Preview: A draw is enough for Arsenal, but Napoli need some help if they are to progress
Napoli's hopes of progressing into the next round do not look that promising, although it is still very possible. Since they are at a disadvantage in their head-to-head with Borussia Dortmund, the Italian outfit will need to put on an offensive performance against the Gunners.
A victory over Arsenal would move Rafa Benitez's side up to 12 points, but if Dortmund is to defeat Marseille, Napoli will need to beat the Gunners by at least three, to beat them in a head-to-head.
Preview: An easy challenge for Mourinho?
Steaua Bucharest will end their 2013/14 UEFA Champions League campaign rooted at the bottom of Group E. This was confirmed on Matchday 5 when they drew with Schalke 04, losing all hopes of at least qualifying for the Europa League. The Romanians will play for nothing more but pride at Stamford Bridge this Wednesday.
Manager Reghecampf expressed his frustration, stating:
“It is a pity we are in this situation. Initially I was hoping this would be an important game where we had the chance to qualify for the next round or the Europa League, but of course now the priority is the domestic league – that is not to say we will not give everything tomorrow though.
Preview: Porto has it all to do if they want to progress, against a very strong Atletico side
It is not often that Porto finds themselves in this type of situation, but on Wednesday night, they will need two positive results.
First, they will need to defeat Atletico Madrid, who has yet to lose in the group stage. With four victories and one draw, the Spanish side find themselves into the next round, having claimed 13 points already. Adding to their outstanding record, Simeone's squad has scored 13 goals, while only conceding three.
So apart from that much needed victory for Porto, they will also need Austria Wien to lend them a helping hand against Zenit St. Petersburg.
Preview: With nothing to play for, Celtic will look to honor their club and country
Neil Lennon's side is last in Group H with just three points, and even a victory at the Nou Camp would not be enough for them to even secure a spot in the Europa League.
Taking on Barcelona is never easy, especially at the Nou Camp. Celtic will be playing for pride, while the hosts will know that the top spot in their group is not yet guaranteed. Currently in a poor run of form, having lost two of their last three in all competitions, Tata Martino will expect his side to put in a solid performance on Wednesday night.
Preview: Champions of Switzerland could spoil Schalke's must-win mission
Schalke has been in a poor run of form. A draw or loss to Basel will see them exit from the UEFA Champions League and could see the end of Jens Keller’s reign as Schalke manager The Blues exited the DFB Pokal last week when they lost to Hoffenheim, 1-3. They proceeded to lose to Borussia Mönchengladbach at the weekend in what can be referred to as a battle for fourth place in the Bundesliga, 2-1.
Undoubtedly, Schalke has enough quality to progress to the next round despite injuries to star forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Dennis Aogo and Marco Höger. Also, Jermaine Jones is suspended. This can be thought of a positive due to Jones’ sudden absences of composure or as a negative as Jones is a tenacious player. They will depend on the skills of Julian Draxler, Max Meyer and Kevin-Prince Boateng to see them through.
Preview: Milan and Ajax battle for qualification to Round of 16
The clash at San Siro will decide which of the two teams will join Barcelona from Group H to advance to the knockout stage of the Champions League. Whereas a draw will be sufficient for the Rossoneri to advance to the next round, Ajax will need all three points.
An unlikely win for Celtic over Barcelona can also see Milan claim the top spot in Group H and thereby allow themselves to be paired against an easier opposition in the Round of 16.
Preview: Another master class by Bayern against Manchester City in the group stages?
Martin Demichelis of City knows how it feels to be on the opposite side of the fence. Seven and a half years and numerous titles later, the defender exited FC Bayern Munchen rather unceremoniously in 2011. Louis Van Gaal reigned with terror and Bayern answered with mutiny at the time in which Demichelis left. The answer was simple- Van Gaal received the boot and Jupp Heynckes was appointed.
Heynckes, in his third stint at Bayern, received Manchester City in the group stages. They won at the Allianz, 2-0. This season, Bayern, under Pep Guardiola, produced a master class at the Etihad, dominating possession and not allowing City a chance to gain a foothold in the game until the final ten minutes. They will be coming into this one without one of the scorers from that day, Arjen Robben, vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger and long term injury victim Holger Badstuber.
Preview: Portuguese giants will need a memorable night to go through to the knockout round
Benfica's name has generally been one that is associated with European Football, for many years now. With the UEFA Champions League Final being hosted at their stadium, the Portuguese side's hopes of making it to that final are now in the balance heading into Tuesday night's match.
Jorge Jesus' side has not started the new season very well, despite a number of new acquisitions in the squad. Apart from that, no key figures left from last season's roster, which has caused fans to question the manager.
Preview: Man United looking to bounce back from weekend loss
United come into this much after back to back defeats at the hands of Everton and Newcastle United and will be looking for a strong win in a competition they have fared well in so far. Whereas the Red Devils have failed to record a victory in their last four matches in the Premier League, their performances in the European arena have been much more satisfactory.
Last time out United dismantled Bayer Leverkusen 5-0 and will be hoping to make a repeat of that performance in a bid to finish top of the group which will allow them to be paired with a weaker opponent in the Round of 16.
Preview: Ronaldo returns, København eye Europa League football
For the first time since inspiring Real Madrid to a 5-0 defeat away to Almeria in November, Cristiano Ronaldo will step on the pitch again. The Portuguese talisman had to be subbed off in that match due to a thigh injury. He has since been rested to recapture his fitness.
In the UEFA Champions League, Ronaldo has scored eight times. He shares this record of ‘most group stages goals’ with icons Hernan Crespo, Filippo Inzaghi and Ruud van Nistelrooy. He was joined by PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Matchday 5.
Preview: Victory for either side will take them to the next round
In a winner takes all scenario, Galatasaray will host Juventus in the final round of games of the Champions League group stages. Only a win will guarantee qualification to the next round for either side, keeping in mind Copenhagen who are at level points with Galatasaray also play Real Madrid tonight.
A draw at Istanbul will favour the Danish side who by scoring an unlikely victory over Madrid can ensure qualification to the round of 16.
With Real Madrid through to the next round of the Champions League 2013/2014, it now remains to be seen which team joins the Spanish outfit in the last 16. Both Galatasaray and Juventus have a chance to finish second in Group B which initially seemed a straightforward one when the draws came out a few months back.
However, that has not been the case and following a few twists and turns, as things stand, the biggest match of tonight’s round of UCL match day 6 is Galatasaray vs Juventus. A win for the Turks will mean progression to the knockout phases while the Bianconeri need only a draw in order to secure qualification.
Don’t miss the excitement with Brazil’s Atletico Mineiro and Germany’s Bayern Munich among other confederations champions fighting for the right to officially be crowned as the world’s best team. It is happening in Morocco with the show starting on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 and ending on Saturday, December 21, 2013.
There will be a host of stars to looking forward to. This includes Ronaldinho who has set his mind on making Brazil’s World Cup 2014 squad. The former Barcelona midfielder will be looking to win over the confidence of coach Luiz Felipe Scolari as well as supporters worldwide by putting up a great show in Morocco.
Preview: Gunners can go seven points clear with a victory on Sunday
Whether you believe it or not, at the moment, Arsenal may be starting to change some doubters into believers. With a four point gap at the top of the table, the North London side will have a chance to jump out to a seven point lead, if they are to overcome a very confident and strong Everton side.
After losing their match at Old Trafford, Arsene Wenger's side has rebounded well, having won their last three Premier League matches.
Preview: Fiorentina hoping to take advantage of Roma’s dip in form
After winning ten straight matches in La Liga, Roma’s season was dealt with a twist with La Maggica drawing all of their four subsequent matches. Their antics have allowed Juventus to leapfrog them for the first place and if Roma lose out to their counterparts on Sunday they will be six points adrift of the top of the table.
Roma have uncharacteristically failed to pick up all three points against much weaker opponents, whom they were expected to do very well against. Despite not having managed a victory in the last four matches they have played, Roma are still undefeated this season a feat they share with German giants Bayern Munich.
Preview: Real Madrid up for tricky challenge
Los Blancos will be hoping to snatch a resounding victory in their first domestic cup game of the 2013/14 season. The two biggest exclusions for this fixture are Cristiano Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso. The former has resumed training but will only return to action next Tuesday against Copenhagen in the UEFA Champions League. The latter, meanwhile, is not totally fit and thus will not be risked to play on Xativa’s artificial turf.
Carlo Ancelotti otherwise named his strongest squad available but Gareth Bale had to pull out hours before the game "due to a mild case of flu" as reporters. Youngsters Jese and Morata have also been called up and may earn enough playing time to continue their progress at senior level.
Preview: Leverkusen’s defiance stands in the way of Borussia Dortmund
Leverkusen does not quite possess the standing which Dortmund does on the international stage. This is no surprise, especially considering that Bayer 04 was recently humiliated by a United side which is struggling in its own league. Dortmund meanwhile reached the final last season and can qualify for the next round in this season’s competition with a win over Marseille.
Both coaches will have an eye on the European games in midweek and might choose to rest players accordingly. Dortmund, especially, has been depleted by injuries. Manuel Friedrich, the former Leverkusen defender, had to be signed by Klopp due to injuries to both Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic. They both will be out of this one along with Ilkay Gündogan. Marco Reus and Marcel Schmelzer are both doubtful too and might not be available. Klopp would do well to start Jonas Hoffman, who delivered a very good performance against Saarbrücken in the Pokal in midweek.
Preview: A game of high tempo expected
It is with a blend of disappointment and pride that the Black Cats enter Saturday’s late kick-off at home to Tottenham Hotspur. Scoring three goals against Europa League champions Chelsea is a difficult thing to achieve, so conceding one more strike to eventually lose is what hurts most.
Sunderland were on the brink of doing something great on Wednesday. If it wasn’t for Eden Hazard’s outrageous performance, the Stadium of Light would still be dazzling with euphoria by now. But the seven-goal thriller was split 4-3 with Bardsley’s 86th minute strike not enough to snatch a point for the hosts.
Preview: Depleted Bayern taking on Robin Dutt’s incompetent Bremen
Bayern lost Arjen Robben to injury for six weeks against Augsburg in midweek in the DFB Pokal. Franck Ribery however returned and is set to play again. Philipp Lahm jogged this week while Claudio Pizarro and Xherdan Shaqiri seem prepared to come back onto the pitch as well.
Bremen fans may long for the days of Johann Micoud and later Miroslav Klose but those days are firmly in the past. Thomas Schaaf’s quiet exit last season was almost a mirror of the situation of the club itself. Quietly, Bremen has slipped down the table season after season and is now a relegation contender. They were humiliated by Bayern in their previous meeting; the Bavarians laughed their way to a 6-1 win. It is easy to forget that a Bremen side spearheaded by Mesut Özil had humiliated Bayern 2-5 in 2008.
Preview: Mark Hughes to face another litmus test for Potters’ new approach
Things were never going to be the same at Britannia Stadium when Mark Hughes was officially named as the replacement of long-serving manager Tony Pulis in the summer.
Pulis was the man behind Stoke’s consistent presence in the Premier League but the approach towards the game had seemingly gotten to everyone’s nerve. Now, the club has a manager who is a pure antithesis of the former manager.