UEFA Champions League Matchday 5 Preview
Added on Nov 16, 2010 by Trent Sillanpaa in
Here’s a quick group-by-group look through the Champions League heading into the pivotal fifth matches. Only four teams are officially out of contention and three guaranteed to progress, but next week’s matches should prove decisive in determining how the knockout stage will shake out.
Group A: Tottenham (7), Inter Milan (7), Twente Enschede (5), Werder Bremen (2)
The most wide open group remains wide open. With only five points separating Tottenham from Werder Bremen there is a legitimate chance that the group could be turned on its head right here. Look for Inter Milan to get over its domestic woes and earn three points. Werder Bremen has the potential to take points from any of its group mates…and that potential has managed a paltry two points to date.
Nov. 24: Inter Milan vs. Twente Enschede; Tottenham vs. Werder Bremen
Group B: Lyon (9), Schalke 04 (7), Benfica (6), Hapoel Tel Aviv (1)
Hapoel Tel Aviv has little to play for in earnest, though it has a slim chance at the Europa League spot. The best it can really do is play spoiler to a resurgent Benfica side which rode a pair of stunning goals from Fabio Coentrao to a 4-3 win over Lyon. A Benfica win here puts a lot of pressure on Lyon and Schalke, who would probably prefer not needing to take three points from each other.
Nov. 24: Hapoel Tel Aviv vs. Benfica; Schalke 04 vs. Lyon
Group C: Manchester United (10), Valencia (7), Rangers (5), Bursaspor (0)
It is always special when teams from opposite sides of the United Kingdom borders meet in the Champions League, and Rangers can ride that emotion to the three points it is sure to need. Manchester United has fared better on the road here than in the Premier League, but can one really expect an easy three at Ibrox? Meanwhile, Valencia will surely beat Bursaspor at home.
Nov. 24: Valencia vs. Bursaspor; Rangers vs. Manchester United
Group D: Barcelona (8), FC Copenhagen (7), FK Rubin Kazan (3), Panathinaikos (2)
When the group draw was made everyone rolled their eyes at the weak group Barcelona lucked into, yet Barca has been far from dominant since hammering Panathinaikos 5-1 to get started. Luckily for the Spanish power the rest of the group has given each other fits. Barcelona will win in Greece to clinch advancement while FC Copenhagen should manage an important draw to secure the same fate.
Nov. 24: FK Rubin Kazan vs. FC Copenhagen; Panathinaikos vs. Barcelona
Group E: Bayern Munich (12), AS Roma (6), CFR Cluj-Napoca (3), FC Basel (3)
Bayern Munich took care of business early and has little to play for in Rome whereas AS Roma has points left to take. Look for the home side to get something from this one, likely all three points from a restful Bayern. FC Basel has played well enough, but its loss at CFR Cluj-Napoca was a killer. Back home in Switzerland you can expect Basel to win and put some pressure on Roma.
Nov. 23: FC Basel vs. CFR Cluj-Napoca; AS Roma vs. Bayern Munich
Group F: Chelsea (12), Spartak Moscow (6), Marseille (6), MSK Zilina (0)
Marseille travels to Moscow for a huge showdown with the winner likely to advance. An own goal from Cesar Azpilicueta allowed Spartak to steal three points in Marseille, and a draw would work for the home team considering it would own the tiebreaker and face Zilina on the final matchday. Expect more scoring this time. Chelsea hosts Zilina is a completely meaningless match.
Nov. 23: Spartak Moscow vs. Marseille; Chelsea vs. MSK Zilina
Group G: Real Madrid (10), AC Milan (5), Ajax (4), Auxerre (3)
Real Madrid is in the envious position in this group, having already qualified for the second round. AC Milan, Ajax, and Auxerre are all playing for second place in this loaded group. Look for Ajax to get something from its home date with Real while AC Milan makes up for a blown opportunity versus Real by carrying its fine domestic form into France.
Nov. 23: Auxerre vs. AC Milan; Ajax vs. Real Madrid
Group H: Arsenal (9), Shakhtar Donetsk (9), Braga (6), Partizan Belgrade (0)
Braga was embarrassed 6-0 in its opener in London and it will remember that. However, Arsenal has yet to secure advancement and is in another class from the Portuguese side. One goal should guarantee at least a point for Shakhtar Donetsk at the attack-challenged Serbians.
Nov. 23: Braga vs. Arsenal; Partizan Belgrade vs. Shakhtar Donetsk