Champions League overview: state of play ahead of Matchday Five
The Champions League sparks back into life on Tuesday night, with the first half of the Matchday Five games.
That includes Liverpool’s trip to Sevilla and already-qualified Tottenham Hotspur’s visit to the cauldron of noise that is Signal Iduna Park.
With a host of other huge ties on Wednesday evening, here’s our look at what to expect from a cracking two days of European action…
Group E – Tuesday
Liverpool secured the heaviest ever UCL Group Stage aggregate win in their past two games, seeing off Maribor 10-0 overall – with a 7-0 triumph at Ljudski vrt.
This time around, Jurgen Klopp’s swashbuckling side visit Sevilla in a repeat of the 2016 Europa League Final. The Merseyside club are 17/10 for a fifth win in six outings.
Maribor’s hopes of reaching the knockouts are over, but they could do the group’s top two a favour by taking something off Spartak Moscow at Otkrytiye Arena.
Group F – Tuesday
Victory for Manchester City over visitors Feyenoord would ensure top spot for Pep Guardiola’s men.
The Citizens ran riot in a 4-0 win in Rotterdam on Matchday One, and have won 14 of their past 15 in all competitions. Those fancying a similarly comprehensive win can back the Man City -3 handicap at 6/4.
Napoli may be going strong in Serie A, but it’s a different story on the continent. Only victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday can keep their extremely slim hopes of qualification alive.
The Ukrainians are undefeated in eight games, so don’t bank on it…
Group G – Tuesday
What a difference seven months makes. At this point in April, AS Monaco were knocking Borussia Dortmund out to ensure a place in the Champions League Semi-Finals.
Right now, they’re battling Tuesday’s opponents RB Leipzig for the consolation prize of a Europa League spot.
Surprise group-leaders Besiktas can confirm a place in the Round of 16 by taking just a point at home against FC Porto.
However, with Kara Kartallar having won nine of their last 15 in all competitions, a Besiktas win looks the value bet at 7/4.
Group H – Tuesday
Kudos are definitely due for Tottenham. They’ve qualified with two games to spare, in a group containing holders Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.
Speaking of BvB, they’re Spurs’ opponents on Matchday Five. Mauricio Pochettino’s men won the last meeting 3-1, and a repeat of that scoreline is 25/1.
Los Blancos have lost twice in the past month already, and could have a few nerves heading into their trip to APOEL Nicosia.
Still, Real have won each of their past three meetings with Thrylos by a three-goal margin.
Group A – Wednesday
Manchester United have already qualified with maximum points from the first four games, and need just a point away at Basel to top the group.
The Swiss side currently occupy second spot. The Red Devils will likely field a much-changed side, but are still fancied for victory at 19/20.
In the group’s other game, CSKA Moscow host Benfica. The Russian side are vying for second spot, while Aquias are yet to take a point. Having won 2-1 in Lisbon last time out, a CSKA victory looks likely.
Group B – Wednesday
Paris Saint-Germain have won all four games so far, scoring 17 goals and conceding zero. They host a talented Celtic side looking to pull off a shock in the French capital.
Meanwhile, second-placed Bayern Munich face an Anderlecht side without a point or goal to their name. Der FCB won the reverse fixture 3-0 at the Allianz Arena, and the Bayern -2 handicap here could be popular at 9/5.
Group C – Wednesday
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea walloped Qarabag 6-0 at Stamford Bridge on Matchday One, and will be desperate to bounce back following a 3-0 defeat in Rome in their last UCL game.
That came at the hands of AS Roma, who face 2015 finalists Atletico Madrid. Diego Simeone’s men are enduring a dismal European campaign, without a win in four games.
A point or more for I Giallorossi in the Spanish capital would ensure their progression to the knockout stages.
Group D – Wednesday
This group is finely poised, with each side having a three point margin on the club below them, as it stands. Wednesday night throws up a blockbuster clash between Juventus and Barcelona in Turin.
Blaugrana have won 13 and drawn two of their last 15 games, while Juve have blown hot and cold this term.
In the other encounter, Sporting CP will look to keep their outside chance of a second-placed finish alive against Olympiacos.
The Greek giants are bottom of the group, but will be buoyed by a 0-0 draw against Barca on Matchday Three.
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