CHAM­PI­ONS LEAGUE: CAN BIG SPENDERS JUVE SHINE?

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

After bring­ing in the likes of Gon­zalo Higuain, Mi­ralem Pjanic, Dani Alves and Medhi Be­na­tia, the top pri­or­ity this sea­son for Ju­ven­tus is clearly the Cham­pi­ons League. But coach Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri warned: “Ev­ery­one says Juve will win ev­ery­thing – but that hurts us, be­cause we lose per­spec­tive. We’ve got to play the matches and win them on the pitch.” Ju­ven­tus open their cam­paign in Group H tonight against Sevilla and will be re­ly­ing heav­ily on Higuain (above left) after his $99 mil­lion move from Napoli. Here is a look at tonight’s other matches:

GROUP E

Tot­ten­ham are back in the Cham­pi­ons League and Monaco are re­turn­ing after a one-year ab­sence. Monaco travel to Eng­land as lead­ers of Ligue 1 and are boosted by the re­turn of striker Radamel Fal­cao. The match will take place at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium be­cause of con­struc­tion work at White Hart Lane. Spurs will fancy vic­tory now that Harry Kane has found his shoot­ing boots. Also, Bayer Lev­erkusen warmed up for CSKA Mos­cow’s visit with a 3-1 win over Ham­burg on Satur­day. Mex­ico striker Javier ‘Chichar­ito’ Her­nan­dez will again lead the front line against Mos­cow.

GROUP F

Look­ing to be­come the first team to win back-to­back Cham­pi­ons League ti­tles, Real Madrid be­gin against Sport­ing Lisbon. Cris­tiano Ron­aldo warned op­po­si­tion that the La Liga lead­ers are “look­ing good and solid”. Mid­fielder Luka Mo­dric added: “We’ve got an im­pres­sive squad.” Borus­sia Dort­mund take on Le­gia Warsaw, Poland’s first Cham­pi­ons League rep­re­sen­ta­tives since Widzew Lodz in 1996-97. Le­gia have never beaten a Ger­man team, los­ing five of its eight matches.

GROUP G

With Leicester mak­ing their de­but and Brugge a re­turn after 10 years, Porto – two-time Euro­pean cham­pi­ons – are favourites in this group. They play FC Copen­hagen tonight, who had to win six matches to make it this far, while Porto over­came Ital­ian side Roma in the play-off round with a 4-1 ag­gre­gate win. Leicester were the story of Euro­pean foot­ball last sea­son but the en­core is prov­ing tough.

GROUP H

Com­ing off a 3-1 loss in the French league that ex­posed their de­fen­sive frail­ties, Lyon will host Di­namo Zagreb. The seven-time French cham­pi­ons may have to play with­out striker Alexan­dre La­cazette be­cause of a left leg in­jury. The France in­ter­na­tional’s ab­sence is a prob­lem for Lyon coach Bruno Ge­n­e­sio, who does not have proper cover on the bench. Di­namo has have their own wor­ries head­ing into the cru­cial fix­ture. The Croa­t­ian club’s un­beaten run of 103 league matches at home, dat­ing back to 2010, ended at the week­end against Osi­jek.

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