APOEL - Real Madrid Preview: Jose Mourinho's men look to gain first-leg advantage over Cypriots
La Liga leaders will be looking to avoid an upset in the first leg of their Champions League tie against surprise package of the season at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia
By Luke Matthews
Poursaitidis, Jorge, Oliveira, Boaventura
Charalambidis, Trickovski, Solari
Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo
Ozil, Kaka, Ronaldo
APOEL coach Ivan Jovanovic will be unable to call upon the suspended Gustavo Manduca in attack with the Brazilian set to be replaced by Ivan Trickovski.
Marcinho may partner Nuno Morais in the centre of the field for the Cypriot club with Helder Sousa likely to drop to the bench. William Boaventura is expected to shrug off a knock to start at left-back.
Jose Mourinho welcomes back two players from domestic suspension as Pepe and Mesut Ozil are likely to return to the Spanish side's starting XI.
However, one player who will not feature for Madrid is Xabi Alonso, who is banned after reaching his yellow card limit in the competition. Esteban Granero is likely to start.
Despite playing two forwards in the 5-1 Liga win over Real Sociedad on Saturday, the visitors are expected to line-up with Karim Benzema as the lone striker with Gonzalo Higuain resigned to a place on the bench.
Angel Di Maria, Lassana Diarra, Jose Callejon and Ricardo Carvalho all miss out through injury as all four are left out of Madrid's 19-man squad.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- APOEL have already become the most successful Cypriot side in Champions League history by reaching the quarter-finals.
- Dionisis Chiotis was the side's hero in the round of 16, saving two penalties in the shootout victory against Lyon after the tie had ended 1-1 on aggregate.
- This is the third consecutive season where APOEL have faced Spanish opposition in Europe. They met Getafe in the Europa League last campaign and Atletico Madrid in the Champions League the season before.
- Real Madrid have a near perfect record in the competition this term, winning seven of their eight games so far, drawing the other.
- Jose Mourinho has a 100 per cent record in Champions League quarter-finals with Porto, Chelsea, Inter and now Madrid as his sides have all advanced to the semi-finals when they made the last eight.
- No other team has competed in more quarter-finals in the competition than the Spanish giants, who will be making their 29th appearance in the last eight. Madrid have lost only six of these fixtures.
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Top 3 Predictions
APOEL 0-3 Real Madrid
- 17.7 %
APOEL 1-3 Real Madrid
- 11.34 %
APOEL 0-4 Real Madrid
- 10.29 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||4 Apr 2012||Real Madrid 5 - APOEL 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||27 Mar 2012||APOEL 0 - Real Madrid 3|
|30 Aug 2012||APOEL 1 - Neftchi Baku PFC 3||EL|
|23 Aug 2012||Neftchi Baku PFC 1 - APOEL 1||EL|
|9 Aug 2012||Aalesunds FK 0 - APOEL 1||EL|
|2 Aug 2012||APOEL 2 - Aalesunds FK 1||EL|
|4 Apr 2012||Real Madrid 5 - APOEL 2||UCL|
|Returns:||Apoel Nicosia £410.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Draw £110.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Real Madrid £13.30||Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|6||Jose Marcelo Oliveira||Goalkeeper|
|10||Marcinho da Silva||Midfielder|
|9||Esteban Andrés Solari||Striker|
|18||Raúl Albiol Tortajada||Defender|