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APOEL v Barcelona background

APOEL FC continue their search for a first victory in UEFA Champions League Group F when they host an FC Barcelona side already assured of a spot in the last 16.

Vinicius watches Andrés Iniesta during APOEL's narrow defeat at Barcelona
Vinicius watches Andrés Iniesta during APOEL's narrow defeat at Barcelona ©Getty Images

APOEL FC continue their search for a first Group F victory when they host an FC Barcelona side already assured of their place in the last 16.

• APOEL sit bottom of the section with one point but retain hope of overtaking third-placed AFC Ajax, who are just one point better off.

• The target for Barcelona, a point behind group leaders Paris Saint-Germain, is to overhaul the French champions and claim top spot.

Match background

• APOEL's three defeats have been by a 1-0 scoreline – including their matchday one loss at Barcelona – but they have found the net only once, making them the group stage's joint-lowest scorers along with AS Monaco FC.

• APOEL have never beaten Spanish opposition. Their home record against Liga visitors is W0 D4 L2.

• APOEL's last home game against a Spanish side brought a 3-0 defeat by Real Madrid CF in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg (aggregate 2-8). Dionisios Chiotis, Constantinos Charalambides, Nuno Morais, Nektarios Alexandrou and Kaká all played that night, with Urko Pardo an unused substitute.

• On 25 November 2009, APOEL earned a 1-1 home draw with Club Atlético de Madrid in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Chiotis, Alexandrou and Morais played, Charalambides watching from the bench.

• Barcelona have had mixed fortunes on the road this term, losing at Paris (2-3) but winning at Ajax (2-0) last time out.

• The Blaugrana have won three and lost five of their last ten UEFA Champions League away matches.

• Barcelona have faced Cypriot opposition twice before – both in the first round of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. They knocked out Apollon Limassol FC in 1982/83 (8-0h, 1-1a) and AEK Larnaca FC in 1996/97 (2-0h, 0-0a), Luis Enrique playing in both legs of the latter tie.

Coach and player links
• Luis Enrique was in the Spain team beaten 3-2 in Cyprus in a UEFA EURO 2000 qualifier in September 1998. He also appeared when Spain dominated the return fixture, winning 8-0.

• John Arne Riise played against Luis Enrique for Liverpool FC in the 2001/02 second group stage. Luis Enrique's Barcelona prevailed 3-1 at Anfield before a 0-0 home draw. Riise also got the winner in a 2-1 success at the Camp Nou as Liverpool eliminated then holders Barcelona in the 2006/07 round of 16.

• Pardo is a graduate of Barcelona's La Masia academy and figured in their B team (2004/05).

• Tiago Gomes played for Hércules CF (2009–12) and won 2-0 at Barcelona in September 2010.

• Kaká (RC Deportivo La Coruña, 2013) has also played in Spanish football.

• Ivan Rakitić scored against APOEL on 16 September 2008 to help FC Schalke 04 to a 4-1 away victory in the UEFA Cup first round (5-2 on aggregate). He lined up against Morais, Charalambides, Alexandrou and Chiotis in that tie.

• Rafik Djebbour netted for Olympiacos FC in a 3-1 home success over Thomas Vermaelen's Arsenal FC in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Marc-André ter Stegen's VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach took four points off AEL Limassol FC (0-0a, 2-0h) in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League.

Match facts

• Including their final three games of last season, APOEL are 13 league matches unbeaten.

• APOEL have conceded just 11 goals in 19 games this term in all competitions.

• APOEL have gone 275 minutes without a goal, their longest barren spell since February 2012.

• Giorgos Donis's Cypriot league leaders have had two 0-0 draws since their matchday four loss in Paris, against lowly Doxa Katokopia FC on 10 November and, on Friday, at second-placed Apollon Limassol FC.

• On 16 November, George Efrem became the first player to score a hat-trick for Cyprus in a 5-0 UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying victory over Andorra.

• Daniel Alves is a yellow card away from a suspension.

• Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick in Saturday's 5-1 victory over Sevilla FC to move to 253 Liga goals, surpassing Telmo Zarra's 59-year-old record of 251.

• Messi equalled Raúl González's competition best of 71 UEFA Champions League goals with his double on matchday four.

• Ivan Rakitić was on target against former club Sevilla.

• Jérémy Mathieu played 90 minutes against Sevilla on his return from a calf injury sustained against RC Celta de Vigo on 1 November.

• Trailing until 17 minutes from time, Barcelona recovered to win 2-1 at UD Almería on 8 November. Jordi Alba scored the decisive goal, his first at club level since 12 March 2013. He struck an own goal on Saturday.

• Andrés Iniesta has missed Barcelona's last four games with a calf injury.

• Claudio Bravo has kept 11 clean sheets in 16 matches for club and country this term.

• Neymar started and finished the scoring in Brazil's 4-0 friendly victory away to Turkey on 12 November; Messi struck Argentina's winner in their 2-1 triumph over Croatia in London the same night.

• The following day, Luis Suárez was on target as Uruguay drew 3-3 with Costa Rica.

• Douglas has not played since he made his Blaugrana debut against Málaga CF on 24 September because of a foot problem. Thomas Vermaelen is yet to make his debut for the club because of a hamstring injury sustained at the FIFA World Cup, although he has returned to training.