Ronaldo to the rescue for Madrid as Champions League defence begins

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They followed their last defeat, 3-2 to AC Milan on October 21, 2009, with 20 victories and two draws - both 2-2 against Borussia Dortmund, first on November 6, 2012 and then on September 27, 2016.

Despite the fact that the majority of the team in the First Division of Cyprus played 2-3 games, APOEL so far remains with only one complete fight.

In the eyes of the fans, Bartomeu and his cohorts deserve no reflected glory for the players' performances as they have been in open conflict with the dressing room during a chaotic summer precipitated by Neymar's departure for Paris Saint-Germain. "Everyone always wants to beat the best team in the world - and at the moment we are the best".

Yaya Toure who has won the Champions League before with Barcelona also has the chance of adding another title to his name with Manchester City. The Cypriots are meeting Real Madrid for the first time since their remarkable 2011-12 campaign, but will be hoping for a better showing this time around.

- Dries Mertens has been directly involved in seven of Napoli's last 10 Champions League goals (five goals, two assists).

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The Champions League group stage starts this week with Real Madrid looking to win Europe's top club competition for a third straight year, a feat not achieved since Bayern Munich in the 1970s. This will likely be considered the weakest of the eight groups.

- None of Manchester City's 36 Champions League group games have ended goalless. "What we've learned from our first game of the Champions League past year is that we're not going to be as passive", said Rodgers. The Spaniard has only once experienced life in the latter stages - a last-16 showing with Valencia (2012/13) - although it's worth remembering that he took charge of the club in December of that season. The French team comes up against Porto in a rematch of the 2004 final won by the Portuguese team.

Real's strength in depth was used intelligently by coach Zinedine Zidane to win the club's first La Liga and European Cup double for 59 years last season. "All games are different, but the motivation and ambition he has will be important for the team".

It will be interesting to see how Napoli - who kept hold of Kalidou Koulibaly and Faouzi Ghoulam during the window - and RasenBallsport Leizig - able to profit from one final season of Naby Keita - fare this season, with both decent outside bets to reach the quarter finals.