SillySeason look ahead to Tuesday’s Champions League matches
The Champions League returns for Game-week Three and SillySeason have took time out to preview Tuesday night’s matches.
It’s Group E to Group H’s turn tomorrow night, and here is our preview.
BATE Borisov v Barcelona
Bate head into the game as Champions of Belarus following their win over FC Vitebsk on Saturday, winning their tenth consecutive domestic league title.
However, few will expect the reigning champions of Europe to be troubled by Bate on matchday 3, although the home side can look to their result last time out in this competition for confidence after overcoming Roma 3-2 in a win that shocked many.
Barcelona are still without Lionel Messi for the trip to Belarus, however team-mate Neymar is in scintillating form following a 4-goal haul this weekend against Rayo Vallecano.
Bayer v Roma
Roma will be looking to bounce back from the shock defeat to Bate with a positive result in Germany on Tuesday evening. The Serie A side are in good domestic form and sit 2nd in the table, averaging over 2 goals scored per game.
Bayer themselves have had a decent start to both the league and European campaigns, and know that a win will stretch their lead to 5 points over Roma in the battle for the 2nd qualifying spot in the group.
Both sides were unbeaten this weekend and have no major injury worries, however Bayer’s lack of goals is a concern so far this season, netting only 8 goals in 9 games so they’ll be looking to rectify that problem on Tuesday evening.
Dinamo Zagreb v Olympiakos
Both of these sides will be full of confidence having beaten Arsenal in the earlier rounds of the competition. Either side will be thinking that they can qualify with Bayern Munich following the Gunners’s indifferent start to the European campaign.
Zagreb obliterated their opponents in the Croatian league at the weekend, coming out 7-1 winners away at Ostrc Zlatar. Olympiacos also had a good win, overcoming AEK Athens 4-0 at home, so there’s the potential for plenty of goals between these two sides on Tuesday evening.
It’s a winnable match for both sides, and with Arsenal facing Bayern Munich there’s the very real chance that one of these teams could be 6 points clear of the Gunners going in to the final 3 games.
Arsenal v Bayern Munich
This is arguably a must win game for Arsene Wenger’s side if they want to progress through to the knock-out stage of the competition this season.
Two defeats against Zagreb and Olympiacos find them rooted bottom of Group F and up against a Bayern side that is simply flying in the Bundesliga, with 9 wins from 9 games and a Robert Lewandowsi in stupendous goalscoring form.
That being said, The Gunners themselves can take confidence from their league form, winning each of the last 3 games by 3 goals. They’ll need those type of performance levels on Tuesday if they are to get a positive result from the game, and hope Pep Guardiola’s side have an off night.
Arsenal have an almost full bill of health for the tie at the Emirates, with just keeper David Ospina missing out. Bayern are also set to have a more or less full selection to choose from, minus the injured Mario Gotze.
Dynamo Kiev v Chelsea
Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat to Porto last time out in an attempt to get their European campaign back under way.
Eden Hazard was one of a number of players left out of the Blues side for their Premier League win at the weekend, but is expected to return on Tuesday evening along with Nemanja Matic. Courtouis remains injured and Pedro did not travel due to picking up a knock.
Kiev have had a strong start to the group and are so far unbeaten, picking up a draw with Porto and beating Tel-Aviv. However, they were turned over 3-0 at home to league rivals Shakhtar on Saturday, whereas Chelsea beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
It’s a long trip for Chelsea, but with the likes of Hazard and Matic to come back into the side they’ll be confident of picking up a positive result that could see them top the group come the end of matchday 3.
Porto v Tel-Aviv
This game sees top vs bottom face each other in Group G on Tuesday, with the home side strong favourites to retain their unbeaten start to the European campaign.
The Portuguese side will be buoyed by their last home outing in this competition – a 2-1 win over Chelsea – and the forecast is that 3 more points will be heading Porto’s way after 90 minutes on Tuesday.
Tel Aviv have lost 2-0 and 4-0 respectively in their two group games so far, and could face another mauling at Porto, who sit joint top of the Portuguese league and so far unbeaten.
However, Tel Aviv can take confidence from their recent league form, themselves sitting top of the league after 7 games following a 2-1 away win at Maccabi Petah on Saturday.
Valencia v KAA Gent
Valencia have the chance to maintain 2nd position in the group with a home tie against the Belgian side that currently prop up the teams at the bottom of Group H.
The Spanish side sit 6 points off the summit of La Liga following an impressive 3-0 win over Malaga this weekend, whereas Gent overcame Mouscron-Peruwelz 2-1 on Friday evening, which has given them an extra days’ preparation for the game on Tuesday.
Gent know that they’ll have to pick up a result at the Mestalla to keep any possible chances of progressing to the next round alive, but they did run Zenit close in the last European matchday in Russia so will be hoping for more of the same competitiveness tonight.
Zenit v Lyon
Zenit currently sit top of Group H after two wins from two, and can more or less guarantee their passage into the knockout round with a win over their French opposition.
They sit 10 points behind leaders CSKA so may be putting all their efforts into a European charge this season, and with the likes of Hulk, Alexzander Kerzhakov and Axel Witsel in their side, they have the quality to do so this campaign.
However, Lyon themselves possess quality players and it should be an even game in Saint Petersburg. Lyon are also 10 points and 5 places behind PSG in the league, so a European game will be a welcome distraction for both sides who haven’t had the domestic success so far this season that they would’ve hoped for.
In Alexandre Lacazette, Lyon have a forward who can win them matches so Zenit will have to keep an eye on him if they are to shut the French side out and maintain their unbeaten start to the group.