Having the opportunity to secure its classification for the round of 16 of the European Champions League 2017/2018 with a round in advance, Real Madrid faces the Apoel this Tuesday, November 21. The match is part of the schedule of day five of the group stage, the penultimate of this stage. It will be held from 17:45 (Brasília time) at the Neo GSP stadium in Nicosia, Cyprus.
The teams are in Group H, which have Tottenham, England, in the lead and already ranked with ten points from the 12 played. The Spaniards are in second place with seven. The third position is divided by the Cypriots with Borussia Dortmund of Germany with two points.
Apoel’s recent performance
Cypriots still have some chance of qualifying. For this, however, they must win the two games that remain and hope that Real Madrid does not add more than a point. Although possible, this is a highly improbable possibility.
The goal that seems most viable for the Cyprus team in the two remaining rounds is to try third place and get the chance to play in the Europa League in the second half of the season. It can be said that the simple opportunity to fight for this classification is already surprising. When the groups were drawn, practically all the analysts put Apoel as the biggest candidate for the last place with the real possibility of completing the six rounds without achieving a single point.
The prediction proved to be correct in the first two rounds when Tottenham and Real Madrid were defeated, but had their way adjusted after a 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund both in Cyprus and Germany. Thus, the teams compete for the remaining two matches with the same score, although the Germans have a slight advantage in the goal difference. Thus, any point won can be decisive for the third place.
Apoel, after a faltering start to the season, is showing signs of reaction and lined up a series of five games without defeats. It was three wins and two draws on a list that has European, national league and friendly matches. The most recent success was on Friday, November 17. For the Cypriot Championship, as a visitor, the team beat Omonia 3-1.
With 17 points (five wins, two draws and two losses), it ranks fifth. They are nine points less than AEK Larnaca and Anorthosis, who divide the first position. However, the Apoel made three games less than the rivals. That is, if you win all your commitments, you will reach the rivals in the lead.
To try to keep his chances in the European tournament, Greek coach Giorgos Donis has only one doubt to set the team that will face Real Madrid. Veteran Dutch goalkeeper Boy Waterman (five performances in the 2017/2018 Cypriot Championship season) is recovering from an injury that took him out of the last five matches. Even though it is the holder, there is no certainty that it will be scaled even if it receives the green light from the medical department.
The current form of Real Madrid
If Apoel’s situation could be considered better than expected before the battle began in the Champions League, the Real scenario is the opposite. It was believed that after four days the powerful team of the Spanish capital would be with its guaranteed classification. After all, it is a millionaire cast in a competition that is considered a priority. The Spaniards have won the Champions League 12 times, including the last two editions.
The defense of the tri, however, is not coming out as expected. It is not surprising, however, given that last season the team finished second in the group stage and even so took the cup in the end. If he does not secure a place on Tuesday, he will have another chance to secure his place in the title fight against Borussia Dortmund at home on the final day.
What really has worried his fans and the campaign far below the expectation in the Spanish Championship. On Saturday, November 18, in the classic against Atletico, in the rival’s home, Real had to settle for the goalless draw. Thus, saw Barcelona, who defeated the Leganés, as a visitor, by 3 to 0, further increase their lead lead.
The Real has 24 points (seven wins, three draws and two losses). It occupies the third position. They are ten less than Barca and six of disadvantage in comparison with Valencia, placed second.
Although the results are below expectations, they can not be considered unfair. The team of coach Zinedine Zidane has not done great performances. One of the reasons given for income is the large number of injuries that have plagued the coach at the start of the season. For the match against Apoel, he probably will not be able to count on goalkeepers Keylor Navas (six matches in the 2017/2018 season of the Spanish Championship) and Luca (without performances); right-back Daniel Carvajal (seven games, no goal); and socks Gareth Bale (five games, two goals) and Mateo Kovacic (two games, no goal), who are in the infirmary.
History of the matches
Real won their three matches against Apoel. The first two were in the kills of the Champions League of the 2011/2012 season. Made 3 to 0 in Cyprus and thrashed by 5 to 2 in Madrid. In the current season, at home, again scored 3 to 0.
Although Real Madrid’s performances are consistently below average, the Spanish team remains the favorite and best guessing option for Apoel. It has a price of 1.16 in Bet365. Draw presents prize of 9.00. The Cyprus team has a return of 17.00 for each real invested.