Wednesday Preview: UEFA Champs League

The three Premier League clubs in action as they face much stiffer competitions on Wednesday night in Day Two of the UEFA Champions League group stage. Two of the three begin their group stage at home with a third travelling to Rotterdam for a tough test at Feyenoord. Tottenham Hotspur drew the stiffest test in Europe with Group G’s gang Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in addition to APOEL Nicosia. UEFA Champions League football returns to Anfield on Wednesday as Liverpool host Sevilla in one of the most eye-catching ties of Week 1. The Reds will be out to recover from Saturday’s 5-0 defeat at Manchester City with a strong start in Europe. Sevilla are Liverpool’s biggest rivals for top spot in what is an otherwise favourable group. Knocked out of the UCL by Leicester City last season, Sevilla is best known for its quintet of Europa League crowns. [caption id="attachment_58345" align="aligncenter" width="576"] Liverpool getting ready for their comeback game[/caption] The last of those came at the expense of the Reds, as Daniel Sturridge’s 35th minute opener in Basel was cancelled out by three second half goals. Coke scored two and Kevin Gameiro the other but both of those players have since left the club. Pep Guardiola’s rampant Manchester City will be keen to keep the momentum going as they open the hunt for Champions League glory against a diminished Feyenoord in Rotterdam on Wednesday. After mauling Liverpool 5-0 in the Premier League on Saturday, City now travel to face the Dutch champions, who face a daunting prospect after a 15-year absence from the group stage of the competition. Feyenoord may have beaten Heracles 4-2 in a Dutch top-flight match at the weekend, but their opponents came dangerously close to scoring more goals, a fact that no doubt will play on coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s mind. Feyenoord lost just four league matches last season and led the table wire-to-wire. Ultimately, this could be a tight win for City. If Pep Guardiola‘s team really wants to make a statement, it’ll be a big win.

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Real Madrid again? Over the past few years, the Champions League has been almost completely conditioned by one main trait, but that has evolved. The European season is almost completely dominated by one main question. Can anyone stop Real Madrid winning it again? The Spanish giants are aiming for a third successive title and a 13th title overall, having already just become the first to retain the trophy in this era. It is 13 games which separate them from winning the 13th Champions League crown of their history. [caption id="attachment_53332" align="aligncenter" width="567"] Cristiano Ronaldo scored for Real Madrid in the Champions League final last season[/caption] They have barely digested the glory that came with their terrific win over Juventus in Cardiff in early June, but the club and fans want more and they’re already dreaming with their first trip to Kiev to face Apoel Nicosia. Madrid are out to end their stuttering Estadio Santiago Bernabeu form and the group’s fourth seeds give them the ideal opportunity to do just that. APOEL are, on paper, the weakest team in a group which also includes Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur and for all concerned, they will be viewing games against them as six points. However, experience does bring a note of caution in these kinds of games as it wouldn’t be the first time nor the last in which there has been a Cinderella story in this competition in terms of a shock result. Despite Real’s recent run of draws, Zinedine Zidan will continue with the rotation policy which brought him so much glory last season. Other fixtures to look out for: Maribor vs Spartak Moscow Shaktar Donetsk vs Napoli Porto vs Besiktas RB Leipzig vs Monaco
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By David Tei|TV3||Ghana ]]>