PARIS (AFP) - Holders Inter Milan, 2009 champions Barcelona and last season's semi-finalists Lyon can all reach the last 16 of this season's Champions League with victories in the group stage on Tuesday.
Inter, who ended a 45-year wait for Europe's top club prize in May, face perhaps the most difficult assignment of the three in the shape of a trip to competition debutants Tottenham in Group A.
The sides shared seven goals when they met in Milan 12 days ago, but despite Inter having led 4-0 after 35 minutes, Spurs emerged from the game with real credit thanks to a stunning second-half hat-trick by Gareth Bale.
Bale's performance at the San Siro prompted his coach Harry Redknapp to label the 21-year-old Welshman one of the world's top left-sided players, and his late cameo gave Inter boss Rafael Benitez plenty of food for thought.
"The return match in London will be tough," said Benitez, who spent six years at the helm of Spurs' Premier League rivals Liverpool.
"Tottenham are a quality team and despite their bad start they showed what they are capable of in the second half."
Spurs were beaten 2-0 at Manchester United on Saturday, but of more concern to Redknapp will have been a hamstring injury to Rafael van der Vaart that forced the in-form Dutch playmaker to go off in the second half.
Inter have had an extra day to prepare for the match following their 1-0 win at Genoa on Friday, but they could be without goalkeeper Julio Cesar and holding midfielder Esteban Cambiasso after both players sustained thigh strains.
Werder Bremen and FC Twente meet in the other group game in Germany, with both sides conscious that victory would take them into second place if Inter prevail at White Hart Lane.
Barcelona visit FC Copenhagen in Group D, fresh from a stunning 5-0 demolition of Sevilla in the league on Saturday inspired by the return from injury of midfield lynchpin Xavi.
"We're not better than we were before because we've won 5-0, but we are on the right track," tempered Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta, after a game in which both Lionel Messi and David Villa scored twice.
"Tuesday's game is important for our future and we have to play very well."
Lyon brought an end to a turbulent week by beating Sochaux 2-1 at the weekend, after president Jean-Michel Aulas ended weeks of speculation by confirming that Claude Puel will stay on as coach until the end of the season.
The 2002-2008 French champions, eliminated by Bayern Munich in the semi-finals last season, have won all three of their group phase games to date but Tuesday's trip to Benfica will be their most taxing assignment yet.
Pablo Aimar scored a stunning solo goal as the Portuguese champions beat Pacos de Ferreira 2-0 in the league on Friday and Aulas says he would be happy to return from the Stadium of Light with a point.
"A draw in Lisbon and we could start thinking about finishing top of the group," he said. "We definitely can't afford to lose."
In the group's other game, Hapoel Tel-Aviv must win at home to second-placed Schalke to avoid elimination.
Group C leaders Manchester United travel to Turkey to tackle bottom side Bursaspor, having edged the Turkish champions 1-0 in their last outing.
Sir Alex Ferguson's team are yet to concede a goal in this season's competition and victory would give them 10 points from four games, taking them to the brink of the knockout phase.
"We are on a run that suggests we have recovered our old tenacity and composure," said Ferguson after the defeat of Spurs at Old Trafford.
"We have come through well in three different competitions, so it's been a morale-boosting run that I hope will be the launch pad for demonstrating that there is nothing materially wrong."
Valencia, meanwhile, can leapfrog Rangers into second place if they beat the Scottish champions at the Mestalla.
|Wenger brushes off Balotelli rumours, Gerrard claims|
|Blanc stresses Trophee des Champions importance|
|Pardew hopeful of Ferreyra loan|
|Leeds to meet with police to discuss outstanding fees|
|Bernabeu redevelopment plans halted by Spanish court|
|Malaga complete Ochoa deal|
|Man arrested over match-fixing claim in Bulgaria|
|Osvaldo could join Inter in Taider swap|
|Murcia denied Segunda participation over financial woe|
|Guardiola delighted with Guadalajara triumph|
|Wenger rules out Quintero capture|
|Ansaldi joins Atleti on loan|
|Seferovic signs on at Frankfurt|
|Van der Vaart not ruling out QPR move|
|Hiddink eyes more Netherlands progress|
|Palace snap up free agent Hangeland|
|Davies competition can help me improve, insists Rose|
|Basanta completes Fiorentina move|
|Sporting slam Dier´s father and representative|
|Grenier denies missing training|
|Lazio bring Braafheid in from the cold|
|Leboeuf: Ibrahimovic should be PSG captain instead of Silva|
|Villa must heed Keane advice, says Lambert|
|Falque joins Genoa|
|Henderson: Gerrard is irreplaceable|
|Milner: I´ll stay if I´m playing|
|Samp swoop for Bergessio|
|Evans impressed by Van Gaal´s attention to detail|
|Cordoba sign Rossi on loan from Juve|
|Brondby ´will do everything´ to sign Agger|
|Seedorf ´still has Milan contract´|
|Blaszczykowski: Dortmund will always be number one|
|Mourinho hints at Cech exit|
|Osman sets sights on silverware|
|Sahin to miss Dortmund´s Bundesliga opener|
|Griezmann ´didn´t think twice´ about joining Atletico|
|Fletcher tips bright future for Herrera|
|Swedish defender Mellberg retires|
|Copa do Brasil Review: Vasco da Gama, Novo Hamburgo advance|
|Courteous Chelsea players welcome Courtois|
|UEFA to investigate fan violence in Kiev|
|Ribery shines as Bayern edge out Guadalajara|
|Lampard´s short-term future set to be decided|
|Villa wants to leave legacy|
|Cabaye fresh for PSG´s trophy assault|
|Pique: I am far from the world´s best defender|
|Schneiderlin staying put, says Koeman|
|Digne: PSG have acclimatised in China|
|Atletico say no to Torres, Hernandez|
|Mata buoyed by early form|
|Bruce rues calamitous Huddlestone miss|
|UEFA Europa League Review: Torino mark return with big win, Lyon victorious|
|Southampton win again|
|Jenkinson agrees West Ham loan|
|Tottenham agree Dier move|
|Rincon seals Genoa move|
|Dunne announces international retirement|
|Romulo close to Juve switch|
|Trencin 0 Hull City 0: Huddlestone pays penalty in Hull stalemate|
|Rennes prise Prcic away from Sochaux|
|CSL Preview: Liaoning look for swift response, buoyant R&F visit Henan|
|Pique desperate to regain high standards|
|Marseille agree three-year Stade Velodrome lease|
|Torres will not be leaving, says Mourinho|
|Bastia bring in Brandao|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Guingamp: League and cup winners battle for Trophee des Champions|
|Argentine Primera Division suspended after Grondona death|
|Immobile: Lewandowski is the past, I am the future|
|Rose pens new Tottenham deal|
|CSL Review: Evergrande end Harbin run, Henan edge clear of danger|
|Ivory Coast appoint Renard|
|Three-man shortlist for South Korea post|
|MLS Preview: Sounders aiming to bounce back against Earthquakes|
|Personal reasons behind Evra´s Juve switch|
|Liga MX Preview: Monterrey out to continue winning run|
|J.League Preview: Oenoki begins S-Pulse reign at Tokyo|
|K.League Preview: Jeonbuk face tricky Jeonnam test, Pohang visit Suwon|
|Kakuta loaned to Vallecano|
|Morrison remanded in custody|
|Hernandez coy on United exit|
|Neymar on road to recovery|
|Feyenoord capture Wilkshire and Basacikoglu|
|Yoel makes Valencia switch|
|Heaton extends Burnley deal|
|Lees leaves Leeds for Wednesday|
|Caballero eyes first-team action|
|Newcastle ´monitoring´ Remy, claims Pardew|
|Rodriguez ready to fight for Real place|
|Cavani ´certain´ he will stay with PSG|
|Morrison charged with assaults|
|Copenhagen slam security after fan violence in Kiev|
|Gerrard: Suarez ´too good´ for Arsenal|
|Mourinho explains Lukaku exit|
|Simeone content with Atleti workout|
|Milligan: Australia targeting Asian Cup|
|Ronaldinho rules out retirement|
|Rodgers challenges Henderson|
|Jovetic can be City catalyst - Pellegrini|
|Janko joins Sydney as marquee|
|Deila ´unbelievably disappointed´ with Celtic|
|MLS Review: DC close on Sporting, Red Bulls hold RSL|
|Ecuadorian Primera A Review: Emelec crowned champions|
|Bolivar 1 San Lorenzo 0 (agg 1-5): Visitors advance to maiden Libertadores final|
|Gerrard open to move abroad|
|Lukaku tells Chelsea ´no hard feelings´|
|Zaha eager to impress Van Gaal|
|Liverpool down Man City after shoot-out|
|Atletico fall to Gonzalez´s penalty heroics|
|Glazers offer up 8m United shares|
|Bertrand joins Southampton on loan|
|Van Aanholt features as Sunderland fall to defeat|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Celtic hammered in Warsaw|
|Collison stakes his claim as QPR are held|
|Newcastle youngsters edge to Wednesday win|
|Villa beaten by buoyant Chesterfield|
|Juve held by new boys Cesena|
|Late Drinkwater strike helps Leicester see off Walsall|
|Everton seal club-record Lukaku deal|
|Lazio complete De Vrij capture|
|Fabregas opens account in Chelsea win|
|AFA president Grondona dies aged 82|
|Trezeguet heading for Indian Super League|
|Premier League to introduce vanishing foam|
|Rennes bring in Bruls|
|Kehl steps down as Dortmund captain|
|Capello: I´m staying until 2018|
|Pedro saddened by Fabregas departure|
|Fernandez agrees Porto switch|
|West Ham close on Jenkinson, says Allardyce|
|Donnelly out for three months|
|Chambers: It has been a whirlwind|
|Lukaku drops Chelsea exit hint|
|Mee signs new deal at Burnley|
|Lovren denied United States visa|
|Redknapp admits Fer interest|
|No official Cuadrado bids, insists agent|
|Maguire ready to make step up|
|Rodgers: Liverpool have a strategy in transfer market|
|Ki out to prove himself at Swansea|
|Garcia plays down importance of Real scalp|
|Evian complete Bruno signing|
|Poyet frustrated by lack of new faces|
|Mexes convinced Milan are improving|
|Mazzarri praises Inter attitude|
|Ronaldo could face Manchester United - Ancelotti|
|Tevez thanks fans after father found ´safe and well´|
|Gabi braced to tackle big-spending rivals|
|Shaw: I deserved Van Gaal criticism|
|Morinigo surprised by Gedoz substitution|
|Honduras appoint Medford|
|Van Gaal delighted with United display|
|Roma battle past Real Madrid|
|Simeone talks up Hernandez transfer|
|Defensor Sporting 1 Nacional Asuncion 0 (1-2 agg): Visitors into final despite loss|
|United edge Inter on penalties|
|Gerrard: It´s been ´the worst three months of my life´|
|Sabella set to quit Argentina post|
|Toure plans to see out career with City|
|Tevez´s father released after kidnapping|