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So Who will Claim the Final Glory?


So Who will Claim the Final Glory?

Some teams are through, some still have work to do, while some have long fallen by the wayside. Yet, these football games will decide who grabs the final qualifying spots, as well as determine the betting odds for the knockout stages. And remember this sports betting fans: it’s not always an advantage to top your group.

GROUP STAGE: TUESDAY

Benfica vs FC Basel

What a disappointment this campaign has been for the Portuguese club. They were top seeds when the draw was made yet find themselves bottom, without a point and without Europe after this encounter. Can they ruin the hopes of their Swiss opponents and avoid the ignominy of losing all six matches?

Manchester United vs CSKA Moscow

United were in magnificent form in Moscow in late September. That night Romelu Lukaku scored twice in the opening 26 minutes in a 4-1 rout. He could do with some more goals now, after a fairly barren spell, to boost his confidence and seal United’s spot in the last 16.

Celtic vs Anderlecht

A winner-takes-all showdown to decide which club still has European competition to look forward to after Christmas. Celtic are in the box seat, knowing a draw or even a narrow defeat will still secure a place in the Europa League knockout stages. The Belgians can’t be ruled out completely, however, after reaching the quarter-finals of the competition last season.

Bayern Munich vs Paris Saint-Germain

A clash of the big guns but a fairly secondary one given both sides have already qualified. The Germans sacked Carlo Ancelotti after they went down 3-0 in Paris in September. They now need to win this by more than three goals to top Group B but won’t worry too much about that. Don’t be surprised if these clubs meet again later in the competition.

AS Roma vs Qarabag Aghdam

It’s in Roma’s hands. They were third favourites in Group C but win this and Atletico Madrid are out. With Radja Nainggolan and Diego Perotti set to return, it’s hard to imagine the Giallorossi not progressing against the minnows from Azerbaijan.

Barcelona vs Sporting Lisbon

Barca are home and hosed and will top the group no matter what happens in this one. Perhaps it would be in their interests for Sporting to win and pile the pressure on Juventus, who are also chasing the second spot in Group D. Sporting have nothing to lose and will surely attack in the Nou Camp.

Olympiacos vs Juventus

After taking just one point from their five matches so far, the Greek club will be glad to see the end of this campaign. After a superb Serie A victory at Napoli, courtesy of that man again – Gonzalo Higuain – Juventus could not have asked for a better build-up. Last season’s beaten finalists know the drill and should be too strong.

GROUP STAGE: WEDNESDAY

Liverpool vs Spartak Moscow

After being pegged back by Sevilla, the Merseysiders can ill afford a further slip-up. Just like the situation facing Juventus, Liverpool know what they have to do and should be too strong. But beware, the Russians held Liverpool at home and know victory would clinch their own place in the competition next spring.

NK Maribor vs Sevilla

After their superb comeback last time out, surely Sevilla will book their spot in the last 16 draw? They could yet top the group, depending on the result at Anfield. The Slovenian minnows are certain to finish bottom.

Feyenoord vs Napoli

After losing the leadership of Serie A, a second blow for Napoli in the form of a Champions League exit would arguably prove pivotal in their season. The Neapolitans need to win in Holland and then wait for the other result in their group. With a goal difference of minus 10 and played five, lost five, it’s been a miserable time for Feyenoord.

Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City

Avoid defeat and the Ukrainians are through. With City long confirmed as group winners and perhaps lacking intensity, this could be the incentive Donetsk need. After PSG, City have been the most impressive side in Europe so far this season. Money talks!

FC Porto vs AS Monaco

The final act for Monaco in a European campaign which contrasts sharply with last season. Failing to win any of their five matches wasn’t expected one bit, despite an exodus of players in the summer. Porto will be guaranteed second place if they win.

RB Leipzig vs Besiktas

Arguably the most interesting game of the night. Last season’s surprise package in the Bundesliga need to go for it and hope the other result goes their way. The Turks are already through as group winners.

Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund

What a fixture this has been in recent years. Not anymore, as Dortmund sold so many of their best players. The European champions have not been at their best but expect an improvement after the winter break.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Apoel Nicosia

The Cypriots have two more points than many expected after being placed in the group of death. Their first trip to Wembley should be a memorable occasion for the club. For Spurs, already confirmed as group winners, it’s been an impressive campaign featuring victory and a draw with Madrid.

 

 

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