Game: Barcelona – APOEL
Date: 17 September,Wednesday, 2014 year
Start time: 19:45
Luis Enrique will make his European coaching debut as head coach as FC Barcelona against Cypriot title holders APOEL FC in their firs game in Group F, are are more teams of Ajax and Paris Saint-Germain.
Before their first match in Champions League, Barcelona made a perfect start in the Primera Division. In their first match they beat Elche 3:0 at home. This was followed by another two wins against Villareal and Athletico Bilbao. They didn’t receive a single goal from many time ago. Barcelona plays very strong at Camp Nou in Champions League. They did not lose one game at home last season in the tournament.
Last season Barcelona was eliminated in quarter-finals of the Champions League. They were eliminated by Atletico Madrid, who eventually reached the final in the tournament. After success against Manchester City on 1/8-finals, many expected Barcelona to overcome the resistance of Atletico. Lead by Diego Simeone team, however, proved to be a tough obstacle for the Catalans and the first meeting of the Camp Nou ended at 1:1. On the second leg of the Vicente Calderon Barcelona game does very bad in attack and lost 0:1, which was eliminated from the tournament. This season, however, the team of Luis Enrikie will be ambitious to improve last year’s performance and must demonstrate ambition for this in the first match of the tournament.
APOEL is back in the Champions League after a two-year absence. The sensation of the tournament season 2011/12 will again have the opportunity to prove to the matches of the highest in Europe. APOEL qualified for the third time in its history in the group stage of the Champions League. Their debut participation was in season 2009/10, when the Cypriot team fell into the same group with Porto, Atletico Madrid and Chelsea. Then they ended without victory in the group, but came to the prestigious draws with Atletico Madrid and Chelsea, which proved their potential. Two years later, APOEL was quarter-finalist in the tournament. Cypriot team went in much easier group with teams of Porto, Zenit and Shakhtar Donetsk. After two wins and three draws APOEL finished on first position in the group and secure an easier opponent for the 1/8-finals. There waited French team Olympique Lyon. As an outsider APOEL lost the first meeting as a guest with 0:1, but won the rematch with 1:0 and ended up a shoot where Hapoel was final after defeating 4:3. So modest team from Cyprus to qualify for the quarter-final stage, where, however, met Real Madrid and the story of APOEL finished after losing on aggregate score 2:8.
This season APOEL began participating in the tournament in the third qualifying round, where round HJK Helsinki. After 2-2 in the first leg, second leg Hapoel win by 2:0. The playoffs Cypriots stood against Aalborg and again ended in a draw in the first match as a guest, this time 1:1. The second meeting was again Hapoel ruthless and won 4: 0, which qualified for the group stage of the competition. In the championship of Cyprus APOEL is in the second position after two rounds played. The team of Giorgios Donis has two wins from two games, but with a game in hand on leaders AEL Limassol.
APOEL doesn’t seem to become a real danger for Barcelona even though they are having a nice start of the season with no losses in six games. Barcelona is one of the strongest teams in the world, when play at home. I think that the option Barcelona -2.5 (Asian Handicap) is a good for this match.
First meeting between these teams
Barcelona have lost just one of their last 27 home UEFA Champions League matches
APOEL’s record in Spain is W0 D1 L5
Barcelona: 13 C. Bravo, 18 Jordi Alba, 2 Martín Montoya, 24 J. Mathieu, 14 J. Mascherano, 4 I. Rakitić, 8 Iniesta, 5 Busquets, 10 L. Messi, 11 Neymar, 31 Munir
APOEL: 78 Urko, 3 João Guilherme, 15 M. Antoniades, 28 Mário Sérgio, 5 Carlão, 16 Vinicius, 8 Tiago Gomes, 26 Nuno Morais, 21 Manduca, 9 C. Sheridan, 30 T. De Vincenti