The Champions League is back! And as we head into the third match day, some teams have the chance to put some distance between them and the field to take some heat off them for the final matches of the group stage, others are fighting for their lives already. Here's what to keep an eye on for Tuesday's matches.
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Tottenham Hotspur: How will the Spurs defense hold up?
The Tottenham defense was dealt a blow this weekend when Toby Alderweireld went down with a knee injury. Now they're going to ask Eric Dier to fill in for their best defender, which isn't ideal under any circumstances, but definitely not for a crucial match at Bayer Leverkusen. Spurs are fighting with the Germans for a spot in the knockout stages and Bayer have one of the most dangerous attacks in Europe. This isn't when they want to be weaker at the back. The good news is Tottenham should be able to get chances of their own against the Bayer defense, but it won't matter much if Dier can't ably step in for Alderweireld.
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CSKA Moscow vs. Monaco: Monaco can build a lead atop Group E
Monaco are off to a great start in Group E, beating Spurs away and getting a draw against Bayer Leverkusen. They're top of the group with four points and CSKA is considered the weakest of the four teams. If they can get a win in Russia, they'll still be atop the group with a home match against CSKA to follow. That gives them a great chance to build on their lead and maybe even clinch a spot in the knockout stages before they have to deal with Tottenham and Bayer again.
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Real Madrid vs. Legia Warsaw: Isco? James?
Isco finally got a chance to prove himself over the weekend and turned in a great performance as Real Madrid cruised to a 6-1 win, while Zinedine Zidane said James Rodriguez has recovered from his injury and will be in the team against Legia. It's not as if the Merengues need more attacking firepower, but it sure doesn't hurt to have it so let's see how the two do on Tuesday. They may be adding a couple more in-form attackers to their ranks.
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Sporting Lisbon vs. Borussia Dortmund: Who is the real BVB?
Borussia Dortmund started the season with six wins from seven matches and looked like not just a challenger to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, but a team that could compete for the Champions League title. But they've gone winless in their last three, looking pourous at the back and wasteful in front of goal. It's been two months now and we still have no idea who the real BVB is.
Club Brugge vs. FC Porto: The Portuguese must win
Club Brugge always figured to be last in Group G and two losses by a combined 7-0 scoreline in their first two matches have them right on pace for that. But Porto were supposed to challenge Leicester City for first in the group. Instead they find themselves in third, even begind FC Copenhagen. With two matches against Brugge coming up, they need six points and nothing less.
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Leicester City vs. FC Copenhagen: Foxes have a chance to run away with Group G
Leicester's struggles in the Premier League have been predictable. They may be the defending champions, but they figured to be a mid-table team this season, and they have been. Part of that is because they would have to focus on the Champions League, which they've been doing, and so far it's paid off. They have six points from two matches and now have a chance to run away with the group. A couple more wins and they can clinch Group G early, allowing them to focus a bit more on their Premier League play, but more importantly, secure a seeded place for the round of 16 draw.
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Dinamo Zagreb vs. Sevilla: Sevilla might play their way out of the Europa League
Sevilla are kings of the Europa League, having won the tournament in three straight years, but they may not get a chance to defend their title this season. That's because they look set for a spot in the Champions League knockout stages. A win at Dinamo Zagreb, the group's worst team, will put gthem comfortably in second place with no reason to think they'll slip below Lyon in the second half of the round. Making the knockout stages may not come with a trophy, but Sevilla will definitely take it over another trip to the Europa League.
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Olympique Lyon vs. Juventus: The Old Lady still need to figure out their midfield
It's hard to imagine Juventus not winning Serie A and they're a good bet to make it out of Group H so their real focus is giving themselves a chance to win the Champions League. The finalists from two years ago have had some major changes in the midfield, first selling Arturo Vidal two summers ago then Paul Pogba last summer. They still haven't quite figured out their midfield and that's what they have to do over the next few months to get geared up for the knockout stages. Their clash in Lyon should be a good test for them as they continue to work on making themselves a force in the center of the park again.