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Spurs Odyssey Champions League Preview - APOEL v Spurs, 26.09.17

See the current injury list for all Premier League Teams
All the Spurs Stats you could hope for here! THFC6061 Sports Stats

Spurs' record in Europe:-
The official crest of Tottenham Hotspur
U.E.F.A Champions League
 P  W   D   L   F - A
19  8   4   7  34 - 26
European Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
8   4   1   3  21 - 13
(Semi-Finalists 1962)
European Cup Winners Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
33  20  5   8  65 - 34
(Winners 1963)
UEFA Cup/Europa League
 P    W   D   L   F - A
140  78  36  26  276-121 
(Winners 1972, 1984
 Finalists 1974)
 The club logo of APOEL 
P    W   D   L   F - A
200 110 46  44  396-194

 Group H Table 
		P  W  D  L  F-A  GD  Pts
1. Real Madrid  1  1  0  0  3-0   3   3
2. Spurs        1  1  0  0  3-1   2   3
3. Dortmund     1  0  0  1  1-3  -2   0
4. APOEL        1  0  0  1  0-3  -3   0

Great chance for Spurs!

Spurs travel to Cyprus for Tuesday night's second Champions League Group H game with a great chance to put themselves in an early strong position in the race to qualify for the last 16 of the elite European domestic competition. While Borussia Dortmund will be hosting Real Madrid and desperate to get points on the board in what could be a humdinger of a match, Spurs face the minnows of the group - APOEL.

APOEL qualified as Champions of Cyprus's "A Katigoria" last season, but had to start their season on 12th July in the second qualifying round of this year's tournament. Whilst they have succeeded (by beating Slavia Prague in the play-off round), perhaps playing six qualifying games has taken its toll on their domestic form. They've made a moderate start, although other teams have played one or two more games. APOEL have not won or even scored in their last three games. In fairness, the first of those was in The Champions Lleague game at The Bernabeu, and a 3-0 defeat against Real was perhaps not too bad, but they lost at home to Anorthosis, drawing 0-0 at Aris last Friday night.

Spurs have been to Cyprus twice before in European competition. In October 2007, we played Anorthosis Famagusta away in a UEFA Cup game and drew 1-1, having comfortably won the 1st Round first leg game 6-1 at White Hart Lane. Robbie Keane was on a run of scoring 10 club goals in 12 games, and scored here. Martin Jol was still in charge, but would face the ignomy of hearing about being sacked during our next European game at home to Getafe. Most of the fans had heard he was going, but Martin was not formally told until after the game - which was a home defeat.

Three years ago, we travelled to play AEL Limmasol in the first round of a Europa League play-off game. Co-incidentally, that game also followed an away game against West Ham, which we had won 1-0! The AEL game finished 2-1 to Spurs, with goals by Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane, who scored his first European club goal as long ago as December 2011 against Shamrock Rovers. Now our Harry has won two Premier League Golden Boots, and has 82 Premier League and 23 other club goals to his name, including 14 in European competition. His last two helped to beat Borussia Dortmund two weeks ago!

APOEL play at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia which they share with Omonia. This ground also hosts Cyprus's International games and has a capacity of 22,859. Whilst their current domestic form might not be great APOEL do have a good run of home form in European competition. A 1-0 defeat to Anderlecht in last season's Europa League Round of 16 has been their only home defeat in 11 games, nine of which they have won. Their finest hour in the Champions League was to reach the quarter-finals, losing only to Real Madrid in 2012. Mind you, it was 8-2 on aggregate!

APOEL's squad includes players from Mexico (21 year old goalkeeper Gudino), Brazil (defender Carlao, midfielders Lucas Vieira Souza and Vinicius Oliveira), Argentina (midfielders Bertoglio and Farias), and other countries, but it consists primarily of local players. I have found two with some limited experience of playing in England. Portuguese defender Nuno Miguel Morais , who is now 33, was on Chelsea's books 13 years ago, making a few very brief appearances, and a summer signing from Walsall was 21 year old striker Andreas Makris, who previously played for Anorthosis.

I have no doubt Mauricio will not be under-estimating the opposition, but we know he will have to manage without the suspended Dele Alli (second of three games) and Jan Vertonghen (one game ban). My guess is that as he will be forced to miss next Saturday's game at Huddersfield that Serge Aurier will start this game. Son and Dembele did not feature against West Ham, so I expect them to play. I anticipate a back four and a 4-2-3-1 style for this game, and I predict a two-goal winning margin for Spurs.

Referee Pavel Kralovec is from the Czech Republic, as are most of his team of officials. Spurs have not encountered this referee before, but he is a regular UEFA referee.

Please note that as I am travelling to Cyprus the website will not be updated before Thursday morning, but I will seek to ensure you can vote in the usual post-match survey.

Did you know? - Ian Moores, famously remembered for his part in the 9-0 win over Bristol Rovers in October 1977 (he scored a hat-trick), played for APOEL for 5 years between 1983 and 1988 and scored 39 goals in 116 appearances there. Moores, who sadly died aged just 43 in 1998, is regarded as an APOEL legend, and will be remembered by the unveiling of a plaque before the game tomorrow night. Moores' sons Richard and Michael will be present, and I understand the plaque will be placed between the Players' tunnel, and the pitch.

"It was Twenty Years ago today!" - reliving the 1997-98 season game by game.

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