The Champions League is back with match day three upon us, featuring some very interesting games.
We have all you need to know for Tuesday group games, especially as two of the best forwards in 2017, in Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo, get ready for a back-to-back showdown between their clubs, Tottenham and Real Madrid.
Maribor vs Liverpool
With two points in two games and a double header against Slovenian champions beckoning, Liverpool would go in search of their first win today in order to keep qualification hopes alive and stay in touch with group leaders Sevilla.
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However, the Merseyside team need to be ruthless in front of goal and keep it tight at the back as failure to finish off opponents despite a dominant display has been the bane of the team.
Although this would be the first competitive meeting between both teams, Maribor have lost and failed to score in only one of their last 11 home UCL matches. Also, Maribor have not conceded more than one goal in their last 19 home UCL matches.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are on a 7 game winless run in the UCL group stage and have conceded the first goal in each of these 7 matches. They have also failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 11 UCL matches and have drawn four of their last six UCL matches.
Spartak Moscow vs Sevilla
A draw away to Liverpool and the win over Maribor last time out ensured that Sevilla are two points clear in a surprisingly tight group in which anything could still happen; as the underdogs have ensured they are not too far off from the top.
This double header provides Sevilla with an opportunity to race clear at the top of the group or open up a chance for Spartak Moscow to throw themselves into contention like Liverpool as both teams remain level on point in group E.
Just like the other group game, this would be the first meeting between these two and while Spartak Moscow have failed to record a win in their last five UCL games; Sevilla have only lost once in eight meetings with Russian opposition.
Spartak would be boosted by the return of the influential Ouincy Promes, while Steven N’zonzi misses out for Sevilla through injury.
Manchester City vs Napoli
Asides the Real Madrid vs Tottenham game, this is another game to watch out for tonight as this one promises a flurry of goals.
Two free scoring teams who play exciting football and probably are the favorites to qualify from this group, face-off tonight at the Ethiad stadium. City are sitting pretty at the top here, having had a perfect record, with two wins in two, six goals scored, none conceded and six points.
Can Napoli upset the odds to halt the Cityzens in their tracks? Napoli endured a shock defeat away to Shakhtar in the opening fixture of the UCL season but got back on track with a win against Feyenoord to stay second behind City on 3points.
Napoli are unbeaten against City who they played in the 2011/12 UCL group stages; drawing 1-1 in Manchester before winning 2-1 at the San Paolo.
However, Napoli have never won an away game against English opposition in all competitions, losing five of their six trips.
And for the home side, they are also unbeaten in their last 10 UCL home games, winning seven alongside three draws.
Feyenoord vs Shakhtar Donetsk
The shock 2-1 win by Shakhtar over Napoli has set this group nicely for some drama as the Ukranian side can fancy their qualification chances especially with the double header against Feyenoord who seem to be the weeping boys of the group with zero point.
Although these two teams will be meeting for the first time, Shakhtar comes into this tie off the back of two wins in the Ukranian league while the home team comes in with a win and recently a home draw as they hope to pick up their first point of this season’s UCL campaign.
Monaco vs Besiktas
After their 3-0 demolition at home by Porto in match day two, Monaco will hope to kick start their season when they host group leaders, Besiktas, who travel to France aiming to maintain their 100 percent start.
Things haven’t been rosy for both clubs in their respective domestic leagues, with either side losing at the weekend ahead of this game, and also having drawn in the league just before the international break.
But while Besiktas have been brilliant in Europe, Monaco have taken their domestic struggles to the CL, where they have just a point from their first two games.
It’s a match the French champions cannot afford to win, something their manager, Leonardo Jardim, recognises.
Elsewhere in the group, second placed Porto will be looking to consolidate on their last result in match day two when they host newcomers, RB Leipzig, who’d be looking for their first ever win in the CL.
Real Madrid vs Tottenham
In one of the ties of match day two on Tuesday, defending champions, Real Madrid will be hoping to take control of the group when they host joint leaders, Tottenham at the Bernabeu.
Both sides have had a perfect start so far, with two wins in two each, but will be hoping either side can maintain that run, as they eye a place in the knockout phase.
The match tonight isn’t just about three points, but also a clash between two of the highest scorers in 2017, Kane and Ronaldo.
Kane and Ronaldo have scored 43goals in 2017 apiec, , with Kane doing so in 8 fewer games, 38, compared to Ronaldo’s 46.
The game at the Bernabeu also sees Luka Modric and Gareth Bale face their former employers, Spurs, for the first time in a competitive setting since both left the club for the Spanish giants.
Both clubs are in good form, having won their last four matches in all competitions, but this will be the fifth meeting between them, with the visitors yet to win in the last four, losing three of them.
Last time both sides met, it was in the 2010-2011 quarter finals, with Real winning 5-0 on aggregate.
In the other group game, Apoel host Borussia Dortmund, with both sides looking for their first points of the campaign when they meet at the GSP stadium in Nicosia.
With Real Madrid and Tottenham locking horns back-to-back, Dortmund will see this as a great chance to revive their campaign.
It is the first meeting between these two, and a must win one for either of them.
Written by Sola and Izuchukwu.