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Real face Spurs with CL last-16 place on offer

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (R) fights for the ball with Tottenham Hotspur’s Davinson Sanchez during their UEFA Champions League Group H first leg match, at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on October 17, 2017 © AFP/File / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

LONDRES, United Kingdom, Oct 31 – Champions League holders Real Madrid take on Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Wednesday with both teams looking to secure a place in the last 16.

Manchester City and Besiktas can also book their spots in the knockout stages, while Liverpool bid to put another hatful of goals past Maribor.

Here AFP Sport takes a look at what is at stake in each group (kick-offs 1945 GMT unless stated):

Group E

At Liverpool, England

Liverpool (ENG) v Maribor (SLO)

Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino (R) runs with the ball past Maribor’s Mitja Viler during their UEFA Champions League Group E first leg match, at the Ljudski vrt Stadium in Maribor, Slovenia, on October 17, 2017 © AFP/File / Jure Makovec

Jurgen Klopp’s side sit top of the group after their record-breaking 7-0 thrashing of Maribor in Slovenia two weeks ago. Five different players scored as Liverpool chalked up the biggest away win for an English team in the history of the competition.

The five-time European champions could seal a last-16 place with Anfield victories against Maribor and Spartak Moscow in their next two outings, having not reached the knockout phase since 2008-09.

Liverpool grabbed a much-needed 3-0 win over Huddersfield Town in the Premier League on Saturday to bounce back from a 4-1 defeat by Tottenham. Defeat for Slovenian champions Maribor would see them eliminated if Sevilla lose to Spartak Moscow.

At Seville, Spain

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Sevilla (ESP) v Spartak Moscow (RUS)

Spartak Moscow’s Quincy Promes celebrates after scoring a goal during their UEFA Champions League Group E first leg match, at the Otkrytie Arena stadium in Moscow, on October 17, 2017 © AFP/File / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV

Record five-time Europa League winners Sevilla are in danger of missing out on the last 16 after a shock 5-1 thumping in Moscow last time out.

Russian champions Spartak are level on points at the top of the standings with Liverpool, and a positive result in Spain would put them in a strong position with their next group match at home against struggling Maribor. Sevilla moved up to fifth in La Liga on Saturday by edging out Leganes 2-1 for their first win in three league games.

Group F

At Naples, Italy

Napoli (ITA) v Manchester City (ENG)

Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus shoots to score but is ruled offside during their UEFA Champions League Group F first leg match against Napoli, at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, on October 17, 2017 © AFP/File / Oli SCARFF

Maurizio Sarri’s Italian league leaders extended their superb unbeaten start to the domestic campaign with a 3-1 win over Sassuolo — the ninth time in 11 Serie A matches they’ve netted three or more goals.

Like Napoli, Manchester City have dropped just two points in a flying start to their Premier League campaign, and a draw at the San Paolo would send Pep Guardiola’s men through to the last 16 for the fifth consecutive year.

City have kept eight clean sheets in their last 12 matches and are undefeated in 21 games dating back to last April. Sergio Aguero remains a goal away from becoming the club’s outright all-time leading scorer — he is currently level with Eric Brook on 177 goals.

At Kharkiv, Ukraine

Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) v Feyenoord (NED)

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The Ukrainians will aim to secure back-to-back wins over pointless Feyenoord and take a significant stride towards the next phase. Shakhtar are second in the group — three points behind City, and three ahead of Napoli — while Feyenoord will be knocked out unless they register a maiden win in Ukraine.

Shakhtar defender Yaroslav Rakitskiy is banned after his sending-off in the 2-1 win in Rotterdam, while Dutch champions Feyenoord have fallen 10 points off the pace in the Netherlands after winning just once in six attempts.

Group G

At Istanbul, Turkey

Besiktas (TUR) v Monaco (FRA) (1700)

Victory for Besiktas would secure a ticket for the last 16 for the first time in 31 years. After three wins from their first three games, a win coupled with a draw between Porto and RB Leipzig would also confirm top spot for the Istanbul outfit.

A draw could also take them through if RB Leipzig beat FC Porto. Monaco reached the semi-finals last season but sit bottom the group without a win and defeat would leave them on the brink of bowing out of the competition.

Leonardo Jardim’s principality outfit may also have to make do without unfit captain and star striker Radamel Falcao in Turkey. Besiktas won the reverse fixture 2-1 and have never lost at home to a French team in Europe.

At Porto, Portugal

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Porto (POR) v RB Leipzig (GER)

Last season’s Bundesliga runners-up revived their hopes of progressing from the group with a 3-2 win over Porto a fortnight ago and are one point clear of the Portuguese side in second.

Champions League debutants Leipzig suffered two defeats to German title rivals Bayern Munich last week in the Cup and the league, while Porto maintained their two-point lead in Portugal by beating Boavista.

The two-time European champions are looking to reach the last 16 for the third time in four seasons.

Group H

At Dortmund, Germany

Borussia Dortmund (GER) v APOEL Nicosia (CYP)

Both teams face the threat of elimination after recording just a single point — following a 1-1 draw in Cyprus last time out — from three matches.

Dortmund have only won one of their last eight European games, with their domestic form also tailing off dramatically in recent weeks. Peter Bosz’s team crashed to a 4-2 defeat at Hanover on Saturday to surrender top spot in the Bundesliga to Bayern Munich.

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned from injury at the weekend after missing the German Cup victory over third-tier Magdeburg. APOEL’s stuttering start to their Cypriot title defence saw coach Giorgos Donis tender his resignation in the wake of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Ethnikos Achnas, but he remains in charge after the club refused the offer.

At London

Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) v Real Madrid (ESP)

A victory for either side would guarantee a spot in the last 16, although Tottenham are winless against Real in five previous meetings.

Mauricio Pochettino is hopeful Harry Kane will be fit for the visit of the European champions to Wembley after missing Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Manchester United.

Real Madrid, level at the top of the section with Spurs on seven points after three matches, are coming off a shock 2-1 defeat at Girona in their first appearance in Catalonia since the violence-plagued October 1 referendum that plunged Spain into political crisis. The result left Zinedine Zidane’s team eight points adrift of La Liga leaders Barcelona — a deficit they have never overcome to win the Spanish title.

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