC Bayern München on 8 April.
• Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has 15 goals in 12 outings for BVB this term.
• Christian Pulišić opened the scoring in the United States' 4-0 defeat of Panama on 6 October and was on target again four days later in a 2-1 loss away to Trinidad and Tobago, a result that cost Bruce Arena's side a place at the World Cup.
• Łukasz Piszczek suffered a knee injury in Poland's qualification-clinching 4-2 win against Montenegro on 8 October and is likely to be out for the rest of the year.
• Nuri Şahin left the Turkey squad with a back problem after their 3-0 home loss to Iceland on 6 October, but returned to action against Leipzig.
• Marcel Schmelzer (out since 9 September, ankle), André Schürrle (mid-August, thigh) and Raphaël Guerreiro (21 June, broken ankle) are back in training.
• Erik Durm (16 September, hip), Sebastian Rode (22 August, pubic bone) and Reus (27 May, knee) are long-term absentees.
• Aubameyang is on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or. The winner will be announced in December.