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No room for error for APOEL and Dortmund

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.

APOEL players in training
APOEL players in training ©AFP/Getty Images

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.

Match background

• 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)

Match facts

• 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.