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As expected, the first half of match-day four served up some incredible matches, some tense moments and some surprising outcomes. The best part about it all is we get to do it all again on Wednesday as the Champions League gives us a second straight day of tasty action.
(All games kick off at 3:45 p.m. ET)
Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) vs. Bayer Leverkusen (GER) (FS1)
Tottenham were dealt a blow earlier in the week when they found out that both Harry Kane and Toby Alderweireld won’t be fit in time for this match — to be honest it’s not the biggest loss since Tottenham weren’t exactly expecting them to be ready for this game to begin with. What is a problem is Tottenham’s continuing inability to score with Harry Kane on the team, something they will once again have to overcome.
With just a one-point lead in the table over Leverkusen, this game will go a long way in deciding who advances out of this group. Tottenham hold a slight edge in that two of their remaining three games are at “home” but then again Spurs are playing their home games at Wembley Stadium rather than their actual home of White Hart Lane. When these two teams met two weeks ago Spurs became one of just five teams to ever keep at clean sheet away to Leverkusen in European competition, they’ll need to do that again. Tottenham win 1-0
Borussia Dortmund (GER) vs. Sporting Lisbon (POR) (FS2)
Despite the plethora of talent at Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel’s disposal it has not been a great season for Dortmund. Of course it hasn’t been as bad as two years ago when they were last heading into the winter break, but sixth place in the Bundesliga and eight points behind Bayern Munich is not where Dortmund expected to be.
Part of the reason for that is this is a very young squad. They have some of the most talented teenagers in the world, but that also means they are inexperienced at handling the vigor’s of balancing the Champions League along with their domestic schedule. So far though that form has only taken a dip in the Bundesliga, as Dortmund have gotten along just fine in Europe. That continues when they play at home. Borussia Dortmund win 3-1
Legia Warsaw (POL) vs. Real Madrid (ESP) (FSN)
It’s safe to say that since returning from the October international break Real Madrid are back. In the games they’ve played, Los Blancos have scored 24 goals, scoring less than three goals in a game just once against Athletic Bilbao. Things have only gotten better around the Bernabau recently with the news that Gareth Bale has signed a new contract that will keep him in Madrid until 2022.
Los Blancos now face a tough trip to Poland but in reality the toughest factors will be external. The travel, the pitch, and the accommodations will provide the biggest challenge for Real Madrid rather than the team they will be facing. It’s harsh, but the difference in talent should be enough to see them through. Real Madrid win 3-0
Juventus (ITA) vs. Lyon (FRA) (ESPN2)
It’s been a Champions League campaign to forget for Lyon who picked up a win in their first match and have since found themselves on the losing end of every game thereafter. Traveling to Juventus’ fortress in Turin will not be an easy task, but they do catch a break with Juventus suffering a bit of a dip in form. Well, that is if you consider conceding goals in three straight games a dip in form. Then again, Juventus have won every single competitive home game they’ve played this season. At least Lyon are in the pole position for the Europa League spot. Juventus win 2-0
Rest of the games
With three wins to kick off the competition Leicester City are on the brink of qualifying for the knockout rounds. While some may be shocked it’s really not that surprising seeing as they were placed in Pot 1 for the draw and got a favorable group. A trip to FC Copenhagen will be their biggest test so far, but a 1-1 draw will give them 10 points, which should be enough to get through.
Club Brugge was so close to getting a crucial result against FC Porto two weeks ago only to be outdone by a penalty in injury time. Porto desperately need this win to get back into the race for the knockout rounds, and with the benefit of home field should be able to grab a 2-0 win.
AS Monaco continue to surprise everyone by staying atop Group E. They got through the hard part of home and home by taking a trip to CSKA Moscow and getting a result. Playing at home they’ll be desperate for a win to avoid being dragged in to a three-way mess with Tottenham and Bayer Leverkusen. CSKA Moscow has been a bit of a mess this year, and Monaco will take advantage with a 2-1 win.
Things can’t be going much worse foe Dinamo Zagreb who are still yet to score. A trip to Spain won’t make that any easier. It’s starting to look like Sevilla are not going to be able to win a fourth straight Europa League, as the rest of the group is making it way too easy for them to advance to the knockout round. A 3-0 win will give them 10 points, making the Europa League wide open for anyone this season.