What to Expect:
If history is anything to go by, then it is not on the side of the reigning Cypriot First Division Champions. The Cypriot side lost seven of their last eight visits to Spain, with the other one ending in a draw. Also, APOEL have lost all of their 11 Champions League matches away from home —- five ending in draw and losing six.
To make things worse for the Cypriot side, Los Blancos have not lost at home in the group stage of the Champions League since 2009, winning 20 and two ending in a draw —- both against Dortmund. To make it even worse is the fact that Real Madrid have a perfect record against Cypriot clubs, winning all six and scoring 34 goals while conceding only three.
The last time APOEL visited the Santiago Bernabeu during the return leg of their 2011/12 Champions League quarter final, the match ended in 5-2 with Cristiano having a brace as well as Kaka, Callejon and Di Maria also getting on the score sheet.
APOEL's manager Giorgos Donis is being realistic of the challenges that awaits for his team in Group H, the chances maybe small but still he will be fielding his best eleven in a 4-5-1 formation —- but I do get a feeling that they will not be defending with only four at the back against the back to back Champions League title holders.
Player to Watch: Igor De Camargo
Although already 34 years old, this aging striker is still managing to bang goals for the Cypriot club. De Camargo slotted in three goals for APOEL in the Champions League Qualifiers and fired in two goals on their away win against Nea Salamis in their Cypriot First Division opening game three days ago. De Camargo is expected to lead the line but to get a result he must forget his last visit at the Santiago Bernabeu way back in 2002 with Genk ending in a 6-0 thumping on the Belgian striker's first ever Champions League match.
Expected Formation and Line Up: 4-5-1
APOEL : Waterman; Lago, Rueda, Carlao, Vouros; Nuno Morais, Ebecilio, Vinicius, Sallai, Aloneftis; De Camargo