A journey which began on 17 July looks set to end as APOEL FC visit nine-time European champions Real Madrid CF trailing 3-0 with a place in the semi-finals at stake.
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APOEL FC have done exceptionally well to reach this stage of the UEFA Champions League but this is their toughest test to date – an away game against nine-time European champions Real Madrid CF.
• The contrast between the sides is striking: the first team from Cyprus to reach the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League against famed opponents competing in their 29th quarter-final – more than anyone else – in this competition. Madrid have won all but six of their previous 28.
• Another Madrid victory looks all but certain following the first leg in Cyprus on 27 March, when they were made to work hard but eventually ran out 3-0 winners thanks to late goals from Karim Benzema (74, 90) and Kaká (82).
• Madrid have a near-perfect record in this year's competition, winning eight of the nine games played so far, the only blemish the 1-1 draw at PFC CSKA Moskva in the round of 16 first leg.
• The 4-1 home win in the return with CSKA, and the first leg at APOEL, took their goals tally for the campaign to 27 with only four conceded. In the group at the Santiago Bernabéu they won 3-0 against AFC Ajax, 4-0 against Olympique Lyonnais and 6-2 against GNK Dinamo Zagreb, becoming only the fifth side to win all six games in a UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Madrid have an ominous record when winning the away first leg in UEFA competition, triumphing in 26 of the 27 ties, including all three where the away first leg finished 3-0 in their favour. The sole exception came against Odense BK in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup third round when a 3-2 away success preceded a 2-0 home reverse.
• José Mourinho has a 100% record in UEFA Champions League quarter-finals having won at this stage with FC Porto (2004), Chelsea FC (2005, 2007), FC Internazionale Milano (2010) and his present club last season, when they beat Tottenham Hotspur FC 4-0 at home and 1-0 away.
• Cristiano Ronaldo scored in both games against the London club in Madrid's first quarter-final for seven years after six successive last-16 eliminations.
• APOEL's round of 16 away game in Lyon ended in a 1-0 defeat, only their second loss in seven fixtures on the road in this campaign, two of which resulted in victory. In those seven games they conceded only four goals, keeping three clean sheets. Of their last 25 away games in European competition the Cypriot side have avoided defeat in 16, winning seven and drawing nine.
• APOEL have lost all ten ties where there have suffered a home first-leg defeat, including one by a 3-0 margin. Then, in the 1984/85 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round, they went down 3-1 in the second leg at Servette FC.
• Ivan Jovanović's side recorded three successive away draws in the group stage, avoiding defeat at FC Shakhtar Donetsk, FC Porto and FC Zenit St Petersburg.
• In five previous visits to Spain for a competitive fixture, APOEL have scored on only one occasion. That came in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup first round when they went down 4-2 to RCD Mallorca. They have not defeated Spanish opponents in 11 attempts, drawing five and losing six.
• Their heaviest defeat was an 8-0 reverse at RC Deportivo La Coruña in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round second leg.
• This is the third successive season in which APOEL have played a Liga side. Last term they lost 1-0 away to Getafe CF in the UEFA Europa League play-off and drew 1-1 at home. The previous year they played out two draws with Club Atlético de Madrid in the UEFA Champions League group stage – 0-0 in Spain and 1-1 in Nicosia.
• Dionisios Chiotis, Paulo Jorge, Savvas Poursaitides, Constantinos Charalambides, Marinos Satsias, Marios Ilia, Hélio Pinto, Nuno Morais, and Nektarios Alexandrou all played against Atlético.
• Madrid had not faced Cypriot opposition for 43 years prior to the first leg. They played Olympiakos Nicosia FC in the 1969/70 European Champion Clubs' Cup first round a year after meeting AEL Limassol FC at the same stage. All four matches were played in Madrid, the Spanish side racking up a total of 26 goals with only one conceded.
• Madrid's shoot-out record in UEFA competition is:
3-1 v Juventus, 1986/87 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round
5-6 v FK Crvena zvezda, 1974/75 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals
• APOEL's record is:
4-3 v Lyon, 2011/12 UEFA Champions League round of 16
• The winners play Olympique de Marseille or FC Bayern München in the semi-finals on 17 and 25 April.
• Morais played under Mourinho and alongside Ricardo Carvalho and Lassana Diarra at Chelsea between 2004 and 2007, making just four league appearances including a 3-1 win at Ronaldo's Manchester United FC in May 2005.
• Carvalho was in the Chelsea team that recorded a 1-0 group stage victory against APOEL in Nicosia in September 2009. Facing him were Chiotis, Poursaitides, Morais, Charalambides, Alexandrou and Hélio Pinto. Carvalho featured in the second game at Stamford Bridge which ended 2-2, Ilia also playing for the visitors.
• While at SC Braga, Paulo Jorge faced Hamit Altıntop's FC Bayern München in a 1-1 group stage draw in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup.
• Carvalho and Fábio Coentrão faced Ilia, Charalambides, Poursaitides and Satsias when Portugal drew 4-4 at home to Cyprus in a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying game in September 2010.
• Ronaldo scored twice in a 4-0 win when the nations met again last September at APOEL's home in Nicosia, Pepe also featuring. The home side included Charalambides, Poursaitides and Alexandrou while Tasos Kissas and Athos Solomou were unused substitutes.
• Mourinho's Inter side were 1-0 home winners against Anorthosis Famagusta FC in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage, although they were held to a 3-3 draw in the reverse fixture in Cyprus.
• Esteban Solari is the brother of Santiago Solari, who scored ten goals in 130 Liga games for Madrid between 2000 and 2005.
• Esteban Solari spent two seasons at UD Almería prior to signing for APOEL in 2010, playing 14 times and scoring three times in the league and the Copa del Rey.
• Chiotis faced Madrid with AEK Athens FC in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League first group stage. The Greek side drew 3-3 at home before earning a 2-2 draw at the Santiago Bernabéu.
• APOEL's Kaká came up against Coentrão in the semi-final of last season's UEFA Europa League when Braga eliminated SL Benfica on away goals.
• Ángel Di María scored Benfica's goal in a 1-1 draw at Kaká's Hertha BSC Berlin during the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage. The pair also faced each other twice in 2007/08 when Kaká was playing for A. Académica de Coimbra, each game finishing in an away win.
• Di María played twice in the Liga against Marcinho's CS Marítimo while at Benfica; Marcinho was on target in Marítimo's 3-2 away loss on 26 April 2009.
• Urko Pardo was on the books of FC Barcelona but never made it past their B side. He had loan spells with lower league sides FC Cartagena and CE Sabadell before switching to Greece, Romania and finally APOEL.
• Hélio Pinto spent 2004/05 in Spain with Sevilla FC's youth team; Aldo Adorno was at Almería the same season and spent the next campaign with CD Baza.