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Lothar Matthaus: Five English teams top five Champions League groups, they are now the teams the others need to beat

 

German legend says now, for the first time in quite a few years, any team that wants to win the Champions League HAS to beat the English teams

I AM VERY pleased for the English teams.

I said before the Champions League started that this would be the season when we saw English teams as strong again, although maybe not this strong.

 Cristiano Ronaldo speaks with Harry Kane after the final whistleCristiano Ronaldo speaks with Harry Kane after the final whistle
 Hazard saved Chelsea's skin as they blew a 2-0 lead to go 3-2 down to RomaHazard saved Chelsea’s skin as they blew a 2-0 lead to go 3-2 down to Roma

But what I can say now is that, for the first time in quite a few years, any team that wants to win the Champions League HAS to beat the English teams.

This was the performance of the week for me.

I thought that Spurs would play well at Real but I still expected them to lose.

 Harry Kane and Fernando Llorente celebrate Spurs' goal in the Champions League tie against Real MadridHarry Kane and Fernando Llorente celebrate Spurs’ goal in the Champions League tie against Real Madrid

They really surprised me. They deserved their draw, had chances to win, and showed they are a good and improving team.

It is not easy for any team to play like that at the Bernabeu and it showed what Pochettino has done.

What was even better for them was Dortmund not winning in Cyprus.

If Tottenham and Real are smart, they will draw at Wembley and then both will be through if they win against APOEL.

 Mo Salah and Emre Can enjoyed Liverpool's 7-0 thrashing of MariborMo Salah and Emre Can enjoyed Liverpool’s 7-0 thrashing of Maribor

You cannot do much more than score seven away from home but it was the sort of game, against a really weak team, you have to win.

Liverpool did it well yet they would have expected to win it.

It has got them back on track after two draws. They only have to beat Maribor and Moscow at home – and they would expect to do that – to qualify.

So they are in a good place.

 Manchester City's Raheem Sterling (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal v NapoliManchester City’s Raheem Sterling (right) celebrates scoring his side’s first goal v Napoli

I said at the start of the season that City would be the Premier League side with the best chance of winning the Champions League – and now you can see why.

They are looking like a real Pep Guardiola team, with so many great attacking players.

And they have improved defensively from last season, as they had to.

As far as I’m concerned they are 100 per cent qualified already.

 Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates scoring against Roma with Gary Cahill and Marcos AlonsoEden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates scoring against Roma with Gary Cahill and Marcos Alonso

Something is not quite right with Chelsea.

I thought they would beat Roma and although Italian club football is improving, they haven’t improved that much.

I did say that Edin Dzeko was a big threat and he showed why.

Instead Chelsea were extremely vulnerable and I know Antonio Conte will not have been happy at all.

But it was not all bad news.

Athletic Madrid must have assumed they would beat Qarabag easily and they drew 0-0, which puts Chelsea in an even stronger position.

 Marcus Rashford is congratulated by his Man Utd team-mates after scoring against BenficaMarcus Rashford is congratulated by his Man Utd team-mates after scoring against Benfica

The win in Lisbon was not the best performance by United but it is three wins out of three, without having really played yet.

Mourinho will be happy with that, I’m sure.

Like City, they are already through as far as I’m concerned.

Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/champions-league/4721581/lothar-matthaus-man-city-chelsea-liverpool-tottenham-manchester-united/

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