UCL: Real begins title defence, Leicester makes bow

Real Madrid begins its defence of the trophy and Leicester City makes its debut in the competition as Matchday One goes on in this season's Champions League.

Real Madrid's Marcelo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema enjoy a training session in Madrid.   -  AP

Here is a look ahead to Wednesday's Champions League action as Real Madrid begins its defence of the trophy and Leicester City makes its debut in the competition.



Group E: Bayer Leverkusen (GER) v CSKA Moscow (RUS)



Third in the Bundesliga last season, Leverkusen goes into the group phase for a fourth consecutive year. Finland forward Joel Pohjanpalo scored a hat-trick, with two added-time strikes, in Leverkusen's 3-1 weekend win over Hamburg. Mexican centre-forward Javier Hernandez is back for the Germans after breaking a hand when falling down a flight of stairs. Russian champion CSKA, coached by Leonid Slutsky, is on a roll of 14 matches unbeaten in its domestic league. Also in its own fourth straight Champions League campaign, CSKA is on a high after the weekend's 3-0 win over Terek Grozny in its brand new stadium. Summer signing Lacina Traore scored twice in that game.





Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) v Monaco (FRA)



The match will be played at Wembley, which the visitor may appreciate due to the fact it was thrashed 4-1 in the Europa League at White Hart Lane last season. Spurs is playing at England's national stadium while it builds a new stadium next to its current home. Wembley hosted the finals of the competition in both 2011 and 2013. The host made an ultimately failed bid for the Premier League title last year with a thrilling young side led by England internationals Harry Kane and Dele Ali. Its highly rated Argentine coach Mauricio Pochettino is regalvanising the side which won 4-0 away at Stoke City at the weekend. Harry Kane ended his goal drought scoring the fourth for Spurs and his first in 10 games for club and country. Monaco goes into the tie in buoyant mood as goals from Djibril Sidibe, Adama Traore, Fabinho and Kamil Glik powered it to a 4-1 win at Lille on Saturday. It travels to London as French table-topper after spending the summer beefing up its defence and cutting off dead wood.

Watch Video: >Pochettino says Champions League excitement 'difficult to describe'



Group F: Real Madrid (ESP) v Sporting Lisbon (POR)



Real begins its quest to become the first club to retain the trophy in the Champions League era with an intriguing home tie against Cristiano Ronaldo's first club. Ronaldo's winning penalty in the final shoot-out against Atletico Madrid clinched Real a record 11th title last season. The Portuguese star made a goalscoring return in his first appearance since limping off in the Euro 2016 final 1-0 win over france in Saturday's 5-2 defeat of Osasuna. Ronaldo's boyhood club turns up at the Santiago Bernabeu in good shape after a 3-0 win over Moreirense at the weekend maintained its perfect start to the Portuguese season. Under Jorge Jesus it is back in the group stage after losing to CSKA Moscow in the play-offs last season.



Legia Warsaw (POL) v Borussia Dortmund (GER)



Dortmund, returning after a one-year absence, edged Real Madrid 4-3 on aggregate in the semi-finals three years ago en route to the final which it lost to Bayern Munich. The 1997 champion is in Warsaw to take on the first side from Poland in the competition in 20 years. The sides' only previous meeting was a 2012 friendly when Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski -- the Poland striker -- scored the only goal. Polish champion Legia, which came through the qualifiers, is appearing in the competition for the first time since 1995/96, when it reached the quarter-finals. Dortmund travels to the Polish capital on the back of a 1-0 upset defeat to Bundesliga newcomer RB Leipzig.





Group G: Club Brugge (BEL) v Leicester City (ENG)



After its fairytale Premier League title triumph last season, Leicester begins its maiden Champions League voyage with the short trip to Belgium to face Club Brugge at the Jan Breydelstadion. This will be the Foxes' first European game since a 3-1 defeat to Red Star Belgrade condemned them to a first-round exit in the UEFA Cup in September 2000. However, for the manager Claudio Ranieri this is the start of a sixth Champions League campaign with a sixth different club. Leicester comes into the game on the back of a 4-1 defeat at Liverpool, but Michel Preud'homme's side also lost at the weekend, going down 1-0 at Waasland-Beveren on Friday. Club Brugge is the only Belgian club ever to have reached the European Cup final, losing 1-0 to Liverpool at Wembley in 1978.

Also read: >Morgan ranks Champions League debut with Premier League win

Watch Video: >Ranieri says Champions League triumph impossible



Porto (POR) v FC Copenhagen (DEN)



Third in the Portuguese top flight last season, Nuno Espirito Santo's Porto beat Roma 4-1 in the play-offs to reach the group stage for the sixth season running. The two-time European champion warmed up for this game by beating Vitoria Guimaraes 3-0 at the weekend as Belgian striker Laurent Depoitre made his first start since signing from Gent last month. Copenhagen's last group-stage appearance came three years ago when it bowed out with just one win in six games. Stale Solbakken's Danish champion needed to win ties against Crusaders, Astra Giurgiu and APOEL to reach the group stage. It is still unbeaten this season after defeating Odense 2-0 on Saturday with two late goals.





Group H: Lyon (FRA) v Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)



Dinamo will be looking for revenge after suffering a 7-1 whipping at home by Lyon in 2011/12, the French club's biggest victory in the European competition. Lyon, which went as far as the semi-finals in 2010, lost all three home group stage games last season. It has since moved into an impressive new stadium, but coach Bruno Genesio has a selection headache at the moment with several key players including forward Alexandre Lacazette (thigh) and striker Nabil Fekir (knee) on the injury list. A 3-1 loss at home against Bordeaux at the weekend would not have helped morale ahead of the clash with Dinamo, the most successful Croatian club, but which has never progressed beyond the group stage.



Juventus (ITA) v Sevilla (ESP)



Two-time European champion Juventus, the most-fancied Italian side in Europe this season, meets Sevilla for a second straight year in the group stage. Last season Juventus won 2-0 at home and Sevilla won 1-0 in Spain. The Italian team warmed up with new signing Gonzalo Higuain scoring twice in a 3-1 Serie A win over Sassuolo in Turin at the weekend and is riding a 17-match unbeaten home run in UEFA competition going back to April 2013. "This is the kind of Juventus side we need for the Champions League, but we have our feet firmly on the ground," said Higuain after his goal-scoring debut. The Turin side was eliminated in the round of 16 last season by Bayern Munich. Sevilla won the Europa League for a third consecutive time after its group-stage exit and is also coming off a 2-1 Liga win at home against Las Palmas.

Also read: >Buffon determined to realise Champions League dream



Manchester City will host Borussia Monchengladbach in a rescheduled Group C fixture after torrential rain washed out last night's game at the Etihad stadium.

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