Tottenham are reportedly investigating a potential move for young Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Piero Hincapie, despite the hefty asking price for the Ecuador international.

Hincapie, 21, is in his second Bundesliga season after arriving from Argentinian side Talleres, and has forced his way into Leverkusen's starting XI, earning 13 starts among his 15 total league appearances this campaign.

He also has 24 senior international caps for Ecuador under his belt, playing every minute of his country's three group stage fixtures at the Qatar World Cup.

Hincapie's emergence has not gone unnoticed, and Leverkusen are said to be informing interested clubs that any sale of their talented youngster will come at a heavy price.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS KICK THE TYRES ON PRIZED LEVERKUSEN DEFENDER

According to the Sun, Spurs boss Antonio Conte is desperate to add a new central defender before the end of the month, but the club were knocked back by a massive £80million price tag.

The report indicates Hincapie would be in favour of a move to the Premier League, and to Tottenham specifically, but that it would be far more likely to occur at the end of the season.

Interestingly, the Sun believes Leverkusen would be open to accepting as little as £20m if it meant Hincapie could spend the rest of the season on loan with the German side, but with his contract tying him to Leverkusen until 2026, it is hard to believe they would budge so significantly from their lofty valuation.

It also mentions Tottenham's pursuit of Sporting right-back Pedro Porro is on the verge of falling through, but Portuguese publication Record is reporting that a verbal agreement is in place for a £42m (€48m) deal.

 

ROUND-UP

– GiveMeSport are reporting Chelsea will make a run at 23-year-old Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic at the end of the season, while Calciomercato adds Juventus are anticipating the Serbian's departure and will seek to replace him with 25-year-old Atalanta forward Ademola Lookman.

– According to Sport, Barcelona are focusing on 25-year-old Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves as their long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets after failing to land Real Sociedad talent Martin Zubimendi.

Manchester United believe they are priced out of the Harry Kane sweepstakes, per the Daily Star.

– Mail on Sunday are reporting Arsenal have returned with a second offer for 21-year-old Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Moises Caicedo, but their £70m bid is still below the £80m demand.

– The Telegraph adds that the outcome of Arsenal's push for Caicedo will not affect their desire to sign West Ham midfielder Declan Rice after the season, and they will try to secure both.

Premier League leaders Arsenal appear destined to miss out on their long-term target Mykhaylo Mudryk.

The Gunners had reportedly made several bids for the Shakhtar Donetsk winger, but he now seems set to join Chelsea after they began talks on a fee with the Ukrainian club.

As a result, Arsenal will need to turn their attention elsewhere during the January transfer window to bolster their squad.

TOP STORY – GUNNERS SWITCH ATTENTION TO BARCELONA'S RAPHINHA

Arsenal have turned to Barcelona's Brazilian winger Raphinha having missed out on Mudryk, claims Sportitalia.

The former Leeds United winger only joined Barcelona in July on a five-year contract, but has made only 12 starts from 22 overall appearances for the Blaugrana.

The Gunners hope that Raphinha would be a suitable candidate to return to England, given his previous Premier League experience.

 

ROUND-UP

– Fabrizio Romano claims Mykhaylo Mudryk will be at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea's game with Crystal Palace on Sunday after medical tests, having signed pre-contracts on a move to the Blues from Shakhtar Donetsk, warding off Arsenal's interest.

Chelsea have also lodged a €30million (£26.5m) offer for PSV winger Noni Madueke, according to ESPN. The 20-year-old England youth international moved to the Eredivisie from Tottenham in 2018.

Crystal Palace are set to launch a new bid to sign Conor Gallagher from Chelsea, claims The Sun on Sunday. Gallagher enjoyed a bright loan spell at Selhurst Park last season and has fallen down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.

Memphis Depay will exit Barcelona in January, according to Fabrizio Romano. Talks are ongoing with Atletico Madrid, whom the Dutchman is open to joining.

Tottenham are readying a £20m (€22.5m) move for Bayer Leverkusen's Ecuadorian defender Piero Hincapie, reports The Sun on Sunday.

– Football Insider has suggested that Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita will leave the club on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of this season.

Benfica will reportedly hold out for Enzo Fernandez's full €120million release clause just six months after signing him for €10million from River Plate.

Fernandez, 21, has become one of the hottest names in football since arriving at Benfica, helping his side to an undefeated group stage in the Champions League before earning his place in Argentina's World Cup squad.

After starting the group stage on the bench, Fernandez worked his way into the starting XI for the final group match against Poland, before playing every minute of Argentina's run through the knockout stages.

His rapid rise saw Fernandez become a target of both Real Madrid and Liverpool, and despite earlier reports that he would be available for €100m, the Portuguese club will now seemingly not settle for anything less than his release clause.

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL, MADRID TOLD TO MEET €120M RELEASE CLAUSE FOR FERNANDEZ

Portuguese publication Record is reporting the €100million bid Benfica rejected came from Liverpool, with an earlier Daily Mirror story claiming the Reds had reached a pre-agreement with Fernandez on personal terms.

Liverpool have made no secret of their desire for a new midfielder, but it remains to be seen if the extra €20million to meet the release clause will be a deal-breaker.

Meanwhile, Madrid appear to be looking elsewhere, with a fresh report from AS stating they are in the driver's seat in the chase for Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham, and that they view 24-year-old Juventus midfielder Manuel Locatelli as a reliable back-up plan if they land neither Fernandez or Bellingham.

ROUND-UP

Chelsea have agreed to a £10.5million signing of 20-year-old forward David Datro Fofana from Norwegian club Molde, per Fabrizio Romano.

– According to Repubblica, Arsenal are interested in signing 27-year-old Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot on a free transfer at the end of the season.

– The Evening Standard is reporting Fulham, Villarreal and Bayer Leverkusen are considering January moves for Arsenal full-back Cedric Soares.

– The Evening Standard is also reporting Crystal Palace would like to bring right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka back to the club, three years after selling him to Manchester United.

– According to Sport, Barcelona will look to move on from Raphinha at the end of the season if he does not make himself a key part of Xavi's plans.

Milan's Portuguese forward Rafael Leao will be a key player of interest in the January transfer window.

The 23-year-old helped Milan clinched the Italian Serie A title last term, netting 11 goals for the Rossoneri.

According to reports, Leao is unwilling to pen a contract extension with Milan, who failed to meet his demands.

 

TOP STORY - CHELSEA GET JUMP IN RAFAEL LEAO CHASE

Chelsea have emerged as the frontrunners in the hotly contested pursuit of Milan forward Rafael Leao, claims GiveMeSport's Dean Jones.

Leao enters the final 18 months of his Milan contract in January, with interest also reportedly coming from Real Madrid and Manchester City.

Milan may be willing to let the Portuguese depart in January if they cannot convince him to sign a new deal, rating him at £86million (€100m).

 

ROUND-UP

Chelsea's planned mid-year move for RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku will not be brought forward to January despite a season-ending ACL injury for Armando Broja, reports Fabrizio Romano.

– CBS's Ben Jacobs claims Dusan Vlahovic exiting Juventus in 2023 is a "very real possibility", including a possible January move, with Chelsea among the clubs in contact with the Serbian's representatives.

Real Madrid have joined the race for Netherlands international Cody Gakpo, claims AS. Manchester United are also interested in the PSV forward, who was pursued by Leeds United in the last transfer window.

– ESPN claims Manchester United will enquire with Benfica about the status of Portugal striker Goncalo Ramos, who netted a hat-trick against Switzerland at the World Cup.

Bayer Leverkusen are interested in signing West Ham full-back Vladimir Coufal, claims Sky Sports. The Czech, who is contracted until 2024 with the option of another year, also has interest from two other Premier League clubs.

Real Madrid are long-term admirers of Bruno Fernandes, dating back to his time with Sporting CP.

The 28-year-old midfielder impressed with both goals in Portugal's 2-0 win over Uruguay at the World Cup on Monday.

Fernandes signed a new contract with Manchester United in April, keeping him at Old Trafford until 2026 with the option of a further year.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID CONSIDER JANUARY MOVE FOR FERNANDES

Spanish giants Real Madrid could try to tempt Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes to the club in January or at the end of the season, reports The Express.

Los Blancos' long-held interest in Fernandes has intensified amid his impressive displays at the World Cup.

Portuguese outlet Record claims that Madrid are scouting Fernandes while he plays for the national team.

The Express report says that the lure of Champions League football may tempt Fernandes should United miss the top four this season.

 

ROUND-UP

Cristiano Ronaldo is close to agreeing to a deal with Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr, according to Marca. The Telegraph had reported that the deal was worth £150million per season, although The Sun has claimed that the ex-Manchester United star still wants to play Champions League football and has not accepted the offer.

Gareth Bale's LAFC contract has a break clause that could see him leave the club prior to the new MLS season in February 2023, according to The Sun. The Mirror claims the Welshman will make a decision on his future by February.

– The Mirror claims that Manchester United are bullish about retaining Marcus Rashford's services, with the striker out of contract at the end of this season. United will exercise an option to extend his deal by another 12 months in January.

Manchester United have made Bayer Leverkusen defender Jeremie Frimpong their top transfer target in January, reports the Daily Mail. United have sent scouts to watch the Dutch defender, with a view to ramping up talks after the World Cup.

– Inter expect €30m for Tottenham-target Denzel Dumfries, according to Tuttosport. The Nerazzurri are willing to sell the Dutch right-back in January.

– The Times reports Brighton and Hove Albion's Scottish midfielder Billy Gilmour could join Spanish club Villarreal in January.

PSV's Cody Gakpo has become one of the early breakout stars at the World Cup, and will reportedly be courted by some of the world's biggest clubs in January.

Gakpo, 23, has spent his entire career with PSV after arriving at their youth academy back in 2007, and has risen through the ranks to become one of the Netherlands' top attacking options.

He has racked up nine goals and 12 assists in his side's first 14 Eredivisie fixtures, and has started his World Cup campaign with goals in each of the first two group stage matches against Senegal and Ecuador.

Having been linked to Leeds United before the season, he reportedly opted to remain with PSV to secure a move to an even bigger club – and now Champions League teams are said to be calling.


TOP STORY – EUROPEAN POWERHOUSES SET SIGHTS ON GAKPO

According to Dutch journalist Marco Timmer, the clubs who will make an attempt to sign the Dutch talent include Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester United.

Having previously said he would be happy to remain in the Netherlands until the end of the season before exploring a move to the Premier League, Gakpo's value is said to have soared past the £50million mark.

There were reports early in the season that PSV's financial situation would force them to accept any further bids around £30m, so if a team with deep pockets comes with a serious offer in January, it will likely be hard to turn down.
 

ROUND-UP

– According to Fichajes, United have added 23-year-old Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby to their list of forward targets. 

– 90min is reporting Milan are considering another bid for Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech in January after testing the waters in the previous transfer window.

Memphis Depay could return to former club United in January as Barcelona are considering terminating the 28-year-old's contract to get him off their books.

– According to Sky Sports Germany, United are not considered a realistic destination for Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham.

– CBS is reporting multiple Premier League clubs, including Everton, Leeds and West Ham, are interested in 26-year-old Senegal forward Boulaye Dia, with the Villarreal-contracted player scoring against Qatar on Friday.

Liverpool are reportedly the favourites to land prized Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham after rumours that Real Madrid are not willing to meet the €150million asking price.

Bellingham, 19, has emerged as one of the top prospects in world football, scoring in four consecutive games to begin his side's Champions League campaign this season, including one against Manchester City.

Already with 17 caps for England, Bellingham is expected to play a major role at the World Cup and a virtuoso performance could sway some of the world's biggest clubs into bidding what would be a world-record fee for an Englishman.

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID SCOFF AT BELLINGHAM ASKING PRICE, LEAVING DOOR AJAR FOR LIVERPOOL

According to a report from Sport, Bellingham is Real Madrid's priority signing at the end of the season, but they have no intention of meeting Dortmund's initial valuation.

Madrid are said to be Bellingham's preference as well, and the club will try to negotiate the final price down to what they deem a more acceptable figure.

Liverpool have no qualms with what would be a club-record signing, and previous reports claim Manchester United also feel they are in with a chance once they get Cristiano Ronaldo's contract off their books.

ROUND-UP

- According to Mundo Deportivo, Paris Saint-Germain have been in communication with Milan's Rafael Leao, although they have not been able to agree on personal terms yet.

- Calciomercato is reporting Leicester City have joined Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen in the chase for 28-year-old Inter left-back Robin Gosens.

- MLS teams may be able to afford Cristiano Ronaldo after the league agreed to a $250m television rights deal with Apple TV, per iNews.

- Mundo Deportivo is reporting Atletico Madrid have strong interest in Braga forward Abel Ruiz, and wish to bring him to the club in a loan deal in January that includes a compulsory buy-clause.

- According to El Observador, 20-year-old Uruguayan talent Facundo Pellistri could leave Manchester United in January in search of first-team football.

Tottenham are reportedly interested in Sporting right-back Pedro Porro, and could launch a move as soon as January for the Spain international.

Porro, 23, was identified by Manchester City back in 2019, when they purchased him for £11million from LaLiga's Girona.

He never played a game for the Premier League champions, spending a season on loan with Real Valladolid before two further campaigns on loan to Sporting, with the Portuguese club eventually agreeing to make his move permanent earlier this year for £7m.

That has proven to be a masterstroke, as he has contributed four assists in 10 Primeira Liga games, and apparently caught the eye of Antonio Conte when starting in a 2-0 home Champions League victory over Spurs.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS PREPARE JANUARY BID FOR SPORTING RIGHT-BACK

According to Portugal's Jornal de Noticias, Tottenham are joined by Spanish giants Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in the chase for Porro, who made his senior international debut for Spain last year.

He remains under contract with Sporting until 2025, but reportedly has a €45m release clause that could force their hand.

Currently 12 points adrift of Primeira Liga leaders Benfica, Sporting may choose to ride out the rest of the season with their breakthrough talent, but the report claims they will listen to offers "close to" Porro's release clause in January.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Sport, Barcelona are investigating a potential move for 20-year-old centre-back Josko Gvardiol, who RB Leipzig reportedly rejected a €90m bid for in the offseason from Chelsea.

- The Guardian report that Liverpool and Juventus are monitoring Chelsea's Mason Mount as the 23-year-old's contract negotiations continue to stall.

- Football Insider believes Borussia Dortmund may be open to a January move from Liverpool for Jude Bellingham.

- According to The Athletic, Shakhtar Donetsk are demanding €100m for 21-year-old Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal and City target Mykhailo Mudryk.

- ESPN is reporting Fulham, Bayer Leverkusen and Villarreal will make a run at 31-year-old Arsenal full-back Cedric Soares in January.

Barcelona will face Manchester United in their return to the Europa League after the Blaugrana were drawn against the Premier League club in the knockout round play-offs.

Xavi's side dropped into Europe's second-tier competition for the second season running after failing to progress from the Champions League group stages, finishing behind Bayern Munich and Inter.

It sets up the outstanding tie with Erik ten Hag's United, who are looking to end a trophy drought stretching back to when they last won the Europa League under Jose Mourinho in 2017.

United came second to Real Sociedad in the Europa League group stage, ultimately missing out to La Real by one goal.

They have paid the price for their failure in that regard, with Barca arguably the toughest draw they could possibly get and La Real already through to the competition's last 16.

Joining Barca in dropping down from the Champions League are Juventus, though they will likely be much more content with their draw after being paired with Ligue 1 side Nantes.

Europa League knockout round play-offs:

Barcelona v Manchester United
Juventus v Nantes
Sporting CP v Midtjylland
Shakhtar Donetsk v Rennes
Ajax v Union Berlin
Bayer Leverkusen v Monaco
Sevilla v PSV
Salzburg v Roma

Bayer Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso has hailed his side for an "important" victory against Union Berlin on Sunday, after smashing five past Union Berlin.

The Spaniard's side faced a tough test against Union at BayArena, with the visitors knowing a victory would see them reclaim top spot in the Bundesliga ahead of Bayern Munich.

After a goalless first half, Robert Andrich broke the deadlock a minute after the restart to spark a frantic second period, with a brace from Moussa Diaby followed by efforts from Adam Hlozek and Mitchel Bakker.

The win was the joint-highest win for a Bundesliga side against a league leader this millennium, equalling the score achieved by Bayern against Borussia Dortmund in April 2019.

Crucially for the hosts, it also brought an end to a six-match winless streak across all competitions and marked only the third league win for Leverkusen this season, leading Alonso to praise his side's performance.

"The first half was very close, neither side had many chances and it wasn't easy to attack. Union are standing so high in the table for a reason," he said in the post-match press conference.

"In the second half we wanted to stay focused. We had more spaces, our fast players could run deep and were very good at finishing. We are very happy today.

"Today was important. We want to continue in the same way. We always need that mentality to attack and score goals, to stay hungry.

"The 2-0 made the big difference. We defended going forward, the pressure from Jeremie Frimpong was good. That's the mentality we want to have."

Alonso's side now have two Bundesliga matches against Koln and Stuttgart before the World Cup in Qatar, with the league campaign set to resume on January 22.

Liverpool's search for midfield reinforcements has reportedly led them to RB Leipzig's Konrad Laimer – and a move could come as soon as January.

Laimer, 25, enjoyed a career-best season in his last Bundesliga campaign, netting four goals and contributing four assists despite starting in just 15 of the 26 league games in which he featured.

This season, the man with 24 senior international appearances for Austria has started every Bundesliga and Champions League game he has been available for, although a high-ankle sprain has kept him out for six weeks now, and he may not return until January.

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL LOOK TO INJURED LEIPZIG MIDFIELDER FOR REINFORCEMENTS

According to Sky Sport Germany, Liverpool are considering going for Laimer in January, six months before the end of his contract with Leipzig.

Laimer is hoping to return from his injury in January, and there could also be interest from Bayern Munich, who sized him up in the last transfer window.

Regardless of what happens with Laimer and the January window, Sky Germany reports Liverpool are planning "significant investment" into their squad at the end of the season.

ROUND-UP

– Football Insider is claiming 32-year-old Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will leave the club on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Manchester United are looking at Bayer Leverkusen's Jeremie Frimpong, 21, and Norwich's Max Aarons, 22, to compete with Diogo Dalot for their starting right-back role, per The Sun.

– According to The Sun, Arsenal sent scouts to Brazil to watch 21-year-old Palmeiras midfielder Danilo, whom they are interested in making a move for in January.

– GiveMeSport is reporting Manchester United still have interest in PSV's Cody Gakpo, with recent reports claiming the Dutch club's financial position could prompt them to accept a bid in the range of £30million.

Bayer Leverkusen have made Inter left-back Robin Gosens their primary target, with the 28-year-old also attracting interest from Eintracht Frankfurt and Wolfsburg, according to Sky Sport Germany's Florian Plettenberg.

Yannick Carrasco missed a last-gasp penalty as Atletico Madrid crashed out of the Champions League following a 2-2 draw with Bayer Leverkusen, who were also eliminated.

Requiring victory to maintain any hopes of progressing from Group B, Diego Simeone's side twice came from behind as Carrasco and Rodrigo de Paul cancelled out efforts from Moussa Diaby and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

There was late drama at the Wanda Metropolitano, where Clement Turpin had initially blown the full-time whistle before VAR penalised Piero Hincapie for handball in the box.

However, Carrasco was denied by Lukas Hradecky as Atletico bowed out at the group stage for the first time in five years.

Callum Hudson-Odoi is happy to be playing with a smile on his face once again at loan club Bayer Leverkusen after feeling left with little choice but to leave Chelsea.

The 21-year-old moved to Leverkusen in August for the duration of the 2022-23 campaign after making just 11 Premier League starts under Thomas Tuchel last season.

Hudson-Odoi has already started eight matches for Leverkusen in the Bundesliga and Champions League, operating predominantly as a left-sided attacker.

That is the three-cap England international's preferred position, though he often found himself filling in as a wing-back last term in a move that ultimately left him disillusioned.

"You're not a natural-born wing-back, are you?" Hudson-Odoi reflected on a conversation he held with Tuchel, who has since been replaced by Graham Potter.

"Definitely not! At times, it was okay. But sometimes in my head, I'm thinking, 'What am I doing, why am I in this position? I'm more defending than attacking'. 

"No matter where I was playing, I was always trying to do my best and help the team – it's not always about myself. I never argued; I just got on with it."

Hudson-Odoi added in his interview with The Athletic his comments were not intended as a criticism of Tuchel, but more a frustration of his past couple of seasons at Chelsea.

"With so many great players in the team, you have to fight for your position and work your hardest," he said. "It was difficult but you have to get on with it and do what you can.

"My mindset was, 'I have to get out of there'. Not in a rude way, as in I don't like the club or I don't want to be at the club, I don't like the club. Nothing like that. 

"But I needed to play football somewhere new. Start afresh. Try the best I can wherever I am. And then go back to Chelsea at the end of the loan."

Hudson-Odoi has yet to score in his 10 appearances for Leverkusen, though he has assisted one goal and only Moussa Diaby (21) has created more than his 15 chances.

Leverkusen are just one point above the Bundesliga relegation zone after a poor start to the campaign that saw Gerardo Seoane replaced by Xabi Alonso.

Regardless of their disappointing form, Hudson-Odoi is glad to be playing more regular football in the German top flight. 

"The results haven't been the greatest but I think experience-wise, it's been very good," he said.

"I'm enjoying my football, smiling every day. And the boys have helped me settle in quick. I feel at home here."

Tottenham forward Son Heung-min is reportedly looking towards his "next career step", with Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti said to have a keen interest.

Son tied with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah for the Premier League's Golden Boot after a career-best 23 goals last season and was the only player with more than 16 goals to not take a penalty.

It was the sixth Premier League season in a row Son has tallied at least 11 goals, and despite the South Korean's slow start to this campaign, he has shown his class in spurts, including a hat-trick off the bench against Leicester City and an important brace in a 3-2 Champions League win against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Tottenham sit in third place, five points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal, but if Son does not believe he can realistically win silverware with the club, the 30-year-old may view a move to a Champions League stalwart as now or never.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID KEEPING A CLOSE EYE ON SPURS' SON

According to Sport1, Ancelotti is monitoring Son's situation closely, however his contract situation gives Tottenham all the leverage as he is tied to the club until 2025.

The report claims there is also interest from world powerhouses Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich, and that an impressive performance in the World Cup – where South Korea will play Uruguay, Ghana and Portugal in the group stage – could see a club spurred into action in January.

Bild is reporting Bayern will not have an active January window, which would rule them out for the immediate future as any serious bid for the Tottenham star would need to be substantial.

However, with Tottenham desperate to retain the services of Antonio Conte – who the Times reported as saying he needs three more transfer windows to build the necessary depth at the club – selling one of his top players would be a step in the wrong direction.

 

ROUND-UP

– Ser Deportivos is reporting Real Madrid have offered an improved contract to Marco Asensio amid speculation that he may head to the Premier League when his contract expires after this season.

– According to O Jogo, Liverpool and Manchester United are both interested in 18-year-old Benfica centre-back Antonio Silva.

Arsenal are preparing an offer for 27-year-old Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic that is believed to be worth in the range of €50m, with their bid also including Albert Sambi Lokonga in a player exchange, per Calciomercato.

– Sport is reporting Barcelona view 25-year-old Ajax player Edson Alvarez as a potential successor to Sergio Busquets in the centre of midfield, although the Dutch giants supposedly rejected a €50m offer from Chelsea in the previous transfer window.

– According to The Mirror, Manchester United are eyeing Lille's Jonathan David, Lyon's Moussa Dembele or Bayer Leverkusen's Patrick Schick as potential replacements for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Inter have a chance to become the first Italian side to ever beat Barcelona twice in a Champions League campaign when they meet at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Club Brugge are on the brink of their first trip to the knockout stages as they play Atletico Madrid.

Mohamed Salah can make history with one more Champions League goal for Liverpool on their trip to Scotland to take on Rangers, and Bayern Munich are one win away from their own record as they try to win an 11th consecutive group stage match.

Tottenham will look to break out of a scoring slump when they host Eintracht Frankfurt, while Porto and Bayer Leverkusen are battling it out in Group B.

With plenty of important matchups, Stats Perform has parsed through the data to preview the eight fixtures on Wednesday and shine a light on some of the more interesting angles.

Barcelona v Inter

Inter's 1-0 victory against Barcelona at San Siro last week was their first triumph over the Spanish giants since April 2010, with Barca collecting four wins and one draw since.

With another win, Inter can become the first Italian side to ever beat Barcelona twice in the same Champions League campaign, although they have lost all five of their away fixtures at Camp Nou – their most losses at any away venue in the competition.

In fact, Camp Nou has not been a happy hunting ground for Italian sides in general, with a 3-0 victory for Juventus in 2020 marking the country's only win at the venue in the last 17 tries (L13 D3).

It is not just Barcelona who have given Inter trouble on away days, with their last away win in the Champions League against a Spanish opponent coming back in 2004 against Valencia.

Working in Inter's favour is road warrior Lautaro Martinez, who has scored six of his seven Champions League goals away from home.

Tottenham v Eintracht Frankfurt

After banking four consecutive wins against Borussia Dortmund between 2017 and 2019, Tottenham are now winless in their past five Champions League fixtures against German sides (D1 L4).

On the other side, Eintracht have enjoyed success when travelling to England in European competition, winning both of their previous two attempts – against Arsenal in 2019, and West Ham in April this year – in the Europa League.

However, this is a clear step up from the Europa League, and after winning their first ever Champions League away game last month (1-0 at Marseille), Frankfurt will be looking to become the only German team to ever win their first two away fixtures in the competition.

The 0-0 draw between these two sides in Frankfurt a week ago was the second consecutive Champions League game where Tottenham have failed to score a goal – also losing 2-0 to Sporting. The last time they went three games in the competition without scoring was back in 2011.

Striker Harry Kane will be key, as he boasts the best minutes-per-goal figure – 20 goals in 27 appearances for a goal every 118 minutes – of any English player with at least 10 goals in the Champions League.

Atletico Madrid v Club Brugge

Not many, if any, would have tipped Club Brugge to top Group B ahead of Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Porto, but they have defeated all three to lead with a perfect nine points and zero goals conceded.

One more win for Brugge would see them progress past the group stage for the first time, in their 10th Champions League campaign. By defeating Atletico, they would become the first Belgian side since Anderlecht in 2000 to win four games in a row in the competition.

Brugge are also one goal away from matching their highest goal tally from a single Champions League campaign, with eight goals in 2020-21.

Surprisingly, Atletico have struggled at home in the Champions League, snapping a streak of eight games without a win (D5 L3) by defeating Porto this season.

Brugge's Ferran Jutgla has registered a goal and an assist in each of his past two Champions League games, and if he can manage to do it again, he will join Robert Lewandowski and Leroy Sane as the only players since 2003-04 to have a goal and an assist in three straight games in the competition.

Bayer Leverkusen v Porto

With Brugge seemingly cruising, Porto, Leverkusen and Atletico are likely fighting it out for one automatic qualification spot, and Leverkusen will feel good about their chances as Porto are winless in their last seven away games against German teams (D2 L5).

After defeating Atletico at home on the second matchday, Leverkusen will be looking to win consecutive Champions League home fixtures in the same campaign for the first time since 2014.

Patrick Schick is Leverkusen's focal point going forward, attempting more than twice as many shots (12) as any of his team-mates this Champions League season, but he is yet to score, having missed a penalty against Porto in last week's 2-0 loss.

Porto's Mehdi Taremi assisted both goals in the reverse fixture, marking the first time he has been involved in multiple goals in a Champions League game, while the sending-off of Jeremie Frimpong gave Leverkusen their 11th red card in their history in the competition, trailing only Bayern Munich (21) amongst German sides.

Other fixtures:

Napoli v Ajax

5 – Napoli beat Ajax 6-1 in the reverse fixture at Johan Cruyff Arena, with the five-goal margin marking the heaviest defeat Ajax have ever suffered in European competition.

10 – With one more win, Napoli would become the fourth Italian club to ever mount a 10-game unbeaten streak in the Champions League, with six wins and three draws from their past nine fixtures.

Rangers v Liverpool

5 – Rangers have failed to score in their past five European games against English competition, including a 2-0 loss against Liverpool last week.

35 – Mohamed Salah has scored 35 Champions League goals for Liverpool – only Didier Droga (36 for Chelsea) and Sergio Aguero (36 for Manchester City) have scored more for a single Premier League club in the competition.

Sporting v Marseille

9 – Marseille have lost their past nine away fixtures in the Champions League, and with one more loss they would become the sixth team to ever post 10 consecutive away defeats in the competition, and the first from France.

18 – It has been 18 years since Sporting lost a home fixture against a French side in European competition, with that loss coming against Sochaux in the 2004 UEFA Cup.

Viktoria Plzen v Bayern Munich

31 – Bayern Munich are undefeated in their past 31 Champions League group stage matches (28W 3D) – which is an all-time high – and with one more win they will set the new record for consecutive group stage wins with 11.

32 – Viktoria Plzen have faced 32 shots on target in their first three games of this Champions League campaign – more than any other side. In the reverse fixture, Bayern had 13 shots on target.

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