RB Leipzig vs Zenit
Red Bull Arena, Leipzig
Wednesday, 23-10-2019 @7:55pm
Referee: Ali Palabiyik (Tur)
RB Leipzig will host Zenit St Petersburg in this Wednesday’s Champions League Group G fixture. Group G has proven itself to be, as expected, one of the most tightly contested groups in this year’s competition. No more than a single point currently separates 3 of the 4 teams in this group.
Zenit are currently sitting at the top of Group G after enjoying an undefeated opening 2 games to their campaign. 3rd placed Leipzig are currently trailing Zenit by just 1 point. A win for Leipzig in Wednesday’s game could propel them to the top of their group.
We predict that this match is very likely to deliver plenty of goals at either end. Zenit are currently the highest scorers in Group G, having scored 4 goals in their opening 2 games.
Zenit’s goal scoring in Europe this season has not been a fluke. They are a consistently prolific team on the attack. This is shown by their impressive domestic goal scoring record. They are also the top scorers in the Russian Premier League at present, with 27 goals scored from 13 games.
Zenit are likely to open up a Leipzig defense who have kept just 2 clean sheets from 11 competitive games this season. Leipzig have also struggled at the back in the Champions League historically. Leipzig have never kept a single clean sheet in the Champions League, after playing 8 Champions League games.
Leipzig were kept scoreless at home versus Lyon in their most recent Champions League game. As a result, they have scored just 2 goals from their 2 Group G games thus far. However, Leipzig’s offensive ability should not be underestimated. They are currently the 3rd highest scoring team in the Bundesliga, scoring 16 goals from 8 games.
Zenit will find it tough to keep Leipzig quiet also. Leipzig’s prolific German striker Timo Werner is the second highest scorer in the Bundesliga, this season. We feel that goals are likely to be scored at either end in this game. We feel that both teams scoring is a likely occurrence in this fixture.
After enjoying an impressive start to the season, Leipzig have hit a dip in form of late. Leipzig have failed to win each of their last 4 games in all competitions. They will not find it easy to beat a Zenit side who have lost just 2 of their last 17 games in all competitions.
Ajax vs Chelsea
Johan Cryuff Arena, Amsterdam
Wednesday, 23-10-2019 @7:55pm
Referee: Ovidiu Hategan (Rom)
Ajax and Chelsea have not previously met in European competition, with the Blues the ninth different English team Ajax have faced in European competition. Chelsea are unbeaten in four previous European games with Dutch sides (W2 D2 L0), winning twice against Feyenoord in the 1999-00 Champions League and drawing 0-0 in two knockout games against AFC DWS in the 1968-69 Fairs Cup but went out after losing a coin toss. Ajax have not won three consecutive Champions League matches since November 2005, beating Thun twice and Sparta Prague under manager Danny Blind. Since losing 3-0 at Barcelona in March 2018, Chelsea have lost none of their eight away European matches (W6 D2 L0) – their longest unbeaten away run in Europe. Promes is looking to become the first player to score in his first three Champions League appearances for Ajax, having netted against Lille and Valencia this campaign. Against Lille, Tammy Abraham became Chelsea’s first English scorer in the Champions League since Gary Cahill in November 2015; only three Englishmen have done so in consecutive games for the club – Frank Lampard (five times), John Terry (three times) and Dennis Wise (twice).
Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has no injury worries before the Chelsea clash, so Donny van de Beek and Nicolas Tagliafico should play. Dusan Tadic, Hakim Ziyech and Quincy Promes are expected to start in attack.
Chelsea are without Ross Barkley for the trip to Amsterdam after the England midfielder picked up an ankle injury in the 1-0 win over Newcastle at the weekend. Barkley joins N’Golo Kante on the sidelines after the Frenchman sustained a groin injury on international duty. Defender Antonio Rudiger remains out despite training with the squad on Tuesday, while Emerson Palmieri is closing in on a return but did not travel to the Netherlands.
RB Salzburg vs Napoli
Red Bull Arena, Salzburg
Wednesday, 23-10-2019 @10pm
Referee: Clement Turpin (Fra)
Salzburg come into the game minus Antoine Bernede and Alexander Walke.
For Napoli, Hirving Lozano will not play in the game. Nikola Maksimovic and Elseid Hysaj are under question.
Napoli travel to Salzburg for their Matchday 3 Champions League clash looking to keep hold of the top spot in Group E, after earning four points in their first two outings as they beat Liverpool (2-0) with late goals from Dries Mertens and Fernando Llorente but were held to a goalless draw at Genk.
Partenopei have seen a seven-goal thriller in two Europa League 8th Finals against the rivals in March, only edging past them thanks to Arkadiusz Milik’s goal at this ground in a 4-3 aggregate win. Carlo Ancelotti’s men haven’t been able to impress at this ground, though, and will now want more as they come into the game on the back of a 2-0 win over Hellas Verona.
RB Salzburg have enjoyed a positive spell early in the new campaign and they have shown off in Group E as well, outclassing Genk (6-2) in front of the home fans and suffering a thriller 4-3 loss in Liverpool where they pulled three back only to see Mo Salah seal the points for the rivals with just over 20 minutes left on the clock.
Die Mozartstadter have lost on their consistency in October, though, and now come into the match with a 1-1 draw at 5th placed Sturm Graz behind them. They have been a lot tougher to beat at Red Bull Arena and will now hope to bounce quickly, desperate to challenge a top 2 spot midway through the Group stage.
RB Salzburg have seen an unpredictable spell of form through October. Napoli have been very solid at the back and kept clean sheets in all of their last three outings. ?The sides met in Europa League 8th Finals in March, as Napoli edged past the rivals with an away goal and 4-3 aggregate win
Genk vs Liverpool
Luminus Arena, Genk
Wednesday, 22-10-2019 @10pm
Referee: Vincic Slavko (Slo)
This is the first meeting between Genk and Liverpool in any competition. Genk’s only previous meetings with English opponents in European competition was in the 2011-12 Champions League group stage, drawing 1-1 at home and losing 5-0 at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. Liverpool have won all five of their European Cup/Champions League matches against Belgian teams, keeping five clean sheets in those games – one of those wins was in the 1978 European Cup final against Bruges (1-0). English teams are unbeaten in their last 14 Champions League games against Belgian teams (W12 D2 L0) since Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat at Anderlecht in October 2000 – five English teams have faced Belgian teams since then without losing (Leeds, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Leicester). Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino is the only player since the start of the 2017-18 season to have both scored and assisted 10 Champions League goals (14 goals, 10 assists) – although he has only scored or assisted in one of his last seven away games in the competition (one goal away at Porto).
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is back in the squad for the Champions League match in Genk after missing Sunday’s draw against Manchester United as he had not recovered from an ankle injury. Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold (illness) and Joel Matip (knee) have not made the trip to Belgium, which means it is likely Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez will start. James Milner is set to return in midfield, where manager Jurgen Klopp could look to bring in fresh legs from the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Adam Lallana.
Benfica vs Lyon
Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Lisbon
Wednesday, 23-010-2019 @10pm
Referee: Ivan Kruliak (Slo)
These clubs’ previous meetings were on the equivalent match-days of the 2010-11 Champions League, albeit they hosted them the other way around – Lyon qualified, Benfica dropped into the Europa League and reached the semi-finals. Benfica are unbeaten in all of their 14 matches at home to French clubs in European competition (10 wins, four draws). Benfica won the last five of those games by a one-goal margin
Benfica have a fine opportunity to show they are not out of contention to qualify from Champions League Group G when hosting Lyon on Wednesday. The Portuguese champions have yet to get off the mark after losing 2-1 at home to RB Leipzig and 3-1 away to Zenit St Petersburg, leaving them three points adrift at the bottom of the table with the other trio all covered by just a solitary point. But as the stats above reveal, Benfica possess a superb record at home to French clubs. They are unbeaten in 14 matches at the Estadio da Luz against teams from that country and have won seven of the last eight. Lyon, meanwhile, are already experiencing a strange season. They began by appointing Sylvinho as manager for his first managerial job as successor to Bruno Genesio, started Ligue 1 with two emphatic victories and then won only one more out of nine and sacked the Brazilian, replacing him with Rudi Garcia! The former Lille, Roma and Marseille boss had no immediate impact, drawing his first game in charge 0-0 at home to Dijon, but at least the one further match Lyon did win under Sylvinho was in the Champions League against RB Leipzig to put them top of the group.
The two sides have met each other twice over two legs, with Benfica coming out on top in the last one with a 4-3 scorecard. Their only other matchup witnessed Lyon win 2-0. Apart from these two clashes, they also met in the International Champions Cup last year.
Inter Milan vs Borussia Dortmund
Stadio Guiseppe Meazza, Milan
Wednesday, 23-10-2019 @10pm
Referee: Anthoney Taylor (Eng)
Conte could make a few key changes to the side that secured a narrow win over Sassouolo. Key midfielder Stefano Sensi is a doubt going into this fixture. But, we expect him to recover in time and return to the starting lineup, at the expense of Roberto Gagliardini. He will be partnered by Nicolo Barella and the ever-present figure of Marcelo Brozovic. Diego Godin is likely to return to the three-man defence, having been rested in the last game. The Uruguayan’s experience will be invaluable, alongside the likes of Milan Skriniar and Stefan de Vrij. They will likely operate in a deep defensive block, with the wingbacks playing a more versatile role.
Mario Gotze and Jadon Sancho are back in contention after missing the last game against Borussia Monchengladbach. Sancho, in particular, was suspended by the club due to his late return to training. He is a guaranteed starter in this one, however, replacing Achraf Hakimi. Guerreiro, though unlikely to start left-back, could occupy the left-wing role, replacing Thorgan Hazard. The Portuguese international will look to provide service to lone striker Mario Gotze while Julian Brandt will be filling in for Marco Reus in the number ten slot. The Dortmund captain will miss out with a flu.
Inter and Dortmund last met in the quarter-final of the 1993-94 UEFA Cup, with the Italians winning 4-3 on aggregate. They won the trophy that year. Inter are winless in six UEFA European matches against German opposition since a 3-2 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League in March 2011. Borussia Dortmund have only conceded two goals in their last eight Champions League group stage matches, keeping clean sheets in seven of those matches. Inter’s Nicolo Barella could become the fourth player to score in each of his first two European Cup/Champions League home matches for the Nerazzuri, after Roberto Boninsegna (1971), Alessandro Altobelli (1980) and Mauro Icardi (2018). Borussia Dortmund have won three of their five away UEFA Champions League matches (W3 D0 L2) under Lucien Favre, one more in their previous 10 under Jürgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel and Peter Bosz combined (W2 D2 L6).
Slavia Praha vs Barcelona
Sinobo Stadium, Prague
Wednesday, 23-10-2019 @10pm
Referee: Bobby Madden (Sco)
Ernesto Valverde has no major injury concerns although full-back Junior Firpo remains out with a muscle problem.
Peter Olayinka and Ibrahim Traore are both doubts for the Czech side.
Slavia Praha have lost only two of their last nine European fixtures at home (W4 D3), although those defeats have come in their last three contests. Barcelona have won only four of their last 14 away matches in European competition (D6 L4). Slavia Praha will be the 57th team that Barcelona have faced in the Champions League. The Catalans have registered at least one win over 54 of the other 56, failing only to beat IFK Goteborg (W0 D1 L1) and Borussia Dortmund (W0 D1 L0). Slavia Praha have failed to score in their last three UEFA Champions League games at home. Only three teams have gone four at home without a goal – Dinamo Zagreb (five between 2015 and 2016), Real Sociedad (four between 2004 and 2013) and Deportivo de La Coruna (four in 2004). Luis Suarez scored twice against Internazionale on Matchday 2 in Barcelona’s 2-1 victory – however, the Uruguayan is goalless in his last 19 away UEFA Champions League matches, attempting 59 shots without success since a goal against Roma in September 2015.
Lille vs Valencia
Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Villeneuve-d’Ascq
Wednesday, 23-09-2019 @10pm
Referee: Deniz Aytekin (Ger)
Lille are winless in their last four matches in all competitions. Valencia have lost only one of their last seven games in all competitions. Los Che have never lost in their four previous meetings with les Dogues.
Galtier’s men are placed fifth in the domestic table and were winless in five of their total nine games. The last day, they were held to a draw, at home, by the 15th placed squad in the table. In addition, the team has just one win from their preceding six games and just four from their last thirteen. At home, the outfit is winless in the last two appearances and importantly have lost all of their games in the Group Stage of the CL so far. In fact, they have conceded two or more goals in both their fixtures, totaling to five, and have scored a total of just one in return. On the other hand, the Mates have the confidence of defeating Chelsea on the road in their opener, and if not for the presence of Ajax in the mix, would have held more leeway in terms of qualification. They also had just a single loss to contend with from their preceding six attempts and won eight of their prior eleven on the road. Furthermore, h2h clashes have always been in favor of the Spanish side, with them holding an unbeaten record so far, and a 100% win streak in the last ten years.