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Ronaldo to Bounce Back and Champions League Previews for the Week

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  • Ronaldo has managed just one La Liga goal, but has six Champions League goals already this season
  • In a Neymar-less Barcelona, Messi is thriving with goals, already scored 15 goals in club competitions this season
  • Manchester United are having their best run in Europe since Fergie left
  • Manchester City are having their bes

The Champions League is back and there is a sense of excitement among football fans across the globe, maybe only Arsenal fans are not so excited. Moving ahead, Cristiano Ronaldo has endured a tough start to 2017/18 La Liga season while all seem rosy for arch-rival Leo Messi. Ronaldo has only managed one La liga goal this season but has a track record in the Champions League, scoring six times in the competition already this season. That’s as if the Champions League was meant for only him.
Apoel vs Real Madrid
Away from the goalless disappointment at Atletico over the weekend, Ronaldo will be looking to extend his Champions League goals when they face APOEL in tonight’s match. Ronaldo scored twice in the reverse fixture two weeks ago and will be looking to put all frustrations behind him. Real Madrid in general are not having a good season in the La liga so far, trailing 10 points behind leader Barcelona.
Milestones
Defending champions Real Madrid will book their spot in the last 16 of the Champions League (CL) if they beat APOEL in Nicosia. Should Zinedine Zidane’s side draw, they will still reach the knockout stages if Borussia Dortmund fail to defeat Tottenham.
It’s a do-or-die clash for bottom-placed APOEL, still winless after 4 games (D2, L2). The Cypriot side lost 3-0 to Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has been ruled out of Tuesday’s game. The brave defender suffered a nasal fracture in last Saturday’s Madrid derby after being inadvertently kicked in the face by Atletico’s Lucas Hernandez.
The hosts have won just once in their 17 meetings with Spanish clubs (W1 D5 L11). Madrid’s record against Cypriot competition speaks for itself: 7 games, 7 wins, 37 goals scored for and 3 conceded.
Madrid’s goal production has dropped dramatically this campaign. Los Blancos have scored 21 fewer goals from their first 20 games in 2017-18 (39) than they had at the same point last term (60). Manager Zidane said following his side’s goalless draw at Atletico in La Liga: “This is football, sometimes the ball won’t go in. We have to stay positive.”
APOEL have had just 31 shots on goal in the CL so far this season – the joint fewest alongside Olympiacos.
 
Dortmund vs Tottenham
Pochettino men are having one of their best outing in Champions League this season despite being grouped alongside giant Real Madrid and tough Dortmund. Tottenham presently stand atop of the table after racking up 10 points in their first 4 games. Dortmund on the other hand looks to be in crisis, they look most likely the one to miss out on progressing to the next stage following a run of disappointing results.
Milestones

  • Borussia Dortmund (BVB) face a decisive fixture against Tottenham fully aware that only their first Champions League (CL) win of the season will keep them in contention for the knock-outs. Nevertheless, it’s more than likely that they are playing for a Europa League place, with their knockout chances very complicated even in the case of a win over Tottenham.
  • BVB have failed to win their last 6 CL matches and have only won 1 of their last 9 European matches (D3 L5) in total. They are currently 3rd in Group H (2 pts, W0 D2 L2) level on points with APOEL with whom they drew 1-1 in the last round. With only 1 win in last 8 matches across all competitions (D3 L4), BVB are in danger of missing the knockouts after making that stage in their last 4 appearances.
  • BVB’s poor form continued on Friday as they lost to VfB Stuttgart 2-1, marking 3 consecutive Bundesliga defeats for the first time since 2014.
  • BVB’s record at home to English clubs is W6 D4 L1, with their lone loss coming to Arsenal in 2013/14 group stage.

Manchester City vs Feyernoord
Manchester City are currently unstoppable, just like PSG, they are in blistering form both in the domestic and champions league. With Guardiola, they are one of the major contenders of the Champions league and with this pace of attacking football, they have no limitations.
Milestones

  • Manchester City welcome an out-of-sorts Feyenoord side to the Etihad stadium for this Champions League (CL) round 5 group tie.
  • The hosts have already qualified for the final 16, but they are unlikely to take their foot off the gas if this season is anything to go by. The Citizens have won 4 out of 4 games and scored 12 goals in the process, an average of 3 per game – impressively dispatching domestically unbeaten Napoli both home and away.
  • Feyenoord have not notched a single point in the group stage as of yet and of all 6 games, this is not the one you would back them to start. The Dutch outfit have managed to score only 3 goals, and have conceded on average 3 goals per game in this CL group.
  • Speedy winger, Raheem Sterling, has already scored twice at the Etihad in this CL campaign and has scored more than any other player at home this season.

Sevilla vs Liverpool
Let’s say this will be the most interesting fixture for the day. Liverpool are in good shape, so also are Sevilla. The first leg fixture was an entertaining one with both playing out a 2-2 draw.
Milestones

  • Sevilla welcome Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium for this Champions League (CL) group stage tie. This looks to be a tasty encounter between the top 2 sides in Group E (separated only by a point), with Spartak Moscow waiting for someone to slip as they sit just 2 points behind Sevilla.
  • This is a real test of Liverpool’s credentials in the CL after the Reds easily saw off Maribor over 2 legs in the last 2 games. Sevilla have lost only once at home in their last 24 games, and that was to Barcelona. Liverpool must pull something spectacular out of the bag here if they wish to cement that group leader position.
  • Jurgen Klopp will still be having nightmares of that fateful night in Basel in which his team squandered a 1-0 lead vs Sevilla in the Europa League final to eventually lose 3-1. The German manager has now lost his last 5 cup finals in a row and is looking to make amends this season.
  • The hosts have won by a margin of 2+ goals in 7 of their last 11 European home games, and have proven their worth against the big boys by seeing off both Madrid sides in the league here last term. The visitors have been known to struggle against bigger teams of late, having already lost 4-1 away to Tottenham and 5-0 to City this term.
  • Although the stats may show Liverpool in a negative light, do not be surprised to see the Red Men put one over Sevilla in this tie as they seem to be growing in confidence each week after being slated in all quarters for their shaky defence. They have scored 3+ goals in their last 4 games in all competitions, winning each of these by exactly a 3-goal margin and conceding just 1 goal.

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