Sep 17, 2014 at 7.45pm UK at ​Camp Nou
Barcelona
1-0
APOELAPOEL
Pique (28')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Vinicius (11'), Antonaides (27')

Preview: Barcelona vs. APOEL

Preview: Barcelona vs. APOEL
© Getty Images
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League Group F clash between Barcelona and APOEL.

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique takes charge of a Champions League match for the first time on Wednesday as the Spanish side welcome Cypriot outfit APOEL to the Camp Nou.

Under Gerardo Martino last season, Barca were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Atletico Madrid. However, that was the first time that they had failed to reach at least the semi-finals of the competition since the 2006-07 season.

The four-time winners last picked up the trophy in 2011, but their vast summer spending was with the aim of returning to the top of European football once more.

The Catalan outfit have started this season with three wins in La Liga, while they have lost just one of their last 27 home matches in the Champions League.

APOEL, meanwhile, are competing in the group stages of the competition for the third time. They incredibly reached the quarter-finals on their last appearance in the 2011-12 season, before being eliminated by Real Madrid.

APOEL's record in Spain is disappointing, however, with the Cypriot outfit losing five of their six matches and failing to record a win in the process.

The visitors have played just two matches in their new domestic season, winning them both to sit second in the table, and they will therefore enter this fixture full of confidence.

Barcelona could be without the services of Jeremy Mathieu, who has a slight ankle problem. However, Javier Mascherano is expected to be fit to partner Gerard Pique at centre-back. Brazilian right-back Dani Alves is also a doubt for the home team.

Neymar is also expected to be handed his first competitive start of the season after netting a brace in Saturday's 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao. As a result, 19-year-old Spain international Munir El Haddadi could drop to the bench, with Lionel Messi and Pedro making up the three-pronged attack.

Ivan Rakitic, meanwhile, will continue to keep Xavi out of the starting XI.

APOELnhave no fresh injury concerns or suspensions entering the match. Former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise should start, while as many as three Brazilians could be included with Carlao, Vinicius and Gustavo Manduca all expected to feature.

Recent form

Barcelona: WWWWW

APOEL: LDWWW

Possible starting lineups

Barcelona: Bravo; Montoya, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta; Neymar, Messi, Pedro

APOEL: Pardo; Carlao, Sergio, Antoniades, Riise; Morais, Efrem, Vinicius, De Vicenti; Djebbour, Manduca

Sports Mole says: 3-0

Luis Enrique Martinez faces the media during his official presentation as the new coach of FC Barcelona at Camp Nou on May 21, 2014
Read Next:
Report: Neymar, Pique to start against APOEL
>
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole



Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona66002021818
2Atletico MadridAtletico6420124814
3Sevilla641173413
4Valencia6330125712
5Real Madrid6321116511
6Levante624084410
7Leganes631253210
8Real Betis631267-110
9Real Sociedad6303131309
10Getafe62228538
11Athletic Bilbao62227618
12Espanyol622279-28
13Celta Vigo621310827
14Villarreal621369-37
15Las PalmasLas Palmas6204510-56
16EibarEibar6204314-116
17GironaGirona612338-55
18Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo6114715-84
19Malaga6015414-101
20AlavesAlaves6006110-90
LIVE SCORES VIDEPRINTER
expand