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.
|Pochettino to discard three Tottenham players|
|Allardyce: Rooney must wait for captaincy decision|
|Aubameyang: I will only leave Dortmund for Real Madrid|
|Allegri silences questions on Pogba|
|Bruce stands by decision to quit Hull City|
|Pochettino: Not the right time for Argentina job|
|Inter yet to approach De Boer with Mancini exit rumoured|
|Ancelotti trusts me more than Guardiola - Ribery|
|Wijnaldum rejected Everton for Klopp|
|Pre-season Manchester derby cancelled|
|Coutinho excited by ´fast´ Liverpool recruits|
|Cristiano Ronaldo and Conor McGregor step into the ring together|
|Mancini coy on reports linking Icardi to Napoli|
|Nolito reveals why he chose Man City over Barcelona|
|Inter 1 Paris Saint-Germain 3: Icardi absence in defeat fuels Napoli talk|
|MLS Review: Wright-Phillips double inspires Red Bulls to New York derby rout|
|James seeks more game time at Madrid|
|Rooney: I want to be a manager|
|Mignolet welcomes Karius challenge in Liverpool number one battle|
|Batshuayi buoyed by winning vibes at Chelsea|
|Moyes and Sunderland players diverted after plane fault|
|´Loved´ Varane targets long Madrid stay|
|Kostic set for Hamburg medical|
|Leicester crying over Kante sale - Ranieri|
|Schurrle the perfect Mkhitaryan replacement - Tuchel|
|West Ham face anxious wait on Cresswell injury|
|Mourinho will accept criticism from United legends|
|Bertolacci desperate for fresh start after underwhelming first season at Milan|
|Hoops hand Toure one-year deal|
|Origi ready to fight for Liverpool spot|
|Emery wants PSG stay for ´fantastic´ Matuidi|
|No Barcelona offer for Vietto - Cerezo|
|Burnley apologise for racist abuse from supporter|
|Guardiola will not rush Kompany comeback|
|Of course I´ll shake Guardiola´s hand, snaps riled Mourinho|
|Watzke: No more signings for Dortmund|
|Roma expect Manolas to snub Premier League move|
|Adriano set to leave Barcelona for Besiktas|
|Manchester United in worst possible situation - Mourinho|
|Sporting would have to sell stadium to afford Van Persie - Jesus|
|Jonas´ agent confirms Barcelona approach|
|No problem with Mourinho, insists Guardiola ahead of derby in China|
|Toronto´s hat-trick hero Giovinco: I´m back|
|Drogba revels in ´special night´, dedicates hat-trick to family|
|MLS Review: Hat-tricks for Drogba and Giovinco as stars shine|
|Whelan backs Liverpool for top-four finish|
|Pellegrini still waiting for right offer|
|Ronaldo deserves to win Ballon d´Or - Vazquez|
|Phelan wants Hull job|
|Alaba saddened by Gotze exit|
|Morgan: Vardy right to re-sign|
|Maradona ´hurting´ as Higuain closes on Juventus move|
|Moyes watches Sunderland win, Ibe opens account in six-goal Bournemouth thriller|
|Messi cuts short holiday for Barcelona training camp|
|Ranieri still confident of keeping Mahrez|
|Toure to complete Celtic move on Sunday, says Rodgers|
|Vietto sends Simeone a reminder amid Barcelona links|
|Celtic 1 Leicester City 1 (5-6 on penalties): Mahrez magic the highlight as Ranieri´s side triumph i|
|Ribery, Alaba on target in Bayern win|
|Neymar hails Micale ahead of Olympic tilt|
|Ronaldo wants Real Madrid renewal|
|Ochoa joins Granada from Malaga|
|Heidel quashes Meyer to Liverpool as ´nonsense´|
|Scholes challenges Allardyce to change England mentality|
|Tenerife star Crosas investigated for killing endangered shark|
|De Gea: Manchester United can win title under Mourinho|
|Marseille replace Batshuayi with brother Leya Iseka|
|Cristiano Ronaldo: Best season of my career|
|Scholes: Pogba is not worth £100million|
|Gotze has not forgotten how to play football - Riedle|
|Delph learning more than ever under Guardiola|
|Jovetic ´not worried´ about Juventus|
|Allardyce wants Euro 2016 woes to fire his England|
|Giggs not in a rush to take manager´s job|
|Lopetegui: If not for Spain I would be Wolves boss|
|Shaw one of best left-backs in world - Herrera|
|Injured Sanchez to miss Arsenal tour|
|Melbourne Victory 1 Juventus 1 (Melbourne win 4-3 on pens): Thomas inspires Victory as Juve pay pena|
|Janssen: Ajax and PSV were never going to pay as much as Tottenham|
|Bayern to make Munich shooting tributes|
|Wenger wishes luck to old foe Allardyce|
|United defender Varela joins Frankfurt on loan|
|Sunderland appoint Moyes as Allardyce replacement|
|Javi Martinez devastated by Munich shootings|
|Rooney: I´m desperate to play for Mourinho, just like under Ferguson|
|Godin: Champions League the dream, but LaLiga the focus|
|Klopp hails Wijnaldum´s ´football smartness´|
|Klavan ready to fight for starting spot after completing ´dream´ Liverpool move|
|Real Salt Lake 1 San Jose Earthquakes 1: Mulholland salvages point|
|Madeira airport to be named after Cristiano Ronaldo|
|Villar, Ceferin and Van Praag announce UEFA presidential bid|
|Witsel has offers from England and Italy|
|Tuchel will bring out Gotze´s best - Watzke|
|Swansea confirm interest in Liverpool´s Allen|
|Arsenal´s Coquelin: LeBron v Curry is like Messi v Ronaldo|
|Rooney backs Allardyce appointment|
|Bayern and Ancelotti respond to Munich attacks|
|West Brom friendly cancelled over violence concerns|