Red-hot Real ready for Spurs test

Free-scoring City take on Serie A leaders Napoli

Red-hot Real ready for Spurs test

Hoders Real Madrid host Tottenham Hotspur with both teams looking to seize control of Group H following back-to-back victories to start this season's Champions League.

The odds are stacked in favour of the Spaniards who have won three of four meetings with Spurs and are yet to concede a goal against the Premier League side. Real are unbeaten at home in the group stage dating back to 2009, winning 21 of 23 matches since then at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Luka Modric could face his former club, although Gareth Bale is unlikely to be fit for Real. Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first La Liga goal of the season with a late winner in Saturday's 2-1 victory at Getafe. Tottenham striker Harry Kane has netted 15 goals in his last 11 outings for club and country, but Spurs will be without Dele Alli who serves the final game of a three-match ban.

Top-toppers clash

Pep Guardiola's Premier League pace-setters lock horns with Serie A front-runners Napoli as Manchester City attempt to make it three wins from three in Group F.

The Italians suffered an opening setback to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine, but Maurizio Sarri's side have swept aside all-comers in Italy -- their 1-0 win at Roma on Saturday stretched their winning run in the league to eight matches. In England, City pulled two points clear of Manchester United at the top following a 7-2 demolition of Stoke City achieved without Sergio Aguero, who was left on the bench after recovering from a broken rib suffered in a car crash in Amsterdam last month.

City became the first English top-flight team to score 29 goals in their first eight league games of the season since Everton in 1894. Napoli have never won in England in five previous trips.

Eyeing first win

Liverpool head to Slovenia still looking for their first Champions League group stage victory away from home since a 1-0 win at Debrecen in November 2009.

Jurgen Klopp's men are winless in three games in all competitions and have drawn their first two Group E encounters against Sevilla and Spartak Moscow. The five-time European champions will have to make do without forward Sadio Mane, who is still ruled out with the muscle problem that forced him to miss Saturday's drab 0-0 draw with Manchester United.

Maribor drew their opening match with Spartak and have a solid European record at home against English teams. They held Chelsea in the 2014-15 Champions League group stage and Tottenham Hotspur in the 2012-13 Europa League, before beating Wigan Athletic the following season.

Sevilla top the early group standings after a comfortable victory over Maribor last time out and a 2-2 opening draw at Anfield. Russian champions Spartak held off a Liverpool onslaught to grab their second point in their first group stage campaign since 2012. The capital club have turned around a poor start to the season with a nine-match unbeaten streak in all competitions.

Sevilla have kicked off the campaign strongly and sit fourth in La Liga despite a 1-0 loss at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. The record five-time Europa League winners are the favourites to top Group E, as they look to improve on last term's Champions League showing when they suffered a shock last-16 defeat by Leicester City. It will be the first meeting of the two sides.

Contrasting fortunes

Victory over APOEL Nicosia is imperative for Borussia Dortmund if the Bundesliga leaders are to reignite their flickering European hopes. Peter Bosz's men also lost their unbeaten domestic record over the weekend after being beaten 3-2 at home to RB Leipzig despite a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Their recent form on the continent is dreadful with Dortmund losing five of their last seven matches, while APOEL are looking for a first win in the Champions League proper since March 2012. Both Dortmund and APOEL are seeking their first points in Group H after successive defeats in what is the first encounter between the two clubs.

AFP

 

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