Sheriff Tiraspol will be trying to produce another upset and increase their chances of reaching the Champions League knockout rounds when they face 13-time champions Real Madrid in their penultimate group-stage match on Wednesday night.
So far this season, the hosts have won 12 of their 14 home matches in all competitions, while Los Blancos have only lost one of their ten away games.
After the Champions League draw in August, many Sheriff Tiraspol fans would have been licking their lips with anticipation, having two highly anticipated matches against Real Madrid to look forward to this season.
At first, claiming any points against the European giants would have seemed impossible, but after defying the odds and exceeding all expectations thus far this season, the Moldovan champions can now confidently go into Wednesday’s match with genuine belief that they can beat their Spanish counterparts for the second time.
The Yellow-Blacks held an unexpectedly strong position at the top of Group D after their 2-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu – perhaps one of the biggest upsets in Champions League history – and a 2-0 success in their opening group encounter against Shakhtar Donetsk.
However, following back-to-back losses to Scudetto champions Inter Milan, they have slipped to third place, three points behind their midweek opponents Real.
Sheriff’s Champions League success appears to have been aided by their strong domestic form; Yuriy Vernydub’s team has won 12 of their 14 league matches so far this season, scoring 44 goals while conceding only five.
With a 3-1 away win against Floresti last weekend, they extended their unbeaten Divizia Nationala run to 13 games, putting them just one point behind league leaders Petrocub, who have three games in hand.
All of their focus will now be on Wednesday’s critical match against Real Madrid, and a win would make them only the fourth team in European play to win their first two encounters with Los Blancos, following Benfica (1962, 1965), Galatasaray (2000, 2001), and Liverpool (1981, 2009).
Watch it on Sofascore.