Africans to watch in the Champions League

Serge Aurier of Tottenham Hotspur Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Which of Africa's stars could be set to steal the show in the midweek Champions League fixtures?

Serge Aurier: The Tottenham Hotspur new boy has had a mixed start to his career in England after signing from Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the transfer window.

He made a bright introduction after coming on as a substitute in the 0-0 draw against Swansea City at Wembley, but appeared nervy when targeted against West Ham United before being dismissed for a second yellow card after a needless tackle.

Mauricio Pochettino may opt to restore Kieran Trippier to the starting XI for the trip to APOEL Nicosia on Tuesday evening, but the match against the Cypriot heavyweights could be an ideal opportunity for the Aurier to make immediate amends for his misdemeanour at the weekend.

APOEL were comfortably swatted aside by Real Madrid in their opener, and they represent the kind of opponents against whom Aurier could showcase the full breadth of his offensive qualities.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Also in Group H, Borussia Dortmund host Real Madrid in a showdown between two of Europe's genuine giants.

Having lost their opening group-stage clash to Tottenham, BVB can ill afford to fall to another defeat, and Auba will have extra reason to be particularly motivated for this heavyweight clash.

The Gabon frontman has made little secret of his desire to represent Los Merengues - he once promised his grandfather he'd don the famous white strip - but despite incessant summer rumours linking the forward with a move to the Bernabeu, the offer never came and he remained in Dortmund.

Aubameyang is busy putting his disappointment behind him, but may Real regret that decision?

After six matches, they've scored nine goals fewer that Barcelona in La Liga, while Auba already has eight goals in six in the Bundesliga, and is looking every part the Galactico who got away.

Faouzi Ghoulam: Despite the uncertainty of incessant rumours of a move away from Napoli during the summer, Ghoulam has been in fine fettle during the early stages of the season.

The Algeria international was simply outstanding in the 6-0 demolition of Benevento a fortnight ago, and followed that up with a goal and an assist in the 3-2 victory at SPAL this weekend.

In total, he has made five decisive contributions in six Italian top flight outings so far this term, and stands alongside Lorenzo Insigne as the key protagonist in Napoli's perfect start to the season.

However, the Naples giants' fine domestic form deserted them in their UCL opener - a 2-1 defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk - and a home victory against Feyenoord on Tuesday is a must if they're to live up to their billing as potential tournament dark horses.

Seydou Doumbia scored the first goal of the group stage just two minutes into Sporting Lisbon's 3-2 victory at Olympiakos last season, as the Portuguese side demonstrated their cutting edge going forward.

It's something of an unlikely renaissance for the Ivorian forward, who flopped at AS Roma and Newcastle United before rediscovering his goalscoring touch at FC Basel.

He relishes the big occasion - once scoring twice in a Champions League victory for CSKA Moscow at Manchester City in 2014 - and will surely be relishing the opportunity to test himself against Barcelona.

Worryingly for Sporting, they were exposed at the back as Olympiakos rallied in their group opener, but few can argue with their qualities going forward, with Everton now reportedly keen on a January move for Doumbia.

Joel Matip: Liverpool are under pressure heading into their Group E showdown at Spartak Moscow on Tuesday.

Before Saturday evening's victory over Leicester City - three points nabbed despite another underwhelming defensive display - they'd gone four games without a win in all competitions, conceding 10.

Despite now being in his second season at Anfield, Matip is yet to truly show the composure, influence and maturity that he's long hinted at, and in Quincy Promes, Luiz Adriano and Cape Verdean Ze Luis, Spartak have the players who can expose the Reds' uncertain backline.

Having dropped two points at home against Sevilla in their opener - where both Matip and, notably, Dejan Lovren were found wanting - and with the Spaniards hosting Maribor, Jurgen Klopp's side will be desperate not to further lose the initiative in the pool.