We’ve reached the business end of proceedings in the Champions League group stages, and it’s a case of make or break for many clubs on Matchday 5.
With Bayern Munich and Manchester City already advancing from Group D, the battle for qualification spots in Groups A to C is heating up.
Here are some predictions ahead of Wednesday’s action before we take a further look at three crucial ties.
|Nov. 27, 5 p.m. GMT||D||Arena Khimki||CSKA Moscow vs. Bayern Munich||Bayern win, 3-0|
|Nov. 27, 7:45 p.m. GMT||D||Etihad Stadium||Man City vs. Plzen||City win, 4-1|
|Nov. 27, 7:45 p.m. GMT||A||BayArena||Bayer Leverkusen vs. Man United||United win, 2-1|
|Nov. 27, 7:45 p.m. GMT||A||Donbass Arena||Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Real Sociedad||Shakhtar win, 2-0|
|Nov. 27, 7:45 p.m. GMT||B||Santiago Bernabeu||Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray||Real win, 4-1|
|Nov. 27, 7:45 p.m. GMT||B||Juventus Stadium||Juventus vs. Copenhagen||Juve win, 2-1|
|Nov. 27, 7:45 p.m. GMT||C||Constant Vanden Stock Stadium||Anderlecht vs. Benfica||Benfica win, 2-1|
|Nov. 27, 7:45 p.m. GMT||C||Parc des Princes||PSG vs. Olympiacos||PSG win, 3-1|
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Manchester United
United will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing draw in Cardiff when they travel to Germany to take on Bayer Leverkusen.
One point separates the sides in Group A, with the Red Devils on top with eight points. Shakhtar Donetsk, who host Real Sociedad this week, sit third with five points.
When United and Bayer met at Old Trafford, the home side secured a 4-2 victory. Wayne Rooney excelled with a free role that night, so Leverkusen boss Sami Hyypia will be wary of affording him so much space this time around.
Another man that shined in Manchester that evening was Antonio Valencia. The winger produced his best game of the season, and he terrorised the Leverkusen back line with his pace.
Both sides have conceded roughly a goal per game in their respective domestic leagues, so goals can be expected when they clash at the BayArena.
United should have enough to collect all three points. David Moyes has more talented personnel in the attacking third of the pitch, and that will make the difference in Germany.
Juventus vs. Copenhagen
Juventus currently languish at the bottom of Group B with three draws and a loss in their opening four games.
The Serie A side should be better placed with the talent at their disposal, but despite their rocky start they should still qualify for the knockout stages.
Conte: We've been facing decisive games for two and a half years, with great pressure and responsibility. #JuveCopenhagen is one of these.— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) November 26, 2013
Juventus drew their previous game with Copenhagen in Denmark, but they have started to hit some form of late. They sit top of Serie A with 11 wins from 13, and they are unbeaten in their last six games across all competitions.
Although Copenhagen will put up a plucky challenge in Turin, expect Juventus’ talent to shine through. With Andrea Pirlo’s wily head, Paul Pogba’s youthful talent and Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente up front, Juventus have the beating of most teams.
Antonio Conte has an excellent mixture of experience and youth in his side. If they can find their way in their last two group games then they will pose a threat in the knock-out stages.
PSG vs. Olympiacos
PSG and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are on a mission this season to get their hands on Europe’s most coveted prize for the first time.
Ibrahimovic’s Champions League goalscoring duel with Cristiano Ronaldo will continue this week. The most goals anyone has ever scored in the group stages is eight, with Cristiano Ronaldo this season equaling Ruud van Nistelrooy's, Filippo Inzaghi's and Hernan Crespo’s previous hauls of eight, per UEFA.
Ronaldo can take sole ownership of that record with two games left to play, but Ibrahimovic, who currently sits on seven goals, will challenge also.
PSG and Olympiacos sit first and second in Group C with 10 and seven points, and while the Parisian outfit will be eager to finish top spot, they will be wary of the Greek side.
Olympiacos’ in-form striker, Kostas Mitroglou, has bagged three goals and one assist in the tournament this season, and he will be high on confidence after leading his country to next year’s World Cup with three goals in their play-off win over Romania.
Having said that, PSG have talent in abundance, and if they can play to their potential then they should ease past Olympiacos.
Keep an eye on Thiago Motta in midfield for the home side. The Italian, who was on the bench when Barcelona won in 2006 and suspended when Inter Milan won in 2010, has been central to PSG's success this campaign.
He has assisted three goals and scored two in Europe this season. Not bad for a guy considered to be a defensive midfielder.