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Preview: APOEL v Barcelona

APOEL FC are steeled to "work like robots" despite being up against an FC Barcelona side already through and, says Luis Enrique, coming out of a difficult spell.

Neymar and Barcelona training at Nicosia's GSP Stadium
Neymar and Barcelona training at Nicosia's GSP Stadium ©AFP/Getty Images

APOEL boss Giorgos Donis urges his side to "work like robots" to counter the visitors
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique thinks "tough moments are behind us"
APOEL have conceded just 11 goals in 19 games this term in all competitions
Lionel Messi is level with Raúl González as the UEFA Champions League top scorer
APOEL have gone 275 minutes without a goal, their worst spell since February 2012

Permutations: APOEL (1pt) v Barcelona (9)
Barcelona are through and, as long as they do not lose, will be able to overtake Paris Saint-Germain when the French team visit on 10 December.
APOEL will definitely be able to pip AFC Ajax to third when they play in Amsterdam on 10 December provided the Cypriot side do not lose to Barcelona.

Possible lineups
APOEL: Chiotis; Antoniades, Carlão, João Guilherme, Mário Sérgio; Efrem, Vinicius, Nuno Morais, Tiago Gomes; Manduca, Sheridan.
Out: Charalambides (ankle)
Doubtful: Vinicius (knee)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alves, Piqué, Bartra, Adriano; Rakitić, Mascherano, Rafinha; Suárez, Messi, Neymar.
Out: Iniesta (calf), Vermaelen (hamstring)

Giorgos Donis, APOEL coach
Barcelona being in Cyprus is a great experience for us all. This competition offers you the opportunity to play massive clubs like them. We know how tough they are. We played well in the first game but every game at this level is different. Tomorrow will be a test of our resolve. I believe in my players and my team. We are at home and we need to show our strength and fight until the final minute. We have a lot to gain.

Giorgos Donis says APOEL have a lot to gain
Giorgos Donis says APOEL have a lot to gain©AFP/Getty Images

There will some changes for Barcelona, especially with the recent inclusion of Luis Suárez. The philosophy of Barcelona, home or away, is the same. We need to adapt our game plan accordingly and work like robots. We are at home but we need to show more composure than we have until now – especially when we have possession – so we can be more threatening going forward.

Against the top sides in our group, we have played well. Maybe we haven't got the points we wanted but it was always going to be hard for us and Ajax. We are only thinking about tomorrow's game. We cannot think about Ajax on matchday six because they can beat Paris, which would render our final game useless [in terms of third place]. We want to take something from Barcelona, even if it may sound overambitious.

Luis Enrique, Barcelona coach
I expect APOEL to play like they did in Barcelona – very tight at the back with players closing down all the channels. Regarding possible changes to the team, it depends on our opponents and on the adjustments that need to be made. We will see. We want to finish first. We are through already which is a positive, but now we are looking towards APOEL. Away matches are always important to win. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, we will analyse the game afterwards.

Luis Enrique says Luis Suárez is settling in well
Luis Enrique says Luis Suárez is settling in well©AFP/Getty Images

We need to take the initiative against APOEL. They don't concede easily but they also don't score easily. It's a positive for APOEL that they cannot be easily penetrated, but we will still try to find a way through them.

I believe the tough moments are behind us. Difficult periods come for all teams and it is our job to overcome them. They [Neymar, Messi and Suárez] are doing well. Neymar and Messi obviously know each other well because they played together last season. Suárez is the latest arrival but he is adapting well, as are some of the other players we have.

Weekend results
Apollon Limassol FC 0-0 APOEL FC
Barcelona 5-1 Sevilla FC (Messi 21 72 78, Neymar 49, Rakitić 65; Jordi Alba og 47)

Form guide (all competitions)
APOEL: DDLWWL
Barcelona: WWWLLW

Match facts
• Barcelona's two previous trips to Cyprus ended in similar scorelines – how did the Blaugrana get on? Find out in our extensive match background.