Real Sociedad vs Man United
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Bayer Leverkusen
A victory at Real Sociedad will place Manchester United on the brink of qualification from a tricky Group A. Having already collected seven points from three matches, the Red Devils are in good form and have been slotting in the goals lately. Sociedad, though, is itself coming off a thumping 5-0 win over Osasuna at the weekend. However, Jagoba Arrasate’s side has not won any of its last four European matches at the Anoeta Stadium.
With Sociedad yet to collect a point, the battle for the second place is being fought by Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar Donetsk. The German side incredibly thrashed Donetsk 4-0 in the previous round of matches. However, the Ukrainians are a different proposition at home. Neither does Leverkusen travel well. Though Sami Hyppia’s side has reached the knockout rounds in its last two Champions League appearances, it has done so without an away win in the group stage.
Sociedad 44 %, United 56%
Shakhtar 48 %, Leverkusen 52%
FC Copenhagen vs Galatasaray
Juventus vs Real Madrid
With los blancos sitting pretty on top with nine points, the real fight is between Juventus and Galatasaray. Goal difference may well separate the two at the end.
So when Juventus hosts Real Madrid on Tuesday it will have one eye on stopping the rampant Ronaldo, who is one goal shy of equalling the record for most goals in a single group stage, and the other on Galatasaray’s game against bottom-placed Copenhagen.
Any slip-up and Juventus would most likely have handed an irrevocable advantage to the Turkish champion, which itself will be gunning for victory as that could potentially take it five points clear of Juventus.
History is on Juve’s side — the last time the two met on this same date and in the group stage in 2008, Real had no answer to del Piero’s twin strikes.
PSG vs Anderlecht
Olympiakos vs Benfica
At a time when the nation is feeding other leagues with exceptional talents, Belgium champion RSC Anderlecht has been struggling to register a goal in the competition. Table-topper PSG, which has conceded only once so far, will not entertain any hopes of its rival to see the back of the net at the Parc des Princes.
The other match will see Olympiakos fighting Benfica for the second berth from the group. The Portuguese team can secure three points if it cuts the chord between hat-trick hero Kostas Mitroglou and Javier Saviola.
On the other hand, the Greek champion will look to repeat its 2008-09 UEFA Cup group stage performance when it routed the Portuguese team 5-1.
The teams will hope for better weather conditions than the one at Lisbon a fortnight ago when rain played havoc at the Stadium of Light.
Thiago Motta 4
Olympiakos 47 %, Benfica 53%
PSG 65 %, Anderlecht 35 %
Man City vs CSKA Moscow
Viktoria Plzen vs Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich can all but mathematically secure its qualification to the knockout stages with victory at Czech minnow Viktoria Plzen. The current holder has a 100 per cent record, and Group D could be its as early as match day four if results go to plan. Manchester City hosts CSKA Moscow in the other return fixture, and anything but a win could see the Germans in a virtually unassailable lead at the top.
Plzen can hope for very little against a rampant Bayern side still unbeaten in official competition this season. Mario Gotze’s successful return from injury — he set up two and scored one in the previous fixture — could tempt Pep Guardiola to hand him his first European start amidst a wide range of midfield options. City, on the other hand, welcomes Russian opposition for the first time in its history. The major talking point, however, could be whether Manuel Pellegrini resists starting Joe Hart in goal.
GROUP D STANDINGS (Team, Played, Points)
Bayern Munich — 3, 9
Manchester City — 3, 6
CSKA Moscow — 3, 3
Viktoria Plzen — 3, 0