Champions League Predictions 2013-14: Full Picks and Top Stars for Matchday 5

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24:  Alvaro Negredo (L) of Manchester City celebrates his team's fifth goal with Sergio Aguero (C) and Samir Nasri during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

With only two matches remaining in the group stages of the Champions League, time is running out for the top squads to earn a spot in the knockout round.

Two clubs—Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid—remain perfect heading into Matchday 5 with four wins in four matches. These teams and a few others have already clinched a spot in the Round of 16.

However, the majority of the field is still up for grabs.

The matchups on Tuesday and Wednesday will go a long way toward deciding the rest of the bracket. Here is a look at what to expect in the upcoming week of games. 

Champions League Schedule - Tuesday, Nov. 26
Time (ET)HomePredicted ScoreAway
2:45 p.m.FC Basel0-2Chelsea
2:45 p.m.Steaua Bucuresti1-0Schalke 04
2:45 p.m.Arsenal3-1Marseille
2:45 p.m.Borussia Dortmund2-1Napoli
NoonZenit St. Petersburg1-2Atletico Madrid
2:45 p.m.FC Porto1-1Austria Vienna
2:45 p.m.Ajax Amsterdam1-3Barcelona
2:45 p.m.Celtic0-1AC Milan
Schedule via ESPN FC
Champions League Schedule - Wednesday, Nov. 27
Time (ET)HomePredicted ScoreAway
2:45 p.m.Bayer Leverkusen1-1Manchester United
2:45 p.m.Shakhtar Donetsk2-0Real Sociedad
2:45 p.m.Juventus2-1FC Copenhagen
2:45 p.m.Real Madrid4-1Galatasaray
2:45 p.m.Anderlecht1-1Benfica
2:45 p.m.Paris Saint-Germain2-0Olympiakos
12 p.m.CSKA Moscow0-3Bayern Munich
2:45 p.m.Manchester City4-1Viktoria Plzen
Schedule via ESPN FC

 

Top Matches

Borussia Dortmund vs. Napoli

MALAGA, SPAIN - APRIL 03:  Robert Lewandowski of Borussia Dortmund duels for the ball with Manuel Rolando Iturra of Malaga CF during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg match between Malaga CF and Borussia Dortmund at La Rosaleda Stadium on
David Ramos/Getty Images

It's becoming obvious that Group F is the toughest group in the competition. Arsenal and Napoli are each tied on top with nine points, although Borussia Dortmund are not far behind with six points.

Even Marseille are not an easy victory, despite the four losses to start the tournament.

However, this match can go a long way toward deciding which team will advance to the next round. Napoli got the better of Dortmund at home the first time these sides faced each other, but the German squad proved last year that it can play with the best in Europe.

With Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus on one side and Gonzalo Higuain on the other, there should be plenty of action in this battle. However, the home field should give Dortmund the slight advantage in this one.

 

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Manchester United

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 05:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Real Sociedad de Futbol and Manchester United at Estadio Anoeta on November 5, 2013 in San Sebastian, Spain.  (Photo by
David Ramos/Getty Images

Manchester United are finally playing better in the English Premier League to get back up to sixth in the league table. Unfortunately, a recent draw against Real Sociedad puts the club in trouble going forward.

Even though United currently sit in first place, a spot in the next round is not guaranteed. This is especially true considering their only score in the last two UCL matches came on an own goal.

They need Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney to step up on the attack and do what it takes to get the ball into the back of the net.

Bayer Leverkusen are no pushover with seven points in four matches. A win and a Shakhtar Donetsk loss or tie puts them in the Round of 16. If Sidney Sam or Stefan Kiessling came through offensively, they will earn a win.

 

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Olympiakos

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 05:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of PSG in action during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Paris Saint Germain and RSC Anderlecht at Parc des Princes on November 5, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images)
Harry Engels/Getty Images

This group seemed all but over heading into the last round of matches, but there were some surprises earlier in the month. Olympiakos earned a 1-0 win over Benfica while Paris Saint-Germain could only manage a home draw against Anderlecht.

If Olympiakos can grab a win in this match, they will have a chance to win the group and have an easier time of going deep in this tournament. At the very least, it would clinch a spot in the next round.

Unfortunately, PSG are likely to be too good to falter in this one. The French club is loaded offensively with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani, and the defense makes few mistakes. This should result in an easy home win that allows them to rest up for the future contests.

 

Stars to Watch

Gonzalo Higuain, Napoli

NAPLES, ITALY - NOVEMBER 06:  Gonzalo Higuain of Napoli celebrates after scoring their second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between SSC Napoli and Olympique de Marseille at Stadio San Paolo on November 6, 2013 in Naples, Italy.  (Pho
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

After being one of the most expensive transfers of the summer, Gonzalo Higuain is off to a solid start with his new club, scoring five goals with three assists in 12 league matches. He has also excelled in the Champions League with three goals in three starts.

He will need to keep this up to help his team win on the road against Borussia Dortmund. Jose Callejon and Marek Hamsik have the ability to help him out on the attack, but Higuain is the most talented scorer on the squad.

If he is contained by the German side, Napoli will have some trouble.

 

Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24:  Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates his second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo b
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Manchester City are simply incredible when playing at home. Bayern Munich did earn a win at the Etihad Stadium, but the remaining opponents have provided little resistance. 

Not only have City won all six of their league matches at home this year, but they have also outscored opponents 26-2 in those matches.

There are plenty of stars to watch on this roster, but Sergio Aguero has truly stood out. The young player has 15 goals this season in UCL and EPL play, and he is showing he is one of the best goalscorers in Europe.

 

Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 23:  Diego Costa (C) of Club Atletico de Madrid scores his team's 5th goal during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Getafe CF at Vicente Calderon Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

While Atletico Madrid might not play their stars after clinching first place in the group, fans will certainly hope to see more Diego Costa if possible.

The Brazilian has been one of the most underrated players on one of the most underrated clubs in the world this year. The Spanish squad currently sits in second place in La Liga and has been dominant in UCL play. Meanwhile, Costa has been the leader every step of the way.

With 14 league goals and a few more in international play, Costa has been excellent all year and should keep that going this week.   

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

Follow TheRobGoldberg on Twitter