UEFA Champions League GW 5: Spotlight on Cristiano Ronaldo as European action resumes — PREVIEW 1
We look ahead to Tuesday`s Champions League action as Cristiano Ronaldo goes back to first club Sporting Lisbon and Tottenham Hotspur face a crunch trip to Monaco (kick-offs 1945 GMT unless stated):
Paris: We look ahead to Tuesday`s Champions League action as Cristiano Ronaldo goes back to first club Sporting Lisbon and Tottenham Hotspur face a crunch trip to Monaco (kick-offs 1945 GMT unless stated):
At Moscow, Russia (1700 GMT): CSKA Moscow (RUS) vs Bayer Leverkusen (GER)
Morale is on the floor in Moscow with CSKA bottom of Group E before Leverkusen`s visit. The defending Russian champions this week saw their midfielder Roman Eremenko hit with a two-year ban for cocaine use after a positive test following the reverse fixture between the teams in September. Eremenko`s goal in that match gave CSKA a 2-2 draw after being two goals down. The Muscovites registered their first win in five league games at the weekend and must win this game to keep alive their hopes of reaching the last 16. Leverkusen can progress by avoiding defeat, provided Tottenham Hotspur lose away to Monaco. The Germans are unbeaten in the section, following up three draws by beating Tottenham at Wembley last time out. However, they are struggling in mid-table in the Bundesliga having lost at home to RB Leipzig at the weekend.
At Monaco, France: Monaco (FRA) vs Tottenham Hotspur (ENG)
Tottenham travel to the Mediterranean principality boosted by claiming a first win in eight matches at the weekend, when they beat West Ham United 3-2 after a dramatic late fightback in the Premier League. Mauricio Pochettino`s side are in real trouble in the Champions League having lost at home to Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen. They will be eliminated if they fail to win at the Stade Louis II and Leverkusen better their result when they face CSKA Moscow in Russia. Monaco need only draw the game to be sure of a place in the last 16. They will secure first place if they win and Leverkusen drop points. Leonardo Jardim`s side are the leading scorers in Europe`s big five leagues, averaging three goals a game in Ligue 1, including a 3-0 win at Lorient on Friday. Leading their attack is a revitalised Radamel Falcao, with the Colombian having netted nine times in all competitions this season. The teams drew 1-1 here in the Europa League last season. Toby Alderweireld and Ben Davies are on the sidelines for Spurs and Erik Lamela, who scored at the Stade Louis II last season, is also doubtful.
At Dortmund, Germany: Borussia Dortmund (GER) vs Legia Warsaw (POL)
Dortmund, the 1997 winners and 2013 runners-up, are already certain to progress to the last 16 having amassed 10 points from their first four matches. Thomas Tuchel`s side are now looking to secure top spot and a win at home to already-eliminated Legia will guarantee them first place, as long as Real Madrid drop points at Sporting Lisbon. At the very least, a win will ensure the Bundesliga club go to Madrid next month in a position to clinch the group. Dortmund are fresh from beating Bayern Munich 1-0 in "Der Klassiker" at the weekend thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang`s 12th Bundesliga goal of the season. The Gabon star was also on target as Dortmund won 6-0 away to Legia in their group opener in September. Legia, who remain in with a chance of finishing third and going into the Europa League, have improved since a poor start to the campaign. The Poles have won five of their last six games, the exception being a 3-3 draw at home to Real Madrid.
At Lisbon, Portugal: Sporting Lisbon (POR) vs Real Madrid (ESP)
Cristiano Ronaldo takes on his first professional club Sporting as a champion of Europe with Real and Portugal and is widely expected to pick up his fourth Ballon d`Or. He will doubtless receive a hero`s welcome on his return to the Estadio Jose Alvalade. Ronaldo`s hat-trick this weekend, his 39th for Real, delivered a 3-0 away win at Atletico Madrid despite the visitors missing six key players in captain Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Alvaro Morata and Karim Benzema. Champions League holders Real won the reverse fixture 2-1 and are unbeaten in 29 games in all competitions. All Zinedine Zidane`s men need here is a point to secure passage to the next round, but with Dortmund top of the group by two points Real will want to hunt them down as a point of pride -- and to earn an easier draw in the next round. Sporting are on an upturn and scoring regularly and are still in with a chance of the Europa League.
At Leicester, England: Leicester City (ENG) vs Club Brugge (BEL)
English champions Leicester top Group G with 10 points and have yet to concede a goal. Conversely, Brugge are yet to notch up a single point. A draw for the hosts would mean they progress to the next stage with a game to spare. Domestically, the unlikely Premier League champions have struggled to reproduce the form that delivered the title to the King Power Stadium and sit just two points above the relegation zone after a 2-1 weekend defeat to Watford. Claudio Ranieri`s men however, including Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, who are on the Ballon d`Or list, are a different proposition in their maiden Champions League campaign. It even looks as if Ranieri is prioritising Europe over the Premier League.
At Copenhagen, Denmark: FC Copenhagen (DEN) vs Porto (POR)
Copenhagen bagged a 1-1 draw away to second-placed Porto in September and are fighting for Champions League survival in this game, in which a win for the Portuguese would see them qualify. But Porto are misfiring with only two wins in their past five outings in all competitions while Stale Solbakken`s charges are unbeaten in their five games at home in Europe this season. Porto go into the clash with the depressing effect of having lost a penalty shoot-out to Chaves in the Portuguese Cup at the weekend, while the hosts powered to yet another win in the league. A win for the Danes would see them leap-frog their opponents in the group. Has the makings of a classic.
At Seville, Spain: Sevilla (ESP) vs Juventus (ITA)
This is arguably the match of the round with Sevilla top on 10 points and visitors Juve second on eight with a tight 0-0 draw in Italy in the reverse fixture. Sevilla are flying high in Spain after they produced a stunning fightback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Deportivo la Coruna. Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli`s version of Sevilla is thrilling fans after transforming the Europa League champions into a free-thinking outfit. Italian champions Juventus go into the showdown on the back of a 3-0 Serie A win over Pescara. "It`s an important game for us because we have to win one of our last two games to go through," coach Massimiliano Allegri said. Juve may have to do it the hard way with several defenders carrying knocks, but the forward line of Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain is a frightening prospect for Sevilla.
At Zagreb, Croatia: Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) v Lyon (FRA)
Dinamo cannot qualify for the next round after a miserable Champions League campaign that has seen them fail to earn a point or even score a goal in four matches. They still have the consolation of the Europa League just about alive, but must win this game for starters. Lyon, with four points from four games, are only slightly better off and need a victory in Zagreb and for Juventus to fail to win to live another day. Lyon are fourth in Ligue 1 in France and their form has picked up in domestic competition after a slow start. Bafetimbi Gomis -- now at rivals Marseille -- scored four, including an eight-minute hat-trick, when Lyon won 7-1 in Zagreb in the 2011/12 group stage.