Champions League: Match-day six-day two pits Spurs away to Bayern

first_img Tags: Atalantachampions leagueDinamo ZagrebMan City Shakhter Donetsk vs AtalantaOblasny SportKomplex, KharkivWednesday, 11-12-2019 @8:55pmReferee: Felix Zwayer (Ger)Shakhtar Donetsk have been in fine form lately and now host Atalanta hoping to confirm it with a ticket to the Champions League knockout stages, sitting 2nd after five games played with both Dinamo Zagreb and the Italian rivals breathing down their necks ahead of the decision day.Miners beat Olimpik Donetsk (3-0) on Friday and built on their seven-match unbeaten run, where they also held Dinamo Zagreb (3-3) and Man City (1-1) to exciting draws on the road. Luis Castro will now want to capitalize and we expect his men very motivated to do so, with rock-solid home records to build on as well.However, Atalanta come into the match in a great mood as well, having finally gained consistency and connecting a three-match winning streak across competitions since late November. They beat Dinamo (2-0) at San Siro and came within points of a top 2 spot, which will have them just as confident now.La Dea beat Brescia (0-3) and Hellas Verona (3-2) in two high-scoring Serie A clashes since then as well, with goals coming from all directions. They have struggled for great consistency on the road through most part of the campaign but still kept scoring goals, which promises a great challenge at Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist.Shakhtar bagged four wins and three draws in their last seven outings across competitions. Atalanta beat Hellas Verona (3-2) to extend their three-match winning streak. Miners snatched the points in Italy as they beat Atalanta (1-2) with a last-gasp winner from Manor SolomonDinamo Zagreb vs Man CityStadion Maksimir, ZagrebWednesday, 11-12-2019 @8:55pmReferee: Carlos Del Cerro (Spa)John Stones has been ruled out of Manchester City’s Champions League clash with Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday. The England defender did not train with the squad on Tuesday morning and was not included in the squad to travel to Croatia later in the day. Youngsters Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis have joined Nicolas Otamendi, now City’s only fit senior central defender, in the squad.The hosts only have one injury concern in the shape of Sandro Kulenovic, who is not expected to return to action from a broken foot until next month.This will be only the second competitive meeting between Dinamo Zagreb and Manchester City, after the Citizens won the first 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium in October. Dinamo Zagreb have only won one of their five Champions League meetings with English sides (D1 L3), a 2-1 win at home to Arsenal in September 2015. Manchester City have lost just one of their last 14 Champions League matches (W10 D3 L1), losing away to Spurs in last season’s quarter-final (1st leg). Man City will finish top of their group for the fourth time in their last five participations in the Champions League, including in each of the last three seasons. After finishing 1st in their group in those campaigns, the Citizens reached at least the quarter-final stage on each previous occasion. Dinamo Zagreb have picked up five points in this season’s Champions League – only in 1998-99 (8 pts) have they won more in a single group stage in the competition (incl. group stage 1st). They have never made the knockout stage of the Champions League.PSG vs GalatasaryParc des Princes, ParisWednesday, 11-12-2019 @11pmReferee: Istvan Kovacs (Rom)Galatasaray need to turn the form book upside down if they are to extend their European campaign into the new year by finishing third in the Champions League Group A table.The Turkish league title-holders must beat Paris Saint-Germain in their own backyard and hope Club Brugge fail to win at home to Real Madrid if they are to parachute into the last 32 of the Europa League.But given how solid PSG have been this term, it looks an extremely difficult task. France’s dominant football club of the current era won their first four Champions League games of the season and then hit back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 away to Real Madrid to ensure they will win this group.The one thing that gives Galatasaray hope here is that their matches against PSG have traditionally been low-scoring (see stats above) and that has also been the case in most of the games this season contested by Fatih Terim’s side.However, one exception, which will be a cause for concern here, is that they lost 6-0 away to Real Madrid last month when they were three goals down after just 14 minutes.That does look an aberration though, so we are backing the Istanbul club to be much more like their usually defensively robust selves here even though they will probably be defeated.PSG already come into the game assured of finishing in top spot but will want to end the group phase in unbeaten fashion. PSG have won their last 5 home matches and all of said victories have been to nil. A win could see Galatasaray salvage a place in the Europa League, but they’d still be dependent on what Club Brugge do at home to Real Madrid. A win for the Turkish outfit doesn’t look particularly likely anyway, given they’ve won just 1 of their last 7 games on the road.Club Brugge vs Real MadridJan Breydelstadion, BruggeWednesday, 11-12-2019 @11pmReferee: Tobias Stieler (Ger)Club Brugge arrive knowing they cannot make it into the last 16 of the competition but a win would ensure they drop into the Europa League. However, without victory in their last five Champions League home group games, that’s not something that looks likely. Real Madrid already know they will finish second in the group, regardless of the result in Belgium. Nonetheless, now unbeaten in nine games, of which they’ve won seven, Real will want to keep their good form going.Though they’ve not won a game in the group, Club Brugge have probably done about as well as they could reasonably be expected to. A draw away at Real themselves and the share of the spoils with Galatasaray twice doesn’t make for terrible reading but the Belgians are still a long way off being fully competitive at this level.With Galatasaray expected to lose at PSG, Brugge should drop into the Europa League no matter what happens in this game but winning it is the only way they can be sure. Nonetheless, without a win in five straight Champions League home group games, that’s not something that looks too likely and there can be no doubting the hosts are big underdogs in the clash.Meanwhile, already guaranteed to progress into the last 16 via a second place finish, there’s little pressure on Wednesday’s game for Real Madrid. As such, the Spaniards could be tempted to rest some of their key players but with the immense quality they have, whatever team is fielded will be a strong one.Zinedine Zidane had been coming under pressure earlier on in the season but Real’s form has notably improved in recent weeks and the visitors have real momentum behind them now. Indeed, Real are unbeaten in nine matches, winning seven times in the process and level on points with Barcelona in La Liga. Things are looking good across all fronts.Bayern Munich vs Tottenham HotspurAllianz Arena, MunichWednesday, 11-12-2019 @11pmReferee: Gianluca Rocchi (Ita)Bayern Munich temporary manager Hans-Dieter Flick will be without Michael Cuisance after the midfielder sustained an injury in training. Corentin Tolisso (thigh) and Jerome Boateng (stubbed toe) are both expected to be declared fit despite being taken off injured during the weekend defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach.Tottenham have left Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen and Serge Aurier at home for the game in Munich. With both teams already qualified, Jose Mourinho has rested the four players for the dead rubber as he gives fringe players a chance. Hugo Lloris, Ben Davies, Erik Lamela, Harry Winks, Michel Vorm and Tanguy Ndombele are all injured and also stay in London.Bayern Munich have only lost one of their five previous meetings with Tottenham in all competitions (W3 D1), scoring 13 goals in those five games – over half of which came in their 7-2 win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in October this season. This will be Tottenham’s first visit to Bayern in any competition since November 1983 in the UEFA Cup last 16; they have lost both of their two away games against them in all competitions by an aggregate 5-1 scoreline. Bayern Munich’s 7-2 win in their last meeting with Spurs was one of only two occasions an English side has conceded 7+ goals in a single match in any European competition, along with Spurs’ 8-0 loss at 1. FC Köln in the Intertoto Cup in July 1995. Spurs are looking to win consecutive away UEFA Champions League matches for the very first time, having won 4-0 at Crvena Zvezda on MD4. Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski has scored 10 UEFA Champions League goals in this season’s group stage, including a brace against Spurs on MD2. The record for goals in the group stage of a single campaign is held by Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 11 in 2015-16 for Real Madrid. Both Bayern and Spurs have different managers from their previous meeting on MD2, with Niko Kovac and Mauricio Pochettino departing respectively. It’s the first time a fixture has seen both teams have different managers in each game since 2017-18, when Bayern Munich and Anderlecht changed managers between fixtures.Olympiakos vs Crevna ZvezdaStadio Georgios Karaiskaki, PireausWednesday, 11-12-2019 @11pmReferee: Daniele Orsato (Ita)Crvena Zvezda and Olympiacos have scored less goals combined than both Bayern and Tottenham individually in Group B. Neither side has any chance of making it through to the knockout rounds. Olympiacos have conceded an average of 2.8 goals per game in this group. Crvena Zvezda have conceded an average of 3.8It was always going to be an uphill battle for Olympiacos, who at times have performed credibly. The Greek outfit will be disappointed not to have done slightly better, but by winning this home match they can still secure a place in the Europa League knockout rounds, so they’ve still got something to play for.Overall, Olympiacos have been too easy to get at, though they have often made their presence felt offensively, scoring in four out of five, notching a respectable total of seven goals.In the reverse fixture, the Greeks came unstuck, losing by three goals to one, though they’ll certainly fancy themselves to do better at home. After all, they drew with Spurs at this venue, scoring twice in the process, while they also scored twice when losing narrowly (2-3) against Bayern.Crvena Zvezda have also struggled to compete in a group with the likes of Spurs and Bayern. Defensively, it’s fair to say that the Serbians have been the worst team in the group. They’ve conceded no less than 19 goals and are without a clean sheet. They’ve also shipped two or more in four out of five.When they met Olympiacos on home soil, Crvena did come out on top but they do tend to be a side that is aided massively by home advantage, as their efforts on the road suggest. Away from home, Crvena lost against both Bayern and Spurs, conceding eight in the process and scoring none. Olympiacos competed much better when playing away from home against the big boys.Atletico Madrid vs Lokomotiv MoscowEstadio Wanda Metropolitano, MadridWednesday, 11-12-2019 @11pmReferee: Viktor Kassai (Hun)Atletico need to win to ensure that they make it through to the knockout rounds. A draw may be enough for the hosts, though that would depend on what Leverkusen do. With four goals to their name, Lokomotiv Moscow are the lowest scorers in this group. Lokomotiv have conceded more than each of their three Group D rivals, shipping nine in five.After five matches, Diego Simeone’s men, who’ve made a habit of reaching the final of this competition in recent years, would’ve expected to be qualified for the knockouts by this point, but they, unfortunately, come into match-day six without a guaranteed passage.What is fortunate for the hosts is that their fate is entirely in their own hands. Win and they’re through to the last-16. Recent matches against both Leverkusen and Juventus didn’t go to plan, but Atleti did record a rather convincing victory in the reverse of this fixture, winning by two goals to nil, so they should fancy themselves to do the business on Wednesday. Moreover, they’re unbeaten at this venue in the UCL since 2017, winning six out of eight, keeping an impressive five clean sheets.As far as the visitors are concerned things haven’t gone to plan. Being drawn with Atletico, Juventus and Leverkusen probably meant that the Russians came into the group without much confidence, though they would’ve wanted to put up more of a fight than they have.At both ends of the pitch, Lokomotiv have struggled to get going. They’ve scored less than a goal per game, while they’ve shipped nine, conceding two or more in four out of five. They’re yet to receive a real hammering, but that doesn’t really matter as their lack of attacking power has done the damage.In the reverse of this fixture, Lokomotiv were unable to land a serious blow, as they failed to score and registered just three shots on target.Bayer Leverkusen vs JuventusBayArena, LeverkusenWednesday, 11-12-2019 @11pmReferee: Benoit Bastien (Fre)Bayer Leverkusen have been in fine form lately and host Juventus on the back of a lengthy unbeaten streak, where they earned five wins and a draw in six outings across competitions since early November. They now sit just a point behind 2nd placed Atletico Madrid in Group D and hope to make this a late challenge for a ticket to the knockout stages.Die Werkself beat Atleti (2-1) in early November and built on it with a 0-2 win at Lokomotiv Moscow, as well as ten points in four Bundesliga outings despite a tough schedule. They now boast great team spirits and we expect them very motivated to impress in front of the home fans once again.Juventus have, on the other hand, secured the top spot with 13 points earned in five outings, bagging four wins and only seeing the streak interrupted in a thriller 2-2 draw in Madrid. They have lost on their consistency lately, though, and this could be more worrying for Maurizio Sarri at this point.Bianconeri have seen Sassuolo (2-2) snatch a point at Allianz Stadium in early December and struggled to bounce on their trip to Lazio, seeing a 3-1 loss at Lazio despite taking a lead through Cristiano Ronaldo. They have been conceding goals away from home on the regular and will now need more if they’re to finish the Group stage unbeaten.Bayer Leverkusen bagged five wins and a draw in their last six outings. Juventus saw two disappointing Serie A outings in December, as Sassuolo (2-2) snatched a point and Lazio (3-1) bagged all three. Juve bagged a 3-0 home win over the German rivals in October, as Gonzalo Higuain, Federico Bernardeschi, and Cristiano Ronaldo all made it on the score sheet.Comments last_img