Real Madrid will be looking for a third Champions League trophy when they get their campaign underway tomorrow and as usual the word from
coach Zinedine Zidane is that they will need to go step by step, match by match and with the target first of all of getting past the group stage.
The club is going through a golden spell in their already illustrious European history and they have gone five years since losing a game in the group stages with a total of 22 wins and seven draws. It was back in October 2012 when Jose Mourinho was the coach, that they lost 2-1 away to Borussia Dortmund who also knocked them out at the semi-final stages.
In that game it was Lewandowski who put the Germans ahead and while Ronaldo drew Real level it was Schmelzer that got the winner. Since then they have faced City, Ajax, Galatasaray, Copenhagen, Juventus, Basel, Ludogorets, Liverpool, Shakhtar, Malmo, PSG, Sporting, Dortmund and Legia but none of them have come out on top.
They have registered historic results such as just one defeat in the last seven group stages, victories in all their group games during the 2011-12 and 2014-15 campaigns, while in the 2014-15 group stage they conceded just two goals to repeat the record they managed in the 2011 and 2011-12 seasons.
The European Cup has without doubt been a special competition for Real Madird and in particular the group stages of the Champions League have seen a particular success rate ever since the new format started and they played their first game in September 1995 with a victory over Ajax. They have qualified from every group since with 13 times in first position.
Of the 126 group stage games they have won 82, drawn 26 and lost 18. Now it is the task of APOEL, Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham who will try and topple Real in the group stages which is no enviable job.
Real take on APOEL though looking to put behind them two disappointing draws in LaLiga against Valencia and Levante but they have their star man Cristiano Ronaldo back from suspension as they look to take the first step towards the final next May.