News ID: 170485
Published: 0740 GMT October 17, 2016

Champions League groups E-H matches at a glance

Champions League groups E-H matches at a glance
Real Madrid's French defender Raphael Varane (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during his team's UEFA Champions League Group F match against Borussia Dortmund, at BVB stadium in Dortmund, on September 27, 2016.
ODD ANDERSEN/AFP

Ahead of tonight's Champions League meets, AFP Sports gave a preview of the matches in groups E, F, G and H, the full report of which follows:

Group E

 

At Leverkusen, Germany

 

Bayer Leverkusen (GER) vs. Tottenham (ENG)

 

Tottenham's surprise home defeat to Monaco on the opening day has put a spanner in the works in this group, putting both the English side and Leverkusen under pressure coming into their home-and-away series. Spurs bounced back with a win in Moscow over CSKA and is the only remaining unbeaten side in the Premier League. Leverkusen, on the other hand, has had a difficult start to the Bundesliga season and sits in the bottom half. It also drew its first two pool matches. Before the season began, these two would have been considered the group favorites but neither can afford to fail to pick up at least a win in these back-to-back encounters or they risk leaving themselves with too much to do in the final two fixtures.

 

At Moscow

 

CSKA (RUS) vs. Monaco (FRA)

 

Monaco will seek to build on its opening 2-1 victory over Tottenham when it travels to Moscow to tackle CSKA, which sits third in the Russian Premier League after a 1-0 win over Ufa at the weekend. Monaco dropped to third in Ligue 1, falling four points behind Nice after losing 3-1 at Toulouse on Friday night, while the leader beat Lyon 2-0. CSKA is bottom of the group and needs a win, while one suspects pool leader Monaco would be happy to go home with a point.

 

Group F

 

At Madrid

 

Real Madrid (ESP) vs. Legia Warsaw (POL)

 

Given Legia, the first Polish qualifier to this stage in 20 years, has already conceded eight goals in its first two group games, anything other than a Real avalanche would be a surprise. Madrid warmed up for this match with a 6-1 thumping of Real Betis, which is probably a better side than Warsaw. Real coach Zinedine Zidane praised his side for playing with "intensity" on Saturday and a similar display would likely blow away a Legia side that was thumped 6-0 at home to Dortmund.

 

At Lisbon

 

Sporting (POR) vs. Borussia Dortmund (GER)

 

In what could likely develop into a battle for second place behind Real, this match takes on crucial importance. Sporting came close to a stunning upset on the opening weekend, leading 1-0 at Real until late. It lost but will have been buoyed by that performance and a win at home to Dortmund would foster the belief that it has the ability to get through this toughest of groups. Borussia, though, has been regular fixtures in the knockout stages in recent years. It has been banging in the goals for fun this season, too, behind only Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga on that count. It was unlucky to only draw at home to Hertha at the weekend, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a penalty and hit the bar before notching a late equalizer. If luck does not desert the Gabon striker in Lisbon, it could be a difficult night for Sporting.

 

Group G

 

At Bruges, Belgium

 

Club Brugge (BEL) vs. Porto (POR)

 

Pointless and goalless Brugge hosts Porto with both sides targeting a first win to keep tabs on Group G's pacesetter. The pair last met in the 1972/73 UEFA Cup, with Porto prevailing 5-3 on aggregate. Belgian champion Brugge suffered heavy losses to Leicester and Copenhagen, but has a good home record against Portuguese sides. Brugge coach Michel Preud'homme has valuable insight into the Portuguese football mentality as a former Benfica player. Porto welcomes back Jesus Corona, recovered from a thigh problem and among the scorers in the team's Portuguese Cup win at the weekend. Brugge lineup after a league loss to Charleroi last Friday.

 

At Leicester, England

 

Leicester (ENG) vs. Copenhagen (DEN)

 

Leicester's season is developing a Jekyll and Hyde quality to it — struggling to defend its shock Premier League crown but flying high in Europe. Claudio Ranieri's men host Copenhagen top of the group with a perfect six points, a far cry from their domestic form. In Premier League, Leicester has already conceded four defeats — one more than the total number of losses the suffered over the whole of last season. Its Danish guest is placed second, two points adrift, so a third straight win for the Foxes would bring a ticket to the knockout stage in its first ever Champions League campaign significantly closer. Leicester will have to bounce back from a 3-0 loss to Chelsea at the weekend. Ranieri rested last season's player of the year Riyad Mahrez, one of three key players, for today.

 

Group H

 

At Zagreb

 

Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) vs. Sevilla (ESP)

 

Dinamo which took decisive action after 3-0 and 4-0 losses to Lyon and Juventus, with former Bulgaria coach Ivaylo Petev replacing Zlatko Kranjcar as manager, will face no easy task in its match against three-time Europa Cup winner Sevilla. The Spaniards have drawn 0-0 with Juventus and beaten Lyon 1-0 to sit level on points at the top of the table. Sevilla is also sitting pretty in La Liga, one point off the summit after a win at Leganes on Saturday — its first away league win since the final day of the 2014/15 campaign.

 

At Lyon, France

 

Lyon (FRA) vs. Juventus (ITA)

 

Juventus is setting the pace in the Serie A title race, with its 2-1 win — Paulo Dybala scoring both goals — over Udinese on Saturday placing it five points clear of Roma. Coach Massimiliano Allegri, who guided Juve to the 2015 final, cut a frustrated figure the last time out after a goalless draw with Sevilla as he tries to plot his team's path to a 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 quarterfinal, with the Italians winning both legs.

   
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Resource: AFP
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