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Another week is here in the world of soccer, and all eyes are going to be on the club game during the middle of the week and into the weekend. Europe's version of the NFL playoffs continue with the fourth match day of group stage play in the Champions League, but maybe more notable for American soccer fans are the MLS Cup Playoffs. Four teams will be dropped from the tournament, and the Final Four will be set on Sunday with what should be four fantastic matches.
Manchester City vs. Barcelona, Tuesday, 3:45 p.m. ET ( FOX Sports 1 )
It's not that this match is really the most important in the UCL this week, but it's certainly one where emotions are going to be running high. Manchester City is out to prove that it's got a championship contender this season, but as poor as it looked against Barcelona on the road a few weeks ago in a 4-0 loss certainly did nothing to help that.
Man City is probably going to find itself on the wrong side of the cut line for the knockout rounds if it loses this match, albeit temporarily before the second matches with the minnows of Group C come up. Getting at least a point from this match though, will at least give the Citizens some belief that indeed, they can play with the best in the world.
Tottenham vs. Bayer Leverkusen, Wednesday, 3:45 p.m. ET ( FOX Sports 1 )
There aren't many twists and turns left along the way in the Champions League group stage, and there really aren't any shocking teams that are going to make their way through to the last 16 in much of the table. That said, Tottenham is hoping that holds firm over the course of the next few weeks, and a match against Beyer Leverkusen is going to really decide that one way or the other.
The Spurs are a point up on a Leverkusen side which has three draws to show for its work in three matches in the UCL, and if there's a winner, that team will have a real inside track to finish no worse than second in Group E.
Keep an eye on the Monaco/CSKA Moscow match running concurrently, as the results of that match could make this one all the more important depending upon how it goes.
Arsenal vs. Tottenham, Sunday, 7 a.m. ET ( NBC Sports Network )
A big week for the Spurs, indeed! These two London sides hate each other, and Arsenal takes pleasure every year in getting points from these fixtures and ultimately finishing in front of the Spurs. Even if you're not a soccer fan, this is a match you're not going to want to miss. Think Ravens vs. Steelers in the NFL. That's what this one means to these two teams.
And, with just three points separating the Tottenham from the Gunners, you can bet that the results of this match are going to be crucially important as we head towards the halfway point of the season.
MLS Cup Playoffs, Sunday 2 p.m. – 9 p.m. ( ESPN and FOX Sports 1 )
Home field advantage is a real thing in the MLS, and we saw that play out last Sunday in the first round of the home-and-home series. The four road teams finished first and second in their respective conferences, and they all played against teams that finished either third or fourth.
The end results for the "better teams?" Losses of 1-0, 1-0, 2-0 and 3-0.
The affairs aren't over yet though, as the four sides that are ahead all have to turn around and go on the road for the last 90 minutes of the tie. You can bet that New York, Colorado, New York City FC and FC Dallas are going to have something to say about their respective deficits to what we listed off earlier, but there are going to be a lot of fans in those stadiums who are really puckering if their team concedes an away goal that could prove to be decisive.
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