Napoli vs Genk
Stadio San Paolo, Naples
Tuesday, 10-12-2019 @8:55pm
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Tur)
Napoli’s fate remains firmly in their own hands as they bid to progress to the knockout stages of the UCL despite their poor recent form. Napoli are now on a run of nine matches without a victory in all competitions with their last win coming on matchday 3 against Salzburg. If Napoli are to pick up the point they need, they may have to do so without influential midfielder Allan who is an injury doubt.
Genk cannot progress from Group E but will be desperate to end their campaign on a high having earned just one point so far. The Belgian side have endured a poor run of late but earned their first win in nine matches in all competitions by winning at the weekend. Genk have a relatively healthy squad with long-term absentees Danny Vukovic and Bryan Heynen sidelined along with Jere Uronen.
Tuesday’s match will be a particularly special one for Kalidou Koulibaly, who joined Napoli from Genk in 2014 following a two-year spell with the Belgian club during which time he made 64 league appearances. The hosts will be without Kevin Malcuit, Faouzi Ghoulam and Allan for this match due to injury, while Arkadiusz Milik is also expected to miss out again as he continues to struggle with a stomach problem.
Nikola Maksimovic had been expected to come back into the side after sitting out at the weekend, but he is now a major doubt having pulled up in training on Sunday. Genk, meanwhile, are still without long-term absentees Bryan Heynen and first-choice goalkeeper Danny Vukovic due to ACL and Achilles injuries respectively. Maarten Vandevoordt appears to have usurped Gaetan Coucke in the pecking order for the latter position, with the 17-year-old set for his first-ever Champions League appearance.
RB Salzburg vs Liverpool
Red Bull Arena, Salzburg
Tuesday, 10-12-2019 @8:55pm
Referee: Danny Makkelie (Hol)
Dejan Lovren has trained with the Liverpool squad ahead of their final Champions League group match against Red Bull Salzburg after being substituted with an injury during the first half of the Kops victory over Bournemouth this past weekend. Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana could also return against Salzburg after missing the win over Bournemouth. However, Liverpool will be without injured centre-back Joel Matip, who remains sidelined with a knee problem and has not featured for the team since October 20.
Red Bull Salzburg are set to be without Alexander Walke, Antoine Bernede, Patrick Farkas and Sekou Koita.
This will be the second competitive meeting between FC Salzburg and Liverpool, following their clash on MD2 in which the Reds won 4-3, despite leading 3-0 after 36 minutes at Anfield. Liverpool have won five of their seven games against Austrian sides in all European competition (W5 D1 L1), losing only to Grazer AK in a Champions League qualifier in August 2004. FC Salzburg have lost four of their five matches against English opposition in all European competition, conceding at least twice in every match (13 in total). At home, Salzburg drew 2-2 vs Blackburn in September 2006 (UEFA Cup) and lost 0-2 vs Man City in September 2010 (Europa League). Liverpool have only won two of their last 11 Champions League away group stage games (W2 D3 L6), losing four of the last five (W1). The Reds last won consecutive away group games in the competition back in September 2008 under Rafa Benitez. FC Salzburg have won 15 and lost just one of their last 20 home games in European competition (inc. qualifiers), with that defeat coming last time out on home soil vs Napoli. Neither Liverpool or FC Red Bull Salzburg have kept a UEFA Champions League clean sheet this season. The Reds could become only the second reigning champion to fail to keep a clean sheet in their first six matches of the following campaign, after Real Madrid in 2016-17 (first 10 games). FC Salzburg striker Erling Haaland has scored in all five of his UEFA Champions League games so far, scoring eight goals and averaging a goal every 37 minutes. No player has ever scored in their first six appearances in the competition. Since the start of the 2017-18 campaign, the two players with the most UEFA Champions League assists are Liverpool duo Roberto Firmino and James Milner with 11 each. Only Spurs (17) and Bayern Munich (21) have scored more goals than FC Red Bull Salzburg (16) this season. Since 2003-04, the most goals scored by a side in the group stage to be eliminated is 16 scored by Chelsea in the 2012-13 campaign – they went on to win the Europa League. Liverpool conceded three goals from five shots on target on MD2 against FC Salzburg; the most goals they’ve conceded against an opponent in the Champions League group stage is five, against Galatasaray in 2006-07 and Sevilla in 2017-18.
Benfica vs Zenit
Estadio da Luz, Lisbon
Tuesday, 10-12-2019 @11pm
Referee: Antonio Mateu (Spa)
Zenit St Petersburg may need to do something they have not achieved for two years to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League – win away from home in Europe.
Group G is among the tightest pools this season and the only team out of contention to qualify are Benfica, who can only avoid finishing bottom of the table, and thus go into the Europa League by claiming third position, with a resounding victory over Zenit.
So this match is all about whether Zenit can at least match what Lyon do at home to RB Leipzig. If Lyon win, Zenit would need to do likewise in Lisbon – and you have to go back to December 2017 to find the last time the Russian champions triumphed on their continental travels, which was against Real Sociedad in the Europa League.
That really does not bode well for Zenit, who did at least taste success at the Estadio da Luz by a 2-0 scoreline in the 2014-15 Champions League group phase.
As for Benfica, they blew their chances to progress last time out in Leipzig where they looked to be strolling to victory at 2-0 up but then conceded two late goals scored by Emil Forsberg, including a penalty, to draw 2-2.
The Portuguese champions have had a surprisingly poor time of it in Europe’s elite club competition over the last few seasons, certainly since they reached the quarter-finals four years ago.
Benfica have struggled in the UCL this year and are unable to qualify for the knockout stage with one game remaining in Group G. The Portuguese side are unbeaten in their last six in all competitions and can still advance to the UEL if they better a 3-1 scoreline. Benfica could name the same side that featured in their 4-1 win at the weekend with that looking like their strongest XI available to them.
Zenit can progress to the last 16 of the UCL with any result in their final game but a lot will also depend on the other match in Group G. The Russians will progress if Lyon are beaten by RB Leipzig but will be eliminated if the French side come out on top of their game. Zenit have several injuries to contend with and their task has been made even more difficult due to Rakitskiy and Kuzyaev being suspended.
Lyon vs RB Leipzig
Groupama Stadium, Lyon
Tuesday, 10-12-2019 @11pm
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Eng)
Lyon host RB Leipzig for their Group G showdown on Tuesday evening with a lot more to play for, as they look to challenge Zenit for a top 2 spot on the final day of the Champions League Group stage – having dropped the spot with a 2-0 loss in St Petersburg two weeks ago.
Les Gones have been quite unpredictable and saw such a run costly at Groupama Stadium lately too, as Lille (0-1) snatched all three points to end their three-match winning streak here. Still, Rudi Garcia’s men bounced with a 0-4 win over Nimes on Friday and it feels they get ground to build on despite more of a challenge expected now.
Indeed, RB Leipzig secured their spot in the knockout stages with a 2-2 draw against Benfica as they have better head-to-head records against chasers Zenit. However, Julian Nagelsmann’s men boast great records of recent and will surely want to keep hold of their unbeaten streak across competitions.
Die Bullen beat Hoffenheim (3-1) on Saturday and earned their seventh win along the way, with only the thrilling draw against Benfica interrupting the streak. They’ve been scoring numbers of goals on the regular and this could be even more worrying for the crowd in Decines-Charpieu, promising an exciting game once again despite no high stakes involved.
Lyon beat Nimes (0-4) on Friday to bounce from their 0-1 home loss to Lille seen seven days ago. RB Leipzig have been convincing as they beat Hoffenheim (3-1) and extended their eight-match unbeaten streak. Les Gones snatched the points in Leipzig (0-2) with goals from Depay and Terrier
Dortmund vs Slavia Praha
Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund
Tuesday, 10-12-2019 @11pm
Referee: Sergey Karasev (Rus)
Lucien Favre could persist with a three-man backline again, especially with the injury to both Thomas Delaney and Axel Witsel, both of whom are ruled out for the rest of the year. It could pave the way for Julian Brandt to be withdrawn into a midfield role, with Julian Weigl playing alongside.
It won’t be surprising to see Slavia play attacking football with a high line of press since they have nothing to lose. Hence, we expect Nicolae Stanciu to start in the advanced midfield role. He will be tasked with the responsibility of providing the creative essence going forward.
Borussia Dortmund have won seven of their 11 matches against teams from the Czech Republic, including winning their first-ever match with Slavia Praha in this season’s Champions League. Slavia Praha are yet to win an away game in the Champions League, drawing each of their last three outings in the competition. Borussia Dortmund have only lost two of their last 15 Champions League group stage games at Signal Iduna Park, losing against Spurs in November 2017 and Real Madrid in September 2017. Since Peter Olayinka’s goal against Inter Milan, Slavia Praha hasn’t attempted a shot on target in an away UEFA Champions League game, a run of 117 minutes without one. Dortmund are looking to reach the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League in consecutive seasons for the first time since doing so in three consecutively between 2012-13 and 2014-15.
Inter Milan vs Barcelona
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan
Tuesday, 10-12-2019 @11pm
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Hol)
Antonio Conte has a couple of fresh injury concerns to contend with ahead of the visit of Barcelona. On Tuesday, the Inter Milan boss could be without as many as six first-team players, with the wing-back slots posing some concern. Antonio Candreva (back) and Kwadwo Asamoah (knee) are major doubts for the Barcelona game and are likely to miss out. In addition to the duo, Nicolo Barella (knee), Roberto Gagliardini (foot), Stefano Sensi (thigh) and Alexis Sanchez (ankle) are also on the sidelines and will play not a part against Barcelona.
Ernesto Valverde is set to make some rotations when Barcelona next take the field against Inter Milan. Without four first-team players due to injury troubles, Valverde has also decided to rest Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto and captain Lionel Messi, leaving the trio behind in Barcelona. Those who miss out through fitness issues are Nelson Semedo (calf), Jordi Alba (hamstring), Arthur (groin) and Ousmane Dembele (thigh). With Semedo unavailable due to his injury and Roberto rested, Moussa Wague will get a rare opportunity to impress at the right side of the Barcelona defence.
Barcelona have secured first place in their Champions League group for the 21st time, and a 13th season in a row – both competition records. Inter Milan have been victorious in only two of their last nine UEFA Champions League matches (D3 L4). Barcelona have won only five of their last 15 matches on the road in European competition (D6 L4). Barcelona’s next UEFA Champions League win will be their 150th; only Real Madrid have reached that landmark in the competition so far. Inter Milan are unbeaten in their last nine games against Spanish opposition at San Siro (W3 D6) stretching back to a 2-0 loss to Alaves in the 2000-01 UEFA Cup fourth round. That is their sole defeat at home to a Spanish club in 19 fixtures (W9 D9).
Chelsea vs Lille
Stamford Bridge, London
Tuesday, 10-12-2019 @11pm
Referee: Anastasios Sidiropoulos (Gre)
Chelsea and Lille’s only previous competitive meeting in any competition came in October of this season’s Champions League, with the London club earning a 2-1 win. Chelsea have only lost one of their eight previous home games against French sides in the Champions League (W4 D3), although that was their last such fixture, a 1-2 loss to PSG in March 2016. Lille’s only win in six away games at English sides across all European competitions came at Aston Villa in the Intertoto Cup in August 2002 (2-0) – they have failed to score in each of their other five such matches in England (D1 L4). If Chelsea qualifies to the knockout stages following this game, Frank Lampard will be the first English manager to progress a team from the Champions League group stage – having taken charge of all six group games – since his uncle Harry Redknapp with Spurs in 2010-11. Lille have taken just one point in the Champions League this season (W0 D1 L4) – under the current group stage format, the only French side with fewer in a single campaign in the competition was Marseille in 2013-14 (0). Chelsea are winless in their last five Champions League games at Stamford Bridge (D4 L1); their longest run without a win in the competition on home soil. Chelsea have had eight different goalscorers in the Champions League this season – excluding own goals, no team have had more than the Blues coming into this final group stage matchday. Lille have scored with just 3.9 per cent of their shots in the Champions League this season (3/78). Coming into MD6, only Galatasaray (2.3 per cent) have posted a lower shot conversion rate in the competition this term. Willian has scored 10 goals for Chelsea in the Champions League, while a goal in this game would make him their outright fourth-highest scorer in the competition, behind Didier Drogba (36), Frank Lampard (23) and Nicolas Anelka (12). Victor Osimhen has netted two of Lille’s three goals in the Champions League this season, although both games he has scored in have ended in defeat (1-2 vs Chelsea and 1-4 vs Valencia).
Antonio Rudiger is ready to return from a groin problem for Chelsea’s Champions League clash with Lille at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. Fikayo Tomori has a minor hip complaint so will miss out, paving the way for fit-again Germany defender Rudiger to make his first appearance since September. Olivier Giroud misses out again, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is still sidelined with his long-term heel issue.
Swansea loanee Renato Sanches is expected to start for Lille, but former Chelsea forward Loic Remy may have to settle for a place on the bench. Timothy Weah, the son of former Chelsea striker George Weah, is a long-term absentee with a leg injury. Defender Adama Soumaoro is also set to miss out with a thigh problem while Reinildo faces a late test on an ankle injury.
Ajax vs Valencia
Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam
Tuesday, 10-12-2019 @11pm
Referee: Clement Turpin (Fra)
Ajax are in a strong position to advance to the last 16 as they head into this top of Group H but need at least a point to be sure. The Dutch side come into this on the back of a shock loss to Willem II in the Eredivisie but that might help to focus them for this contest. Ajax will name their strongest available side for this one but continue to be without the presence of David Neres because of injury.
Valencia’s late point against Chelsea could turn out to be crucial and has put their qualification fate in their own hands. They must beat Ajax to seal their spot in the last 16 but will also progress by matching Chelsea’s result against Lille in the other game. The Spaniards have a long list of unavailable players and could be without ‘keeper Jasper Cillessen after he was forced off at the weekend.
Ajax will be without the services of David Neres due to a knee injury, while Zakaria Labyad is unlikely to be available until the early stages of 2020 due to a knee problem of his own. Quincy Promes is also a doubt having missed out against Willem II on Friday with a muscular problem, but Ten Haag has no fresh injury concerns from last week’s Eredivise clash. What’s more, both Daley Blind and Joel Veltman will be available after serving European suspensions. The fact that the Dutch side have issues in the final third could see experienced forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar start, while there will also be a spot for Hakim Ziyech, who has incredibly provided 20 assists in just 25 appearances at club level during the 2019-20 campaign.
As for Valencia, Cristiano Piccini, Goncalo Guedes, Denis Cheryshev and Geoffrey Kondogbia remain on the treatment table, but Jaume Costa and Ezequiel Garay both made their returns from injury at the weekend. The visitors could be without number one goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, though, with the Netherlands international in a race to recover from the injury that he picked up against Levante. Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo Moreno are likely to start in the final third of the field, while Francis Coquelin could be given the nod over Daniel Wass in the middle of the park.