Print Edition - 2017-11-01 | Sports
Real take on in-form Tottenham
- champions league preview
Nov 1, 2017-
Champions League holders Real Madrid take on Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Wednesday with both teams looking to secure a place in the last 16.
Manchester City and Besiktas can also book their spots in the knockout stages, while Liverpool bid to put another hatful of goals past Maribor. A lot is at stake in each group on Wednesday. A victory for either Tottenham Hotspur or Real Madrid would guarantee a spot in the last 16, although Spurs are winless against Real in five previous meetings. Mauricio Pochettino is hopeful Harry Kane will be fit for the visit of the European champions to Wembley after missing Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Manchester United.
Real, level at the top of the section with Spurs on seven points after three matches, are coming off a shock 2-1 defeat at Girona in their first appearance in Catalonia since the violence-plagued October 1 referendum that plunged Spain into political crisis. The result left Zinedine Zidane’s team eight points adrift of La Liga leaders Barcelona—a deficit they have never overcome to win the Spanish title.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool sit top of the group after their record-breaking 7-0 thrashing of Maribor in Slovenia two weeks ago. Five different players scored as Liverpool chalked up the biggest away win for an English team in the history of the competition. The five-time European champions could seal a last-16 place with Anfield victories against Maribor and Spartak Moscow in their next two outings, having not reached the knockout phase since 2008-09. Liverpool grabbed a much-needed 3-0 win over Huddersfield Town in the Premier League on Saturday to bounce back from a 4-1 defeat by Tottenham. Defeat for Slovenian champions Maribor would see them eliminated if Sevilla lose to Spartak Moscow.
Record five-time Europa League winners Sevilla are in danger of missing out on the last 16 after a shock 5-1 thumping in Moscow last time out. Russian champions Spartak are level on points at the top of the standings with Liverpool, and a positive result in Spain would put them in a strong position with their next group match at home against Maribor.
Italian league leaders Napoli extended their superb unbeaten start to the domestic campaign with a 3-1 win over Sassuolo—the ninth time in 11 Serie A matches they’ve netted three or more goals. Like Napoli, Manchester City have dropped just two points in a flying start to their Premier League campaign, and a draw at the San Paolo would send Pep Guardiola’s men through to the last 16 for the fifth consecutive year. City have kept eight clean sheets in their last 12 matches and are undefeated in 21 games since last April.
The Ukrainian outfits Shakhtar Donetsk will aim to secure back-to-back wins over pointless Feyenoord and take a significant stride towards the next phase. Shakhtar are second in the group—three points behind City, and three ahead of Napoli—while Feyenoord will be knocked out unless they register a maiden win in Ukraine.
Victory for Besiktas would secure a ticket for the last 16 for the first time in 31 years. After three wins from their first three games, a win coupled with a draw between Porto and RB Leipzig would also confirm top spot for the Istanbul outfit. A draw could also take them through if RB Leipzig beat FC Porto. Monaco reached the semi-finals last season but sit bottom the group without a win and defeat would leave them on the brink of bowing out of the competition.
Last season’s Bundesliga runners-up Leipzig revived their hopes of progressing from the group with a 3-2 win over Porto a fortnight ago and are one point clear of the Portuguese side in second. Champions League debutants Leipzig suffered two defeats to German title rivals Bayern Munich last week in the Cup and the league, while Porto maintained their two-point lead in Portugal by beating Boavista.
The two-time European champions are looking to reach the last 16 for the third time in four seasons. Both Borussia Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia face the threat of elimination after recording just asingle point from three matches. Dortmund have only won one of their last eight European games.
Besiktas vs Monaco (2245 NST, Wednesday)
Liverpool vs Maribor (0130 NST, Thursday)
Sevilla vs Spartak (0130 NST, Thursday)
Napoli vs Man City (0130 NST, Thursday)
Shakhtar vs Feyenoord (0130 NST, Thursday)
Porto vs Leipzig (0130 NST, Thursday)
Dortmund vs APOEL (0130 NST, Thursday)
Spurs vs Real Madrid (0130 NST, Thursday)
Published: 01-11-2017 10:25