Record-break­ing night awaits as Madrid hosts Dort­mund

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

MADRID:

It could be a night of records at Santiago Bern­abeu Sta­dium today. In ad­di­tion to try­ing to win their Cham­pi­ons League group, Real Madrid and Borus­sia Dort­mund will also be look­ing to make his­tory when they meet in their fi­nal Group F match.

One draw and Madrid will equal the club’s long­est un­beaten run of 34 games in all com­pe­ti­tions. One goal and Dort­mund will match the most goals ever scored in the tour­na­ment’s group stage - 20.

On a per­sonal level, Cris­tiano Ron­aldo can be­come the first player to score 100 times in Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tions if he is able to score twice. Madrid is in po­si­tion to equal the un­beaten record set un­der coach Leo Been­hakker in the late 1980s. It would then be five short of Barcelona’s Span­ish record of 39 con­sec­u­tive games with­out a loss, set last year.

Madrid hasn’t been de­feated since April at Wolfs­burg in the quar­ter­fi­nals of last sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League. Dort­mund has a chance to be­come the fourth club to score 20 goals in the group stage. And if it scores two or more goals, it will sur­pass the mark set by Madrid in 2013-14, Barcelona in 2011-12 and Manch­ester United in 1998-99. Dort­mund scored at least once in ev­ery group game so far, and it has a shot at the record thanks mostly to routs against Le­gia War­saw - 6-0 in Poland and 8-4 in Ger­many.

Ron­aldo’s 100th goal has eluded him for some time - he hasn’t scored in Cham­pi­ons League play since a 2-2 draw at Dort­mund in Septem­ber. Madrid scored 10 goals in the three matches since then, but none came from Ron­aldo.

The Por­tu­gal for­ward has av­er­aged a goal per game in the Cham­pi­ons League while play­ing with Madrid, with 80 goals from as many matches. He has scored only two in this sea­son’s group stage, his worst mark since join­ing the Span­ish club.

Here’s a look at the groups play­ing today:

GROUP E

Monaco has se­cured first place and Bayer Lev­erkusen is guar­an­teed sec­ond, but Tot­ten­ham needs at least a draw against CSKA Moscow at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium to fin­ish third and earn a spot in the Europa League. “We haven’t won yet at Wem­b­ley, we want to fin­ish with a win and give some­thing back to the fans,” Tot­ten­ham mid­fielder Chris­tian Erik­sen said. The English side routed Swansea 5-0 in the Pre­mier League this week­end to re­bound from two con­sec­u­tive losses.

Lev­erkusen will be with­out in­jured mid­fielder Kevin Kampl for the home match against Monaco.

“We would like to fin­ish the group un­de­feated, which would be a first for us,” Bayer coach Roger Sch­midt said.

GROUP F

Madrid hosts Dort­mund trail­ing the Ger­man side by two points, so only a vic­tory will se­cure first place in the group.

But the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons ar­rive boosted by an eight-game win­ning streak at the Bern­abeu in the Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tion. Madrid has won 28 of their last 32 home matches in the tour­na­ment, with the only loss com­ing against Schalke in the 2014-15 sea­son.

Dort­mund will be with­out Mario Goetze be­cause of a mi­nor in­jury. “(Win­ning the group) would top off this out­stand­ing open­ing round,” Dort­mund sport­ing di­rec­tor Michael Zorc said. “It would be the ic­ing on the cake.”

In the other match, Sport­ing Lis­bon needs at least a draw at Le­gia War­saw to se­cure third place and a spot in the Europa League.

GROUP G

FC Porto has to beat Le­ices­ter to ad­vance with­out de­pend­ing on other re­sults, but win­ning hasn’t been easy for the Por­tuguese side re­cently.

The last-minute vic­tory over Sport­ing Braga in the Por­tuguese league on Satur­day was the team’s first since Nov. 2.

Porto is sec­ond in the group, be­hind al­ready qual­i­fied Le­ices­ter. It loses the head-to-head tiebreaker to FC Copen­hagen on away goals, so if it fails to win and Copen­hagen de­feats Club Brugge - which has yet to win a point the Por­tuguese side will be elim­i­nated.

GROUP H

Lyon needs to beat Sevilla at home by a two-goal mar­gin to ad­vance and leave France with three teams in the last 16 for the first time. PSG and Monaco have al­ready qual­i­fied.

“Few thought we would still be alive ahead of the last game,” Lyon coach Bruno Ge­n­e­sio said. “We now have a fi­nal to play and to win.” Ju­ven­tus has al­ready ad­vanced and a win against Di­namo Za­greb will se­cure first place. — AP

LON­DON: Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur’s Ar­gen­tine man­ager Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino (3L) tack­les English striker Harry Kane and English de­fender Kieran Trip­pier dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion at Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur’s En­field Train­ing Cen­tre, north-east of Lon­don, yes­ter­day. — AFP

MADRID: Dort­mund’s head coach Thomas Tuchel gives a press con­fer­ence at the Santiago Berbabeu sta­dium in Madrid yes­ter­day, on the eve of the UEFA Cham­pi­ons league foot­ball match Real Madrid CF vs Borus­sia Dort­mund. — AFP

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