Zenit vs Lyon
Saint-Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg
Wessday, 27-11-2019 @8:55pm
Referee: Daniel Orsato (Ita)
Dayot Upamecano is doubtful for the match due to an ankle injury, while Stefan Ilsanker is ineligible to feature in the Champions League. Chelsea loanee Christian Ampadu is set to start, with the German duo of Lukas Klostermann and Marcel Halstenberg starting in the full-back positions.
Bruno Lage has some injury woes as the Portuguese tactician will miss star forward Haris Seferovic owing to a calf injury.
Benfica have lost all of their last five matches in Germany in European competitions (one in the Europa League and four in the Champions League), with the last win coming way back in 2013 against Bayer Leverkusen. This is only the second meeting between RB Leipzig and SL Benfica, the first being the reverse fixture, wherein Leipzig were 2-1 winners, with Timo Werner scored a brace. Leipzig have locked horns with Portuguese opposition three times, winning two of those games (L1). Should they win, it will be the first instance that Leipzig would have won three consecutive games in European competitions. If Leipzig beat Benfica, the Eagles will become only the second team to register more than one defeat against Die Roten Bullen in European competitions, apart from Zenit St. Petersburg (3 losses).
Valencia vs Chelsea
Estadio Mestalla, Valencia
Wedsday, 27-11-2019 @8:55pm
Referee: Felix Zwayer (Ger)
Callum Hudson-Odoi will miss Chelsea’s Champions League on Wednesday. Hudson-Odoi picked up a minor hamstring injury on England duty, and Chelsea boss Frank Lampard hopes he will be ready to feature in Saturday’s Premier League battle against West Ham. Antonio Rudiger remains sidelined but is closing in on a return from a long-term pelvic problem, while Ross Barkley did not travel to Spain.
Valencia may opt for Kevin Gameiro up front, but Denis Cheryshev’s return from injury may have come too late for this clash.
Valencia have won just one of their seven UEFA Champions League matches against Chelsea (W1 D3 L3), winning 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on MD1 of this season’s competition. In all European competition, Valencia have faced nine English teams in home matches, registering a win over seven of them (Arsenal, Leeds United, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Nottingham Forest and Stoke City), failing against only two opponents – Chelsea (three games) and West Bromwich Albion (one game). Chelsea have lost just one of their last 11 away UEFA Champions League matches in Spain (W3 D7 L1), though it came in their most recent visit in March 2018, a 3-0 reverse at Barcelona in the Last 16. Chelsea are looking to record three consecutive away UEFA Champions League victories for the first time since winning five in a row during the 2003-04 campaign. Valencia are one of five teams yet to score in the first half of a UEFA Champions League game this season, with all six of their goals coming in the second half.
Liverpool vs Napoli
Anfield Stadium, Liverpool
Wednesday, 27-11-2019 @11pm
Referee: Carlos del Cerro (Spa)
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp provided some positive news regarding the fitness of Joel Matip, revealing at his press conference that the Cameroon centre-back is closing in on a return following a knee injury. Xherdan Shaqiri could be included in the squad having now recovered from a calf problem, while Andrew Robertson has not suffered any recurrence of an ankle injury after playing 90 minutes of the 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.
Napoli could be without Arkadiusz Milik and Lorenzo Insigne due to stomach and elbow problems respectively, while Kevin Malcuit is a long-term absentee due to ligament damage.
Liverpool have won both of their home European games against Napoli, winning 3-1 in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League and 1-0 in last season’s UEFA Champions League. In all European competition, this will be Napoli’s 10th away match in England – they’ve won none of their previous nine (W0 D1 L8), facing six different English teams in that time (Arsenal, Burnley, Chelsea, Leeds United, Liverpool and Man City). Since losing 2-0 to Napoli on MD1, Liverpool have won each of their last three UEFA Champions League games – the Reds haven’t won four consecutively since March 2009. Napoli’s José Callejón created 11 chances in their 1-1 draw with FC Red Bull Salzburg on MD4 – the most by a player in a UEFA Champions League match since Mesut Özil created 12 for Real Madrid against Tottenham in April 2011. Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has scored in his last two UEFA Champions League appearances – the only Englishman to score in three in a row for the Reds is Steven Gerrard (five in a row in 2007-08). Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti was the last manager to win an away UEFA Champions League match at Anfield against Liverpool, leading Real Madrid to a 3-0 win in October 2014. No manager has won more away Champions League games in England than Ancelotti (3 – level with José Mourinho and Massimiliano Allegri). Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has lost three UEFA Champions League games against Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti, his joint-most against an opposing manager along with Arsène Wenger. However, Klopp has won both home games against Ancelotti (Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Real Madrid in 2014 and Liverpool 1-0 Napoli in 2018). This is Napoli’s 82nd away match in major UEFA European competition – they’ve only managed consecutive away victories once, winning three in a row in November 2015 in the Europa League.
Genk vs Salzburg
Luminus Arena, Genk
Wednesday, 27-11-2019 @11pm
Referee: Mattias Gestranius (Gre)
Genk haven’t set the world alight in the Champions League this season, picking up just one point in what has been a very tough group for the Belgians. They’ve scored four goals, which hasn’t been a bad return for them but their defensive fragility has been clear to see with 12 goals conceded in just four games. There aren’t many positives for the side but they are still able to qualify for the Europa League; a win here is imperative.
Red Bull Salzburg have been the surprise package in the Champions League so far this season, with the Austrians scoring 12 goals in their four games and the emergence of Erling Haaland as a leading striker meaning they can still qualify for the knockout stages. At the very least, they should be playing in the Europa League after Christmas.
They’ve scored twice as many goals as Napoli, the team currently sitting second in the group, but have conceded three times as many goals. That’s the real problem stopping them from being a true force in the group. Their games see an average of 5.5 goals in the Champions League and they’ll be keen to give their fans plenty to cheer about again in matchweek 5.
This game should see Salzburg assert their dominance again and head into the final group game with a real fighting chance of qualification.
RB Leipzig vs Benfica
Red Bull Arena, Leipzig
Wednesday, 27-11-2019 @11pm
Referee: Jesus Gil (Spa)
Red Bull Leipzig have enjoyed a good Champions League campaign this year with just a 2-0 loss to Lyon in matchweek two being the only blemish. They’ve won their other three games and are on the brink of qualification with just a point needed in this game to assure them a place in the round of 16.
Group G hasn’t been the highest scoring, with an average of 2.87 goals per game, and this remains the case in Leipzig’s games; the Germans’ matches averaging exactly 2.5 goals. Each of their games have finished 2-0 or 2-1 so far and they’ll probably be looking for another tight game, without much to pick from between the two sides.
Despite having obvious talent, Benfica haven’t had a good time in the Champions League with just one win and, although they can still qualify from Group G, they need to win both their final games to stand a chance. Qualification to the Europa League looks a lot more likely.
Their final group game against Zenit looks like it could be a decider for who enters Europe’s second competition at the round of 32.
Both sides will be looking to find the net in this game as they chase down their respective goals for the campaign and this should lead to an open game.
Barcelona vs Dortmund
Estadio Camp Nou, Barcelona
Wednesday, 27-10-2019 @11pm
Referee: Clement Terpin (Fra)
Gerard Pique is suspended for Barcelona while both Nelson Semedo and Jordi Alba have been suspended.
Lucien Favre could ring in the changes after deploying a ‘B’ team in the draw with Paderborn on Friday. Manuel Akanji is likely to return to the backline, at the expense of Julian Weigl. The Swiss international was excellent in the reverse fixture and will once look to build a solid foundation at the back alongside Mats Hummels. Thomas Delany has been ruled out for a year so Julien Weigl will deputise for him.
Barcelona have never lost against Borussia Dortmund in a European match – they have avoided defeat in three previous meetings. Borussia Dortmund’s only previous away European match at Camp Nou was in January 1998, in the first leg of the European Supercup final – they lost 2-0. Barcelona have won 13 of their 15 home Champions League matches against German opponents – their two defeats have both been against FC Bayern Munich. Dortmund won their first away Champions League match in Spain in October 1996, winning 1-0 at Atletico Madrid. Since then, they’ve drawn three and lost six of their nine visits. Barcelona’s 0-0 draw with Slavia Prague on MD4 was only the 11th time in 124 home Champions League matches they’ve failed to score – they have never failed to do so in back to back home matches in the competition.
Slavia Praha vs Inter Milan
Sinobo Stadium, Praha
Wednesday, 27-11-2019 @11pm
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Pol)
Wednesday’s trip to Slavia Prague is a must-win game for Inter Milan. The visitors are three points shy of Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League group, but the Italians have the crucial head-to-head advantage following their double header. Now Inter need to match Borussia’s win in the Czech Republic and hope Barcelona can do them a favour elsewhere.
The hosts are bottom of Group F, but things could have turned out very differently had they held on to their lead in San Siro in the opening round of matches. Slavia have failed to win since, but they have proved to be a test for every side in the group so far. Will they push the Nerazzurri in their final home match of the group stage?
Inter come here fresh from yet another Serie A victory, with the visitors still chasing down Juventus. They remain a point shy of the Old Lady as we head towards the winter break. While domestic affairs remain their main concern, Inter will look at this group with two games to go and see an opportunity. They can take it down to the final game should they claim a victory in Prague this week.
The good news for Inter is away form has been pretty solid for them this season. They’ve won every Serie A away day, while they’ve scored twice or more in each of their seven away league wins this season. Across those seven, Inter have scored 18 goals, including three at Torino at the weekend. They are aiming to improve on their consecutive away defeats in this group, but Inter can be confident after scoring twice home and away to Dortmund in their previous two in Europe.
The visitors are backed up by in-form forward Lautaro Martínez. He has scored in his last three Uefa Champions League appearances for Inter – he could become the fifth Argentinian to score in four consecutively, after Hernan Crespo (2002), Lionel Messi (six occasions), Sergio Agüero (2019) and Ezequiel Lavezzi (2013). Meanwhile, Romelu Lukaku scored his 10th goal in 11 matches for club and country at the weekend.
With Inter in scoring form, Slavia should be worried.
Lille vs Ajax
Stadio Pierre Mauroy, Villanuava d’Ascq
Wednesday, 27-11-2019 @11pm
Referee: Felix Brych (Ger)
Lille have had a really poor Champions League campaign, picking up a solitary point, and being unable to qualify for the knockout stages. Even their passage to the Europa League looks incredibly unlikely with the side needing to win their final two games, needing at least one other side in the group to lose both of their games and overturn a 7 goal deficit.
It doesn’t look likely that Lille will be in continental competition after Christmas.
The French side have certainly had chances, averaging 4.5 shots on target per match but they’ve only scored three and have, defensively, been awful with 10 goals conceded in four matches. There isn’t much confidence within the side and without much to play for it’s hard to see how Lille can come out of the game with a positive result.
Ajax, on the other hand, have had a great campaign so far, at least in front of goal. They’ve had 3-0 wins over both Lille and Valencia and their 4-4 draw with Chelsea in the last matchweek showcased both their attacking prowess and defensive frailties. The goals they have scored have put them top of the group but their qualification is by no means assured with both Chelsea and Valencia sitting on 7 points with the Dutch champions.