Champions League Predictions 2013-14: Full Picks and Top Stars for Matchday 6

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10:  Robin van Persie of Manchester United celebrates at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on November 10, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The Champions League has already advanced to the final week of group play. This means there will be teams clawing for three points to secure their advancement into the next stage of competition or simply to help secure their position for the next stage.

In this shimmering spotlight, the stage is set for players to carve out their legends.

Check out my full picks for Matchday 6, and then I'll highlight the three players I expect to shine the brightest in these upcoming matches.


Champions League Week 6 Fixtures and Predictions
Real Sociedad vs. Bayer LeverkusenTuesday, Dec. 107:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET0-1
Manchester United vs. Shakhtar DonetskTuesday, Dec. 107:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET2-1
Galatasaray vs. JuventusTuesday, Dec. 107:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET2-2
Copenhagen vs. Real MadridTuesday, Dec. 107:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET1-3
Benfica vs. PSGTuesday, Dec. 107:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET1-1
Olympiakos vs. AnderlechtTuesday, Dec. 107:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET2-1
Bayern Munich vs. Manchester CityTuesday, Dec. 107:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET3-2
Viktoria Plzen vs. CSKA MoscowTuesday, Dec. 107:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET1-2
Schalke vs. BaselWednesday, Dec. 117:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET2-2
Chelsea vs. Steaua BucharestWednesday, Dec. 117:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET3-1
Marseille vs. Borussia DortmundWednesday, Dec. 117:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET1-2
Napoli vs. ArsenalWednesday, Dec. 117:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET1-2
Austria Wien vs. Zenit St. PetersburgWednesday, Dec. 117:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET1-3
Atletico Madrid vs. PortoWednesday, Dec. 117:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET1-0
Milan vs. AjaxWednesday, Dec. 117:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET1-1
Barcelona vs. CelticWednesday, Dec. 117:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET3-0

Top Stars

Robin van Persie, Manchester United

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United chats with team-mate Robin Van Persie  during a first team training session, ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group A match against Shakhtar Donetsk, at Aon Training Complex on Decem
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Manchester United have been scuffling a bit in the Premier League. In the Champions League, however, they've been cruising along. United sit three points clear in their group of second-place Shakhtar Donetsk. That is the same Shakhtar Donetsk that Robin van Persie will help the Red Devils send to defeat in Matchday 6. 

The Dutch striker recently returned to fitness and the pitch to grab his first action since Nov. 10, as the Red Devils fell to Newcastle at Old Trafford this past Sunday. 

That match, van Persie was not able to enjoy playing alongside Wayne Rooney since Rooney was forced to miss the match due to a suspension. Rooney and van Persie should be reunited for this match, and the multi-faceted attack will open up space for van Persie. 

Donetsk have been stingy in Champions League play, having allowed just five goals in group play. They have yet to face an attack with the firepower of United, however, and van Persie will test goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov early and often on his way to picking up a brace. 


Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid

ALMERIA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 23: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF wins a header during the La Liga match between UD Almeria and Real Madrid CF at Estadio de Los Juegos Mediterraneos on November 23, 2013 in Almeria, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

With a seven-point lead in Group B, Real Madrid have already accomplished the heavy lifting of group play. This certainly strips their match with Copenhagen of urgency, but talisman Cristiano Ronaldo can score non-urgent goals as well as urgent ones. 

There is simply no stopping this superstar. Ronaldo has scored at least one goal in each of his last seven matches, including an iconic hat trick against Sweden to lift Portugal into the World Cup.

Ronaldo could add another hat trick in this game. Coppenhagen have picked up just four points in group play and have allowed 11 goals.

With eight combined goals in his last four UCL contests, Ronaldo has been making easy work of the Champions League. That will continue in this match.


Mario Gotze, Bayern Munich

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUGUST 29:  Mario Gotze of FC Bayern Munchen during a training session prior to the UEFA Super Cup match between FC Bayern Munchen and Chelsea at Stadion Eden on August 29, 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Shaun Botteril
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

In one of Matchday 6's most anticipated encounters, Bayern Munich will host Manchester City, as the two leaders of Group D clash.

Although the Citizens have the firepower to deal with the German powerhouse, Manchester City have not been nearly as effective on the road as they have been at home. 

Given this, I was able to select Munich with confidence to win this match, and Mario Gotze will be a big reason why. 

First, we must get this out of the way: The 21-year-old has a slight health concern, but it doesn't sound like it should keep him out of action.

Meanwhile, it doesn't sound like Munich will face a full-strength City side.

As Alex Fisher of noted, City boss Manuel Pellegrini is on record as saying he will feature some squad players as he keeps his eye on Saturday's Premier League battle with Arsenal. He also noted that struggling Joe Hart would be in goal. 

All of this paves the way for a victory by Bayern, and Gotze, as he often is, will be at the center of it.

As Fisher also noted, Munich will be without Arjen Robben. This will put even more emphasis on Gotze's playmaking, and he will dazzle.