It’s decision time in the Champions League group stage, although most already have at least on qualifying team. Most of the interest will go to Group B, where Juventus will play against Galatasaray, in a match that sends the winner to join Real Madrid in the knockout stage, having to play against FC Copenhagen in Denmark.
Other battles include Shakhtar (playing at Old Trafford) and Bayer Leverkusen in group A for the second spot in the group, while Benfica (hosting PSG) need to do better than Olympiacos in group C, with the Greeks hosting Anderlecht.
Manchester United, despite their troubles in the Premier League, are in the clear. They’re qualifying, and qualifying from first, unless they’re beaten by 3 goals or more against Shakhtar Donetsk coming for a visit, although that will be highly unlikely. Leverkusen need to win and for Donetsk to draw or lose in their visit to Old Trafford, while Real Sociedad, hosting the Germans, have nothing to play for except some pride and uefa allocation points.
Predictions – Manchester United finish first after a boring home draw with Shakhtar, while Real Sociedad lose again, and Leverkusen are the team that advances from the second place.
Real Madrid are in the clear, but their most recent Copa Del Rey draw means trouble – not for them, but for Galatasaray and Juventus. The Spanish giants are playing against FC Copenhagen, who won’t be able to finish among the top two, but are quite capable of going to the Europa League – if they win their match and there’s no draw in Istanbul, and even if they draw theirs while Galatasaray lose, it’s good for them to carry on their European endeavor. Juventus need a draw, which is probably what they’ll play for, in order to finish second. Galatasaray have to win.
Prediction – Real Madrid will win in Copenhagen after their weekend shock in the Spanish Cup, while Juventus will get the result they need to go through second.
Benfica are hosting PSG, with the French champions already clinching the top spot in the group, while Olympiakos host the awful Anderlecht. Benfica don’t have the goal difference edge, so they need a better result – either a bigger win or simply win over draw or draw over loss in order to squeak by Olympiakos and get the second ticket to the knockout stage. The Belgians, having a rough season in the league as well, can’t finish higher than fourth.
Prediction – PSG won’t beat Benfica, as that match will end in a draw, but Olympiakos won’t have any problem beating Anderlecht and clinching that second ticket.
Manchester City arrive at Munich to play Bayern while CSKA host Viktoria Plzen. The top two are already set, but Manchester City have a shot at finishing first if they beat Bayern by more than three goals. CSKA Moscow need a draw in order to finish third, while Viktoria Plzen need to win by more than two goals in order to get into the Europa League.
Prediction – Bayern will once again show how unfair it is between them and Manchester City, while CSKA Moscow will clinch the third spot with a win over the awful Czechs.