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After another great weekend of domestic action Europe’s premier continental competition returns this week and it is serving up some great matches.
(All games at 2:45 p.m. EDT)
Borussia Dortmund (GER) vs. Real Madrid (ESP) (FS1)
Ever since BVB returned from the international break with a 1-0 loss to RB Leipzig, all they’ve done is win four games in a row and score 20 goals in the process. Dortmund will now welcome the holders, Real Madrid, who have been far from convincing recently. Back to back draws plus a not-so-convincing win over Sporting will do that to a team. Sure, Dortmund have some very concerning issues with their back four, but from the midfield forward they’re making an argument to be considered one of the best teams in Europe right now. It’s time for people to notice. Borussia Dortmund win 3-2
CSKA Moscow (RUS) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) (FS2)
It’s hard to call the second group stage match a must win but for Tottenham, who lost to Monaco at home in the first game, it’s certainly a ‘must-get-a-result’ match. With each game Tottenham plays, they’ll get more and more used to Vincent Janssen replacing Harry Kane up top — though there’s no question that the recent form of Son Hueng-Min has done wonders to mask the poor starts of Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli. For Spurs, the concern has to be the amount of injuries as players like Dele Alli, Moussa Dembele, and Eric Dier all were left behind in London. A trip to Moscow is never an easy time, and Spurs will certainly have their work cut out for them to get a point. 1-1 draw
Leicester City (ENG) vs. FC Porto (POR) (FSN)
How much should you read into Leicester’s 4-1 decimation at Old Trafford prior to this game? Not much. The Foxes simply got blitzed by a suddenly resurgent Manchester United side, who scored three times from corners. Leicester manager Claudio Raneiri essentially punted the match by removing Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez at halftime to rest them for this match.
This week, Leicester welcome in Porto for the first ever Champions League match at the King Power Stadium. The loss to Manchester United has done its job in lowering the expectations for the Foxes, putting them right in their favorite position, the underdogs. Despite being at home, the Foxes will be the underdogs against a good Porto side. That’s exactly the position where Leicester thrive. Leicester win 2-1
AS Monaco (FRA) vs. Bayer Leverkusen (GER) (ESPN2)
When the draw was first made, many people assumed that Monaco would be the basement dwellers of Group E. After one match they are not only sitting atop the group, but are having themselves a very nice domestic campaign. The same unfortunately can’t be said about Bayer Leverkusen, who have been all over the map in the Bundesliga this season. Monaco played tipped their hand in their 2-1 win at Wembley on matchday 1. They grabbed a couple goals and then sat back to defend and defend some more. Was it pretty? Absolutely not, but was it effective? Certainly. Monaco win 2-1
Rest of the games
Sporting were the better side in their matchday 1 loss to Real Madrid and it was unfortunate that they couldn’t come out with a result. They certainly will in matchday 2, when they grab a comfortable 2-0 win over Legia Warsaw, who may be the worst team in the competition.
FC Coopenhagen surprised many when they held Porto to a draw last time out. Club Brugge on the other hand was shellacked at home by Leicester. That doesn’t bode well for the Belgians. Things could get ugly as the Danes cruise to a 3-1 win.
After a poor start to the season, Juventus have finally put things together with a pair of back to back wins and clean sheets. A trip to Dynamo Zagreb will provide its challenges but once the Italians can get Paulo Dybala going they’ll really be a force to be reckoned with. For now they’ll settle for a traditional 1-0 win for the Old Lady.
Lyon issued a statement win last time out with a thumping of Dynamo Zagreb. Now they face a trip to Sevilla who if we’re being honest are probably hoping for another third place finish so they can try to win a fourth straight Europa League. A 2-2 draw sets them on their way for that.