2018-19 UEFA Champions League Group Stage: Matchday Five – Tuesday

With four matchdays gone, UEFA Champions League starts getting serious as the knockout places begin to fill up over the next fortnight. 

Tonight’s action sees both Manchester clubs in action where both could seal qualification, whilst other highlights include AS Roma vs Real Madrid. 

 

Group E

AEK Athens vs Ajax (5:55pm)

Bayern Munich vs Benfica (8:00pm)

This group could be sorted if AEK Athens and Benfica both fail to win their games. 

Realistically, I can see Ajax winning in Greece given their superior quality to book their knockout spot, whilst guaranteeing a bottom of group finish for Athens. 

Benfica meanwhile simply have to win in Munich to take the battle for a last 16 place to their final group game. I however cannot see that happening given that Bayern have dominated this fixture in recent years. 

Predictions: 

AEK Athens 0-2 Ajax

Bayern Munich 2-0 Benfica

 

Group F (8:00pm)

Lyon vs Manchester City

Hoffenheim vs Shakhtar Donetsk

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Any point for Manchester City here will see them qualify for the next stage with a game to spare. 

Lyon however are a tough side to beat at home, having 2-2 draws from both home matches in this group. Throw in the fact that City are yet to win in France whilst Lyon suffered only one home loss to English teams in UEFA competitions then this is going to be a tough match. 

Ultimately, though its just a point that City need and I can see them getting that point in a hard earned draw.

Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk both need to win their meeting to stand any chance of qualifying, but this is really a third place play-off in all honesty. Hoffenheim however are the best placed to try and secure a last gasp knockout spot in a fortnight’s time so expect them to have that edge. 

Predictions:

Lyon 1-1 Manchester City

Hoffenheim 2-1 Shakhtar Donetsk

 

Group G 

CSKA Moscow vs Viktoria Plzen (5:55pm)

AS Roma vs Real Madrid (8:00pm)

This group could well be sorted by time Roma’s clash with Real Madrid starts, if CSKA Moscow fail to win which would make it essentially a group topping decider really. 

Given their decent home performances against Roma and Real, I can see CSKA easily beating Viktoria Plzen here to take at least one qualification spot to the final group match. 

Over in Italy, we are going to see if Real’s La Liga loss at weekend was a blip or if its a sign that there are deeper troubles than pre international break performances suggested. 

Roma meanwhile are unbeaten at home in Champions League since losing 3-0 to Porto in August 2016, and given that they too have struggled for form lately, I can see a draw here.

Predictions: 

CSKA Moscow 2-0 Viktoria Plzen

AS Roma 1-1 Real Madrid

 

Group H (8:00pm)

Juventus vs Valencia

Manchester United vs Young Boys

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Juventus and Manchester United can wrap up Group H with victories but the Italian side face a tough test at home to Valencia. 

Having lost their home leg against Juventus in opening round of group games, Valencia have taken five points off Man U and Young Boys and arrive here with three wins from their last three. 

Confidence therefore will be with the Spanish side as they aim to repeat what United did last time out and inflict a second home loss of season on the reigning Serie A champions. 

Ultimately though, I can see Juventus getting the job done rather comfortably if can get the better start and first goal. 

United meanwhile need to find a way to banish their poor home form and given the general poor quality of Young Boys, anything other than a win will be embarrassing but it will be tight if the Swiss side defend well. 

Predictions: 

Juventus 3-0 Valencia

Manchester United 1-0 Young Boys

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