On another successful outing for English clubs in the Champions League, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea became the first Premier League representatives to book their place in the competition’s Last 16 on Tuesday evening.
A 91st minute winner from super-sub Olivier Giroud allowed the Blues to steal three points from a tough game in Rennes – a result that catapulted Chelsea out of Group E and into the knockout round of the tournament alongside second placed Sevilla.
In Group H, a slick first half performance and a Bruno Fernandes double helped Manchester United to a 4-1 win at home to Istanbul Basaksehir at Old Trafford, leaving the Red Devils on the cusp of what looked an unlikely qualification, though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side still need to take something from tough remaining games against either PSG or RB Leipzig to cement their Last 16 berth.
In Group G, Barcelona and Juventus both secured their passage to the next phase of the Champions League with victories over Dynamo Kiev and Ferencvaros respectively, adding two more household names to the lengthening list of confirmed Last 16 participants.
Liverpool and Manchester City to book Last 16 place?
On Wednesday, a further three clubs can rubber-stamp a position in the Last 16 of the Champions League on what promises to be another white-knuckle evening of European action.
In Group C, Manchester City put their perfect record on the line in Greece against an Olympiakos outfit they swept aside at the Etihad Stadium earlier this month.
While their domestic form continues to disappoint, the Citizens – who have notched an average of 3.0 goals per game on the continent – have excelled in the Champions League, and Pep Guardiola’s charges look favourites to ease past their opponents again in Attica.
Liverpool meanwhile, have been a class above in Group D, and the Merseysiders know that another victory against Atalanta on Wednesday will see them home, hosed and into the next round.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, inspired by a Diogo Jota hattrick, butchered La Dea 5-0 when the teams last met in Bergamo, and Atalanta aren’t expected to offer much resistance when they visit Anfield later today.
In Group A, current champions Bayern Munich have started their title defence in typically explosive style, and the Bavarians are expected to run roughshod over RB Salzburg at the Allianz Arena and into the Last 16 tonight.
Bayern smashed six goals past the Austrians in Salzburg on November 3rd, and the goal-hungry German giants look capable of matching that haul in Munich. With the evergreen Robert Lewandowski looking sharp and a supporting cast that includes Thomas Muller, Douglas Costa Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry in tow, the Bavarians look the team to beat in the Champions League again this season.
We’ll be covering all of Wednesday evening’s games with betting tips and analysis on our Champions League predictions page.
All to play for in Champions League Group B
While many of the Champions League’s eight sections look close to being decided, Group B remains fascinatingly open.
Ahead of match-day four in the division, Borussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk occupy positions one and two ahead of qualification favourites Real Madrid and Inter Milan, giving the group a real upside-down look.
With just three points separating Gladbach in first and the Nerazzurri at the foot of the table, the group’s outlook can take a number of dramatic swings on a single set of results however, placing huge importance on each individual fixture.
This evening, Marco Rose’s exciting Borussia Monchengladbach team can close their grip on a qualification berth with a win over a Shakhtar team they eviscerated 6-0 in the Ukraine just three weeks ago, though the group’s contest already looks like a do-or-die head-to-head.
Still searching for their first Champions League victory of the campaign, Antonio Conte’s star-studded Inter Milan need to crank up the intensity when Real Madrid visit the San Siro later today, where anything other than a win against Los Blancos will leave the Italians in a perilous position.