Champions League Group Stage MD 5 Preview

The penultimate matchday!

Group A

Galatasaray vs. Club Brugge

Galatasaray enter this game knowing that the best they can do is reach the Europa League and a win against Brugge would be a big step in that direction. Brugge can still mathematically reach the next phase but would need Real Madrid to lose their remaining two games and Brugge would need to win both the remaining games. Galatasaray were thrashed in Madrid last time out and have since won 2 and lost 1 as they sit 8th in their league and no where near their best. Brugge have lost 1 and won 1 since losing narrowly to PSG and sit 6 points clear at the top in their league. Istanbul is always a tough trip and while Galatasaray need to win Brugge will know that a 3 points would guarantee them Europa League if nothing else. The reverse fixture was drawn 0-0.

Real Madrid vs. Paris Saint Germain

Real Madrid entertain PSG in Madrid with PSG already through and Madrid knowing that a point would see them through if Brugge lost while a win would guarantee that. Real have won both their games since MD 4 and sit 2nd in La Liga while PSG have also won both their games as they lead Ligue 1. PSG won the reverse fixture 3-0 but Real have hit form in recent weeks and this should not be as simple as before. Real Madrid can still top the group mathematically but they would have to beat PSG and hope PSG lost the next game while a point a more for PSG would see them top the group. 

Group B

Tottenham vs. Olympiacos

Mourinho is back in the Champions League this time with Tottenham as they welcome Olympiacos. Tottenham need to beat Olympiacos to avoid a nervy ending and guarantee progression while Olympiacos can still make the Europa League and win would be a step in the right direction. Tottenham have drawn 1 and won 1 since beating Red Star and sit 10th in the Premier League while Olympiacos have won 1 and drawn 1 as well and sit top of the Greek League. Tottenham can still top the group but Bayern would need to lose both their games while they can still also drop into the Europa League if they lost both their games so a win is the safest bet for Mourinho. The reverse fixture was a 2-2 draw but that was under Poch let’s see how Mourinho does. 

Red Star Belgrade vs. Bayern Munich

Red Star need to win their remaining games and hope Tottenham drop points if they want to reach the knockout stages while a win would guarantee them Europa if Tottenham won. Bayern are through to the next stage and a win would guarantee them top spot in the group. Red Star have drawn 1 and won 2 since MD 4 as they top the Serbian league while Bayern are 3rd in the Bundesliga and have won both their games. Belgrade is a tough place to go to but Bayern are in good form and this should be a win for the Germans. The reverse fixture was a 3-0 win for Bayern. 

Group C

Man City vs. Shakhtar Donetsk

Man City are not guaranteed progression yet but a point or more would be enough. A win for Shakhter could guarantee them a place in the knockout stages if Zagreb lost but if Zagreb win then it goes down to the final day. City have lost 1 and won 1 since MD 4 as they sit 3rd in the Premier League while Shakhter have won both their games and sit top in Ukraine. A tough game for City but they will know a point would be enough while Shakhtar need to win at least guarantee Europa League. City won the reverse fixture 0-3.

Atalanta vs. Dinamo Zagreb

This is a must win game for Atalanta if they want to stand any chance of making the knockout stages or the Europa League. The knockout stages is only possible if Atalanta win and Shakhtar lose while if Shakhtar win then Atalanta would still stand a chance at Europa. Dinamo can still make the knockout stages but they need to at least get a point and hope Atalanta lose but nothing would be guaranteed yet. A win for Dinamo would at least guarantee a Europa League place. Atalanta have drawn 1 and lost 1 while they sit 6th in Serie A while Dinamo have won 1 and drawn 1 as they top the Croatian league. Dinamo won the reverse fixture 4-0 and the pressure is clearly on Atalanta but a must win game for both. 

Group D

Lokomotiv Moskva vs. Bayer Leverkusen

Its all to play for in Group D as Lokomotiv and Bayer are level on points sitting 3rd and 4th respectively but a win for either team would be a step in the right direction and a draw would leave the Europa League as the most realistic option. Circumstances are same for both teams as they need their remaining games and hope Atletico lose both their games if either team once to reach the next round. Lokomotiv have drawn 1 and lost 1 as they sit 2nd in the Russian league while Bayer have won 1 and drawn 1 as they sit 9th in the Bundesliga. A tough game for either team but a must win for both if one of them wants to reach the next round. A win for either team would also not guarantee a place in the Europa League, but if Atletico lose then the losing team would be out of Europa League contention as well. Lokomotiv won the reverse fixture 1-2.

Juventus vs. Atletico Madrid

Juventus are guaranteed a place in the next round but could still finish 2nd while a win for Atletico would guarantee them a place in the next round as well, any other result for the Madrid side and they would need to wait until the final matchday. Juventus have won both their games and sit top of Serie A while Atletico have won 1 and drawn 1 and sit 4th in La Liga. The reverse fixture was a 2-2 draw and that would be enough for Atletico if the other fixture in this group is also a draw. 

Group E

Liverpool vs. Napoli

Ancelotti heads to familiar rivals Liverpool with Napoli as progression is not guaranteed for either teams yet. A draw would be enough for both teams if the other fixture was also a draw or Salzburg lost while a win for Liverpool would guarantee them top spot and progression and a win for Napoli would guarantee both teams progression if Red Bull lost. Liverpool have won their last two games since MD 4 but have already lost in Europe as they sit top of the Premier League while have drawn both their last games and sit 7th in Serie A. Napoli were the team to beat Liverpool in the reverse fixture winning 2-0 and so this should be an interesting game.

Genk vs. Red Bull Salzburg

Genk need to win this game to stand a chance of reaching the Europa League. Red Bull can still make the round of 16 but need to win this game and their last one as well and hope Liverpool and or Napoli drop points. A win for Red Bull would guarantee them a Europa League place. Genk have lost 1 and drawn 1 as they sit 9th in the Belgian league while Salzburg have won 1 and drawn 1 and sit top of the Austrian league. The reverse fixture was a 6-2 win for Salzburg and I can only see one winner in this game. 

Group F

Barcelona vs Borussia Dortmund

The tightest group with three top teams might get a bit clearer after this game. Barcelona top of the group but need to win to guarantee progression while a draw would also be enough if Inter drew or lost. A win would also guarantee Dortmund progression if Inter dropped points but if Inter win then all three positions would need to wait till the final day. Barcelona have won all three of their games but Valverde is under pressure as they top La Liga while Dortmund have lost 1 and drawn 1 and sit 6th in the Bundesliga with Favre under pressure as well. The reverse fixture was a draw but that would not guarantee either team anything. 

Slavia Praha vs. Inter Milan

Inter need to win this game if they want to stand a clear chance of reaching the round of 16 while a draw would still keep hopes alive if Dortmund dropped points as well. A loss would only do if Dortmund lost as well. Slavia can still mathematically reach the knockout phase but they would have to win their remaining games and hope Dortmund and Inter lost both their remaining games. Slavia would move into a Europa League position with a win, but nothing would be guaranteed until the final day. Slavia have won 1 and drawn 1 as they sit top of the Czech league while Inter have won both their games and sit 2nd in Serie A. A tough trip for Conte but a must win for both teams the reverse fixture was a 1-1 draw. 

Group G

Zenit vs. Olympique Lyon

A win for Zenit would guarantee a Europa League place minimum if Benfica lost while anything less would make it a smash and grab final day. A win for Lyon would guarantee them a knockout stage place but anything else would keep it alive until the final day. Zenit have won both their games since MD 4 and sit top of the Russian league while Lyon have lost 1 and won 1 and sit 9th in France. A tough game but a must win one for either team, the reverse fixture was a 1-1 draw.

Red Bull Leipzig vs. Benfica

A win would guarantee progression for Leipzig while a point would also do if Zenit dropped points anything else would make it a nervy ending. Benfica need to win this game and hope Lyon drop points if they want to stand a chance of reaching the knockout phase while a win would keep Europa hopes alive as well. A loss would make it a nervy ending on the final day if Zenit lose as well. Red Bull have won both their games and sit 2nd in the Bundesliga while Benfica have also won both their games and sit 1st in Portugal. The reverse fixture was a 1-2 win for Leipzig and this game will be close as well. 

Group H

Lille vs. Ajax

Lille are basically playing for pride at this point and so Ajax have it all to do. Ajax, Chelsea, and Valencia all have 7 points and a win would guarantee nothing until the final day of the group stage. All that is guaranteed that Europa League will go to one of those three teams. Lille have drawn 1 and lost 1 since MD 4 and sit 10th in Ligue 1 while Ajax have won both their games and sit top of the Eredivisie. The reverse fixture was a 3-0 win and Ajax should win this game as well but it would be tough. 

 

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