The group stage of the UEFA Champions League is quickly coming to a close. With two match days left, it’s time to see who truly wants to reach the knockout rounds of Europe’s most prestigious club tournament. Some of Europe’s top teams have already claimed their ticket to the second round, while others are battling it out to join the party. Here’s a look at some of the top fixtures of week 5.
Manchester City vs Bayern München
The German giants have already secured a place in the knockout rounds leaving it to be an all or nothing game for Manchester. There is immense pressure on City to overcome their recent struggles on the international level. Anything less than 3 points, and City will be forced to focus their season solely on the Premier League. Bayern is currently plagued with injuries, but with City’s less than stellar form, it will even out. I believe Manchester’s European woes will continue for another year.
Bayern wins 2-0
CSKA Moscow vs AS Roma
Another match that will decide Group E. Roma has only 4 points from 4 games just as Moscow does. Both teams will be hoping to add 3 more points and follow Bayern to the knock out phases. However, I don’t believe home field advantage will be enough for the Russians.
Roma take it 2-1
Paris St. Germain vs AJAX Amsterdam
Although PSG is already at the top of Group F with 10 points, the French champions will hope to add 3 more points to stay in 1st ahead of Barcelona. Ajax with only 2 points is already out of contention for a place in the knockout rounds.
PSG win 3-1
APOEL vs FC Barcelona
Standing in 2nd place of Group F with 9 points, Barcelona will be looking for a full 3 points to bump Paris down to 2nd. APOEL, (being the worst team in the group with 1 point from 4 matches) will be praying that they simply won’t get dismantled by the Spanish powerhouse. They better pray hard. Very hard.
Barcelona crushes APOEL 4-0
Shalke 04 vs Chelsea
Chelsea is running on some very impressive form. With Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, almost anything is possible for The Blues. However, Shalke is not a team who should be overlooked, especially in Germany. It will be a hard fought match between the two.
It will end in a 2-2 draw.
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund
A match up that has become very familiar the past few seasons. With Galatasaray and Anderlecht already out of the race for a spot in the Round of 16, it’s up to Dortmund and Arsenal to see who goes forward in 1st and 2nd place. Arsenal will want to make up for a loss to Manchester United in the Premier League, while Dortmund will want to stay ahead of Arsenal in 1st. It will be a tough one for Dortmund, especially after losing Marcos Reus to injury but I think they can pull it off.
BVB edges Arsenal 2-1
Ludogorets vs Liverpool
It has not been a happy few weeks for Liverpool. On a run of poor form, Steven Gerrard and Co. will hope to make amends and stay alive in the completion. Ludogorets is no pushover though, as they already showed at Anfield. Home field advantage will make them more dangerous this time around.
Liverpool’s bad form continues as they draw 1-1
Atletico Madrid vs Olympiakos
Olympiakos will be pushing for the win and to move even with Madrid on 9 points. However, Diego Simeone’s side will want to keep their spot at the top of Group A. Olympiakos will have to bring nothing less than 100% if they hope to win in the Spanish Capital.
Atletico takes it 2-0
FC Basel vs Real Madrid
What more can be said about defending champions Real Madrid? They are firing on all cylinders and continue to tear teams apart. Already qualified for the next round, Los Blancos will more than likely sit out some of their stars, but they have enough depth to still make Basel cringe even at home.
Madrid easily wins 3-0.
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