Madrid eye goal fest, Leicester look to stay pe ect in Europe
Bayer Leverkusen (GER) vs Tottenham (ENG) Tottenham’s surprise home defeat to Monaco on opening day has put a spanner in the works, with both the London side and Leverkusen under pressure. Spurs bounced back with a win in Moscow over CSKA and are the only remaining unbeaten side in the Premier League. Leverkusen, on the other hand, had a difficult start to the Bundesliga season and sit in the bottom half., and drew their first two pool matches. Before the season began, both would have been considered group favourites, but now neither can afford to fail to pick up a win in or they risk leaving themselves with too much to do in the final two fixtures.
CSKA (RUS) vs Monaco (FRA) Monaco will seek to build on their opening 2-1 victory over Tottenham against CSKA, who sit third in the Russian Premier League after a 1-0 win over Ufa, but are bottom of the group and need a win. Monaco has dropped to third in Ligue 1, falling four points behind Nice after losing 3-1 at Toulouse on October 14, and would be happy to go home with a point still leading the pool.
Real Madrid (ESP) vs Legia Warsaw (POL) Legia, the first Polish qualifiers to this stage in 20 years, have already conceded eight goals in their first two group games, so anything other than a Real avalanche a surprise. Madrid warmed up with a 6-1 thumping of Real Betis, who are probably a better side than Warsaw. Real coach Zinedine Zidane praised his side for playing with “intensity” on October 15, and a similar display would likely blow away the Polish side, which was already thumped 6-0 at home to Dortmund.
Sporting (POR) vs Borussia Dortmund (GER) This match could develop into a battle for second place behind Real after Sporting came close to a stunning upset on opening weekend, leading Real 1-0 until late in the match. They lost but will have been buoyed by that performance and a win at home to Dortmund would foster faith that they have the ability to get through this toughest of groups. Borussia, a regular fixtures in the knock-out stages, have been banging in the goals for fun this season, behind only Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga on goals scored. They were unlucky to only draw Hertha at the weekend after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a penalty and hit the bar before notching a late equaliser. If luck doesn’t desert the Gabon striker in Lisbon, it could be a difficult night for Sporting.
Club Brugge (BEL) vs Porto (POR) Pointless and goalless Brugge host Porto with both sides targeting a first win in Group G. The pair last met in the 1972-73 UEFA Cup, where Porto prevailed 5-3 on aggregate. Belgian champions Brugge suffered heavy losses to Leicester and Copenhagen, but coach Michel Preud’homme has valuable insight into the Portuguese football mentality as a former Benfica player. Porto meanwhile welcome back Jesus Corona, among the scorers in their Portuguese Cup win at the weekend, from injury. Brugge line up after a league loss to Charleroi on October 14.
Leicester (ENG) vs Copenhagen (DEN) Leicester’s season is developing a Jekyll and Hyde quality – struggling to defend their shock Premier League crown but flying high in Europe. Claudio Ranieri’s men host Copenhagen while top of the group with a perfect six points, while in the Premier League their four defeats already one more than they suffered over the whole of last season. Their Danish guests are placed second at two points adrift, so a third straight win for the Foxes would punch a ticket to the knockout stage in their first ever Champions League campaign much closer. Leicester will have to bounce back from a 3-0 loss to Chelsea at the weekend, when Ranieri rested last season’s player of the year Riyad Mahrez, one of three key players, for today’s match.
Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) vs Sevilla (ESP) Dinamo took decisive action after 3-0 and 4-0 losses to Lyon and Juventus, with former Bulgaria coach Ivaylo Petev replacing Zlatko Kranjcar. In three-time Europa Cup winners Sevilla they face no easy task, though, with the Spaniards having drawn 0-0 with Juventus and beaten Lyon 1-0 to tie at the top of the table. Sevilla are also proceeding steadily in La Liga, one point off the lead after a win at Leganes on October 15.
Lyon (FRA) vs Juventus (ITA) Juventus are setting the pace in the Serie A title race, a Paulo Dybala brace notching a 2-1 win over Udinese on October 15 and placing them five points clear of Roma. Coach Massimiliano Allegri, who guided Juve to the 2015 final, cut a frustrated figure after a goalless draw with Sevilla delayed his plot his team’s first Champions League crown in 20 years. Juve followed that draw with an emphatic 4-0 win at Dinamo to lead the table. The teams’ last encounter came in the 2013-14 Europea League quarter-final, the Italians winning both legs. –
Betis goalkeeper Antonio Adan (left) attempts to block Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo during a La Liga match on October 15. Real Madrid won 6-1.