Friday, April 03, 2020
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The interminable slog that is the Champions League group stage is finally nearing its end. To no one’s great surprise there has been little in the way of surprises, as all the ‘Big Guns’ look set to qualify at a canter.

 

 

The best chance of a major casualty is in Group H. With Juventus already through, Zenit St. Petersburg and Real Madrid are battling it out for the second slot. After a poor start Zenit have picked up in recent weeks and tonight host Juve in Russia. As the Italian side have already qualified their dedication to the cause in unlikely to be unwavering – particularly seeing as doing Madrid a favour may well come back to haunt them in the later stages. 

 

Madrid themselves travel to BATE with a 2 point lead over Zenit. A win will put them in a commanding position, but with the Russians  due for a visit to the Bernabau on Matchday 6, a draw or loss tonight will likely leave them needing to turn them over in the final game. 

 

In group E, Man U travel to Villarreal in a top of the table clash. Both teams are sitting pretty on 8 points – 6 clear of Celtic and Aalborg – and qualification should be a given. Both teams need a draw to go through, so don’t bank on a ‘Thriller at the Villa-rreal’ (sorry). 

 

Celtic will be looking to break their away-day hoodoo against Aalborg. After a pitiful run of 13 matches without a win on the road, a good result is imperative in terms of finishing third and qualifying for the Uefa cup. 

 

Elsewhere not much of note. Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal each only need one victory from their final two games to qualify – and not even that if other results go there way. Inter, Bayern, Atletico and Lyon are also on the verge of going through.  

 

And so the crème de al crème of European football continue to bumble their way through the money-spinning, non-business end of the world’s most illustrious club competition. Squeaky bum time can’t come soon enough.    

 

Fixtures

Tuesday: Zenit vs. Juventus, AaB vs. Celtic, Arsenal vs. Dynamo Kyiv. BATE vs. Real Madrid, Bayern vs. Steaua, Fenerbahçe vs. Porto, Fiorentina vs. Lyon, Villarreal vs. Man. United.

Wednesday: Anorthosis vs. Bremen, Atlético vs. PSV, Bordeaux vs. Chelsea, CFR Cluj vs. Roma, Internazionale vs. Panathinaikos, Liverpool vs. Marseille, Shakhtar vs. Basel, Sporting vs. Barcelona.

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