Champions League: Real Madrid faces Spurs with last-16 place on offer

UEFA Champions League’s Wednesday night fixtures will be headline by Real Madrid’s encounter at Tottenham Hotspur as Group E, F, G and H all take to the field with secure passage to the round-of-16 up for grabs.

A victory for either side would guarantee a spot in the last 16, although Tottenham is winless against Real Madrid in five previous meetings.   -  AFP

 

Champions League holder Real Madrid takes 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.

Group E:

Liverpool vs Maribor: Jurgen Klopp's side sits top of the group after its 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 champion could seal a last-16 place with Anfield victories against Maribor and Spartak Moscow in its 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 champion Maribor would see it eliminated if Sevilla loses to Spartak Moscow.

Sevilla vs Spartak Moscow: Record five-time Europa League winner Sevilla is in danger of missing out on the last 16 after a shock 5-1 thumping in Moscow last time out. Russian champion Spartak is level on points at the top of the standings with Liverpool, and a positive result in Spain would put it in a strong position with its next group match at home against struggling Maribor. Sevilla moved up to fifth in La Liga on Saturday by edging out Leganes 2-1 for its first win in three league games.

Group F:

Napoli vs Manchester City:

Maurizio Sarri's Italian league leader extended its superb unbeaten start to the domestic campaign with a 3-1 win over Sassuolo -- the ninth time in 11 Serie A matches it has netted three or more goals. Like Napoli, Manchester City has dropped just two points in a flying start to its 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 has kept eight clean sheets in its last 12 matches and is undefeated in 21 games dating back to last April. Sergio Aguero remains a goal away from becoming the club's outright all-time leading scorer -- he is currently level with Eric Brook on 177 goals.

Shakhtar Donetsk vs Feyenoord: The Ukrainians will aim to secure back-to-back wins over pointless Feyenoord and take a significant stride towards the next phase. Shakhtar is second in the group -- three points behind City, and three ahead of Napoli -- while Feyenoord will be knocked out unless it registers a maiden win in Ukraine. Shakhtar defender Yaroslav Rakitskiy is banned after his sending-off in the 2-1 win in Rotterdam, while Dutch champion Feyenoord has fallen 10 points off the pace in the Netherlands after winning just once in six attempts.

Group G:

Besiktas vs Monaco: Victory for Besiktas would secure a ticket for the last 16 for the first time in 31 years. After three wins from its 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 it through if RB Leipzig beat FC Porto. Monaco reached the semifinals last season but sits bottom the group without a win and defeat would leave it on the brink of bowing out of the competition. Leonardo Jardim's principality outfit may also have to make do without unfit captain and star striker Radamel Falcao in Turkey. Besiktas won the reverse fixture 2-1 and have never lost at home to a French team in Europe.

Porto vs RB Leipzig: Last season's Bundesliga runner-up revived its hopes of progressing from the group with a 3-2 win over Porto a fortnight ago and is one point clear of the Portuguese side in second. Champions League debutant Leipzig suffered two defeats to German title rival Bayern Munich last week in the Cup and the league, while Porto maintained its two-point lead in Portugal by beating Boavista. The two-time European champion is looking to reach the last 16 for the third time in four seasons.

Group H:

Borussia Dortmund vs APOEL Nicosia: Both teams face the threat of elimination after recording just a single point -- following a 1-1 draw in Cyprus last time out -- from three matches. Dortmund has only won one of its last eight European games, with its domestic form also tailing off dramatically in recent weeks. Peter Bosz's team crashed to a 4-2 defeat at Hanover on Saturday to surrender top spot in the Bundesliga to Bayern Munich. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned from injury at the weekend after missing the German Cup victory over third-tier Magdeburg. APOEL's stuttering start to their Cypriot title defence saw coach Giorgos Donis tender his resignation in the wake of Saturday's 1-1 draw with Ethnikos Achnas, but he remains in charge after the club refused the offer.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Real Madrid: A victory for either side would guarantee a spot in the last 16, although Tottenham is winless against Real in five previous meetings. Mauricio Pochettino is hopeful Harry Kane will be fit for the visit of the European champion to Wembley after missing Saturday's 1-0 loss at Manchester United. Real Madrid, level at the top of the section with Spurs on seven points after three matches, is coming off a shock 2-1 defeat at Girona in its 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 leader Barcelona -- a deficit it has never overcome to win the Spanish title.

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