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Playing for perfect in the Champions League group stage

We start the soccer news with matchday four from the 2018-19 Champions League group stage and another opportunity for a streak to end. Borussia Dortmund in Group A, Barcelona in Group B, and Juventus in Group H are three for three with 9 points. Borussia Dortmund and Juventus have both yet to give up a goal.

Making it through the group stage without dropping any points is a rarity. It’s happened six times, the last two by Real Madrid in 2011-12 and 2014-15. No team has ever gotten out of the group with six wins, no ties, and no losses and ended up lifting the Champions League trophy. AC Milan has come the closest to a perfect group record with no goals allowed, giving up one in the first Champions League group stage in 1992-93.

So there’s still the perfect Champions League season to play for, winning all 13 games en route to the trophy. It’s almost a ridiculous ask with the two-leg format for all but the final in the knockout round. The Champions League builds in space for disappointment, allowing clubs to recover in time to advance. Still, any club putting together a perfect Champions League season sets a new standard in European soccer. It’s why the degree of difficulty is still so high well into the era of Europe’s soccer elite separating themselves from everybody else.

American Soccer Now’s Brian Sciaretta on how the USMNT is doing at the Concacaf U-20 Championship. MLSsoccer’s Andrrew King talks to Red Bulls coach Chris Armas about needing to come back at home in their Eastern Conference semifinal series with Columbus.

The Daily Mail’s Ian Herbert takes issue with how Manchester City has tried to work around Financial Fair Play, according to the latest Football Leaks from Der Spiegel. The Association of European Leagues released a statement against the concept of a Super League. Inside World Football’s Andrew Warshaw reports on PSG appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over UEFA reopening a Financial Fair Play investigation. ESPN’s Sam Borden profiles Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.

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Logo courtesy of UEFA

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