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There's just one last shot for the top European clubs to get into the knockout rounds of the Champions League. Many of said teams are already through, but there are a few matches that are a lot bigger than others. And all of this comes with a big week of domestic play and the MLS Cup to boot. It's a big, big week for soccer punters.
Benfica vs. Napoli, Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. ET ( ESPN3.com )
Of the 16 teams that are playing on Tuesday in the UCL, six already know they're advancing into the knockout rounds. But in Group B, there's all sorts of chaos still to be determined. We know that at least one of the two of Benfica or Napoli will join that group, but this match will probably determine that. Of course, the best case scenario for both of these teams is for Besiktas to lose to Dynamo Kiev in a match running concurrently, but winning this match wins this group as well, and that could end up being a really big deal when you consider how many of the group winners are really elite teams that would almost surely dismiss either of these clubs who finished second.
Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund, Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET ( ESPN Deportes )
Real Madrid picked up a big point on the road against Barcelona over the weekend, and that gives it a lot of confidence coming into a really important match against Borussia Dortmund. BVB is largely accepted as the second best team in Germany at this point, and it picked up a point when it played against Real Madrid in the first meeting of the year. But this is the game that really matters.
We know these two teams are advancing, but again, there's a big difference between finishing first and second in Group F, and Real knows it. Only three points will do in this match; anything less will relegate Los Blancos to second best.
MLS Cup Final, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET ( FOX )
Seattle and Toronto weren't exactly on the radar at the beginning of the season as potential MLS Cup contenders, and both teams really struggled at the outset of the year as well. But both came on strong at the end of the year and have had fantastic runs to reach the MLS Cup. No matter who wins the MLS Cup on Saturday, we'll have a new first-time champion.
Toronto FC is clearly the favorite in this match, but the Sounders are going to be hungry and are going to be taking some strength from the fact that their fellow Cascadia Cup rivals, the Portland Timbers were able to come to the East Coast against Columbus and win the MLS Cup last season. It's going to be a fantastic match for sure, and this is one that both the United States and Canada can be proud of.
Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur, Sunday, 9:15 a.m. ET ( NBC Sports Network )
This was supposed to be a season in which both Manchester United and Tottenham had a legitimate chance to contend for the EPL title, but it's hard to say that either one has that chance now. Especially the Red Devils have been a disaster at this point, and they have a long way to go in order to get back into the Top 4, let alone anywhere near the title race.
But it's been a frustrating year for the Spurs as well. They're out of the Champions League already and aren't a lock to drop into the Europa League yet either, and amassing just 27 points in 14 matches flat out isn't good enough. The team though, is coming off of a whooping of Swansea City last weekend, and depending upon what happens midweek in the UCL, this could be a big turning point in its season.
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