Apoel’s gruelling Champions League adventure continues tonight as they host Borussia Dortmund at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia (kick-off 9.45pm).
Both sides have started their group campaign with two defeats in their opening two matches meaning that anything other than a win will do little to satisfy either team.
With visits to Spurs and Dortmund coming up either side of a home game against Real Madrid, Apoel are likely to see Tuesday’s match as their best chance of claiming three points.
While Dortmund will still be aiming to qualify for the knockout stages, Apoel’s aim may be a little more modest, with third place, which means a spot in the Europa League Last 32, being their best hope.
Apoel coach Giorgos Donis has a few of injury concerns ahead of the big game. Spanish left-back Roberto Lago is a doubt and so, with the long-term absence of Nick Ioannou, veteran Nektarios Alexandrou is likely to step in at full-back.
Key central defender Carlao and winger Roland Sallai were left out of the squad for Friday’s 2-0 league win over Doxa, but the pair trained with the group on Sunday, providing some optimism that they will be fit to start on Tuesday.
Facundo Bertoglio took part in individual training as he recovers from injury while Tommy Oar has not been included in the Champions League squad. Giorgos Efrem remains an absentee.
Dortmund manager Peter Bosz has some injury problems of his own, especially in defence where a host of his backline are sidelined.
Lukasz Piszczeck, Raphael Guerreiro and Erik Durm are all unavailable leading Bosz to produce a makeshift backline for the recent league match against RB Leipzig.
The Dutch manager has now been boosted by the news that left-back Marcel Schmelzer has made the trip to Nicosia, though it is unclear if he is able to take any part in the match. Marco Reus remains a long-term absentee with knee ligament damage and Sebastian Rode is out through a pelvic injury.
Greek centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who played at the GSP just two weeks ago in his country’s 2-1 win over Cyprus, was carrying a knock before Dortmund’s recent league game against Leipzig.
The defender started the game but was sent off after 47 minutes and Dortmund ended up losing 3-2 to Leipzig, their first league defeat of the season and a result that brought an end to their 41-match home unbeaten run in the league.
They still remain top of the Bundesliga, two points clear of title holders Bayern Munich, but the defeat will have certainly dented morale ahead of their trip to Nicosia.
Their 3-1 defeat to Tottenham on Matchday 1 coupled with another loss by the same scoreline against Real Madrid last time out means Dortmund go into the game against Apoel in need of three points if they are to stand a chance of finishing in the top two.
Apoel lost 3-0 to both Real Madrid and Spurs and therefore will need to get points on the board if they are to have any chance of finishing third in the group.
The group’s other fixture, which will take place at the same time, sees Real Madrid and Tottenham go head-to-head at the Santiago Bernabeu. Both teams have made perfect starts to their European campaigns with two wins out of two.