Tuesday’s soccer news starts with the fourth matchday from the 2020-21 Champions League. Bayern Munich in group A, Liverpool in group D, and Barcelona in group G have already qualified for the knockout round midway through the group stage. All three did it the simplest way possible by winning all of their games.
Meanwhile, things haven’t gone so smoothly for two super clubs. Real Madrid is in 3rd-place in group B, tied on four points with 2nd-place Shakhtar Donestk but behind on the head-to-head tiebreaker. Gladbach only has a one-point lead at the top of the group, but it’s Inter Milan at the bottom of the table with two points and ambitions of their own.
Real Madrid is at Inter on Wednesday after beating them 3-2 at home on November 3. Real held a 2-0 lead in that game, an indication of how tough this season has become for them. They’re in 4th-place in the unbalanced La Liga table, markedly better than Barcelona’s 13th but not finding the same form in the Champions League group stage.
“We want to top the group, there’s still a chance and it’s up to us,” Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro said. “We’ve already put in a great performance against Inter, so we can only improve in this competition. We know that it’s a difficult group. Shakhtar have some very good Brazilian players. Borussia have been doing very well in Germany, with a coach who has very strong ideas. And Inter are a great team, with a strong tradition and a coach who is has a very clear vision of the game.”
Last season’s finalist PSG is in 3rd-place in group H, tied with 4th-place Basaksehir on 3 points. Both trail Manchester United and RB Leipzig by three points. PSG started the group with a 2-1 home loss to United and lost 2-1 at RB Leipzig on November 4. They host RB Leipzig later today with the pressure on against the team they beat to make it to that final.
PSG is once again at the top of the Ligue 1 table, but with three losses in 11 games it hasn’t been their normal dominance. On 24 points, they lead 2nd-place Little by two points and lost 3-2 at Monaco on Friday.
“The defeat at Monaco didn’t have a great impact on the spirit in the squad,” PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said. “We were very disappointed, but we know what didn’t work, and we know it was all our responsibility. We lost our concentration in the second half, no doubt because we were thinking of Leipzig too early. We have had two training sessions since Saturday, and the spirit has been good, with the players applied to their task. Everybody is re-motivated for tomorrow’s match, and we have confidence in ourselves. The match is like a final in the group for us and we’re approaching it in those terms.”
Also in the soccer news, the Seattle Sounders announced a positive coronavirus test in advance of tonight’s playoff game against LAFC. “Upon receiving an initial positive test result, the player immediately self-isolated and was placed into the necessary medical protocol,” Seattle’s statement read. “The individual is to remain in isolation until medically cleared and is being monitored daily by the club’s medical staff. Because this player was not a close contact of other members of Seattle’s roster or technical staff, Sounders FC’s medical staff has determined that risk to the overall team has been managed.”
The Independent’s Melissa Reddy looks at what analytics have meant for Liverpool. The Guardian’s Jamie Jackson has Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola’s comments on the club’s goal scoring issue. BBC Sport on Steve McClaren becoming technical director at Derby County.
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