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Champions League

Barcelona predicted lineup vs Inter

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Xavi will take his Barcelona side to Milan on Tuesday looking for a massive victory which would boost their chances of qualifying for the next round of the Champions League.

Locked on points with opponents Inter, Barcelona are ahead solely on goal difference and three points here would go a long way to helping the Blaugrana keep their spot in the standings.

The boss does, however, have a handful of injury problems to address, so here’s how he could set up.

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Robert Lewandowski

Lewandowski is in red-hot form / Alex Caparros/GettyImages

GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen – Fresh off setting a personal record for time without conceding a goal in La Liga, Ter Stegen comes into this one feeling confident.

RB: Alejandro Balde – Young Balde got the nod at right-back to aid Barcelona’s injury crisis so that may continue again here.

CB: Andreas Christensen – Christensen has played both of Barcelona’s Champions League games so far and is expected to retain his place for this one.

CB: Eric Garcia – Gerard Pique played against Osasuna but has lost the faith of Xavi and won’t be expecting a second consecutive start. Instead, expect Garcia to return to the lineup.

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LB: Jordi Alba – The Spanish press have already grown concerned about Marcos Alonso, who appears to have arrived at Camp Nou behind both Balde and Alba in the pecking order.

DM: Sergio Busquets – Finding an heir to Busquets’ throne needs to be right at the top of Barcelona’s to-do list. The 34-year-old is in excellent form but surely can’t be expected to start every game.

CM: Gavi – Gavi’s boundless energy will see him start here again. His defensive work is arguably more important than his attacking play.

CM: Pedri – Dropped to the bench against Mallorca to protect his fitness, there’s no way Pedri won’t start here.

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RW: Ousmane Dembele – The biggest beneficiary of Xavi’s arrival without a doubt. Dembele has been a creative force on both wings but has put up the best numbers on the right.

ST: Robert Lewandowski – With 12 goals in nine games, it’s no surprise Xavi was desperate to recruit Lewandowski this summer.

LW: Raphinha – He hasn’t been a regular starter over the past few games but Raphinha will fancy his chances of returning to the lineup here. Competition on the left wing isn’t as high as Xavi would like it to be.



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Champions League

How can I watch the 2022/23 Champions League last 16 draw?

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So, the excitement of the group stage is over. Having witnessed some European powers breeze through their groups and others progress by the skin of their teeth, we can now look forward to the thrill and the ‘there’s nothing quite like it’-feeling of Champions League knockout football.

Here’s all you need to know about the Champions League round of 16.

The draw for the first round of this campaign’s Champions League knockout phase will take place on Monday 7 November at 11:00 (GMT).

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How to watch the 2022/23 Champions League last 16 draw in the UK

How to watch the 2022/23 Champions League last 16 draw in the United States and Canada

The eight group winners and the eight second-placed sides will feature in the Champions League round of 16 stage.

All four English teams that entered the competition have made it through to the knockout phase, with Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City joining Napoli, Porto, Bayern Munich, Benfica and reigning champions Real Madrid as the eight seeded sides.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are joined by Club Brugge, Inter, Eintracht Frankfurt, Milan, RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain as the unseeded sides.

The table-toppers and runners-up will be drawn against each other – apart from those that competed in the same group and those from the same Associations.

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We’ll be able to see these European heavyweights lock horns after the turn of the year, with the first legs set to be played over the 14 and 15 February, and the second legs over the 21 and 22.

We’ve got to get through a World Cup first, though.



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Who could Tottenham face in the 2022.23 Champions League knockout stages?

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After a two-year absence from the Champions League knockout stages, Tottenham Hotspur will return to the competition’s last 16 this campaign.

Spurs famously earned a runner-up finish in 2018/19 before crashing out at the round-of-16 stage with a 4-0 aggregate defeat to RB Leipzig the following year. After a sixth-placed Premier League finish in 2019/20 to boot, the 2020/21 season saw them bow out at the same stage in the Europa League before a humiliating group-stage exit from the Europa Conference League last term.

But, after topping a very competitive Group D this time around, all that seems irrelevant now. So, who could Tottenham face in the knockout stages of this season’s Champions League?

Tottenham’s return to Europe’s top table has yielded mixed results.

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Frustration was the prevalent theme of their Matchday 1 bout with Marseille, although the French giants were eventually put to the sword by Richarlison’s first two Spurs goals to ensure Antonio Conte’s side enjoyed a winning return to the Champions League.

Things subsequently got a little murkier for Conte’s men as a 2-0 defeat to Sporting Club and a goalless draw with Eintracht Frankfurt left them second in the group just a point above the basement spot.

Amid a drop in domestic form, however, came results in Europe. Having earned a 3-2 victory over Frankfurt when welcoming the German outfit to north London on Matchday 4, Spurs’ 1-1 tie with Sporting on Matchday 5 left Group D wide open before its conclusion.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s dramatic crashing strike in the final seconds of Conte’s side’s visit to the French Riviera, however, ensured they flew back to England from the Stade Velodrome with a table-topping 2-1 comeback victory.

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Tottenham have shared the goals around somewhat in this year’s Champions League campaign, with Son Heung-min and Richarlison both tied on two strikes to top their scoring charts, while Ivan Perisic boasts a squad-leading three assists.

As group winners (just about), Spurs can look forward to a clash with one of the eight runners-up from the group stage.

This leaves a few very tasty options for the neutrals to look forward to. Being from the same Association, we won’t see Tottenham face Liverpool in a rematch of the 2019 final, although we could see them battle Leipzig in a repeat of that last-16 demolition (of Spurs) back in 2020.

Other intriguing matchups include potential battles with either of the Milan teams, Borussia Dortmund or Paris Saint-Germain, while Club Brugge also represent potential opponents.

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Khvicha Kvaratskhelia: ‘My dream is to win the Champions League with Real Madrid’

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Khvicha Kvaratskhelia: 'My dream is to win the Champions League with Real Madrid'

Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who we rank among the strong competitors for Ballon d’Or next year, has stood up on his greatest dream.

In a meeting with Corriere dello Sport, Kvaratskhelia: “My biggest dream? To win the Champions League. With who? With Real Madrid.

“Since I was a kid, I was a Real Madrid fan. Always watched their games,” the winger added in the interview just before joining Napoli for just €10m from Dinamo Batumi.

The Georgian technician has registered as many as 8 goals and 10 assists in just 17 games for the Neapolitans this season.

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It’s why many top clubs seem to have their sights set on the Georgian international. But the man of the moment only dreams of Real Madrid.

Source: Corriere dello Sport (h/t Total Cristiano @ Twitter)
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