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UEFA Champions League Preview – (Match Day 4)

Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, Juventus are some of the big names who can seal qualification to the Round of 16 with a victory on Match Day 4. Paul Pogba returns to his old ground to face the Old Lady in Turin as the Red Devils search for three points in Italy while Leo Messi travelled with the Barcelona squad to Milan a pending medical clearance but will be available to offer support to his teammates at the San Siro. Atletico Madrid have revenge on their mind following the blow out they suffered at Signal Iduna-Park in Diego Simeone’s heaviest defeat. Edinson Cavani returns to San Paolo with Paris Saint-Germain who need a victory away from home to keep qualification hopes alive.

Here is our preview of some UEFA Champions League Match Day 4 games across the eight groups.

Group A;
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Atletico Madrid will be hoping to get a revenge following the 4-0 defeat suffered two weeks ago at Signal-Iduna-Park; Los Colchoneros host Borussia Dortmund in this reverse fixture at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano. Die Schwarzgelben have a perfect record in the group with three wins from three matches and can secure qualification to the next phase if they avoid defeat in Madrid. Beyond three points, pride is at stake to Diego Simeone’s team as they seek a win in front of their fans and keep qualification within sight.
VERDICT – Borussia Dortmund have kept three clean sheets and scored eight goals in the competition so far. Atletico have recovered from the embarrassing defeat in Dortmund, with two victory and draw and Dortmund have maintained their unbeaten start to the season. The Yellow and Black have a red-hot attacking line scoring goals for fun, they’ve bagged three or more goals in six of last eight games in all competitions. A keenly competitive game between two strong sides is expected at Wanda Metropolitano with both teams approaching the game with their best strength; defense for Atleti and attack for Dortmund. We are not expecting too many goals, over 1.5 goals is a safe prediction.

Group B;
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Spanish champions Barcelona dispatched a poor Inter Milan team at the Camp Nou a fortnight ago and are closing in on qualification to the Last 16 if they can avoid defeat at the San Siro. Former La Masia product and Nerazzuri’s skipper Mauro Icardi had a night to forget on his return to his youth club in a one sided game controlled and won by the Catalans. The Italian giants sit second on the table, five points clear of third place PSV and will be happy with result from Eindhoven two weeks ago. Both teams are on track to book their place in the knockout stages of the competition.
VERDICT – Luciano Spalletti’s team have a good record against Spanish opposition at home (9W, 8D, 1L). The last time Barcelona played Inter in Milan, the home team won on the night and they would hope for a similar outcome this time. Ernesto Valverde’s men have turned the corner, they are on a winning run, five in all competitions scoring 15 goals in the process. Inter are on a four game winning run at home; a close game is anticipated at the Giuseppe Meazza.

Group C;
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A stoppage time strike from Angel Di Maria salvaged a draw for Thomas Tuchel and PSG on a night Carlo Ancelotti returned to Parc des Princes with his Napoli team. Napoli were impressive and slightly unfortunate not to have walked away with three points in Paris two weeks ago. The game at the San Paolo is anticipated to be one of the most entertaining match in the round of matches. Former PSG manager, Carlo Ancelotti prepared his team well for the Paris game and provided a solid performance which leaves them with five points from three matches. Les Parisiens are enjoying a good run in Ligue 1 and have just set a new winning record in any of Europe’s top five leagues.
VERDICT – The draw in Paris left the group open with just two points separating three contenders for the knockout stage. Napoli would have taken the position they are if they were handed this at the start of the group phase. They are in good form and a win against heavy spenders PSG will take them closer to their objective as well as putting a fellow contender almost out of contention. Paris Saint-Germain do not have a good record in Italy (1W, 2D, 4L). With the attacking options in attack, we should expect goals from both teams.

Group E;
BENFICA v AJAX AFC – WED. 07 NOV 2018, 21.00HRS
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Benfica host Ajax at Estadio do Sport Lisboa in this crucial Group E game for the Eagles who sit third on the table and have a four point gap to cover between them and their visitors. Ajax are surprise leaders in the group after three rounds of matches which is a testament to Erik teg Hag impressive job done with de Godenzonen. Noussair Mazraoui’s deflected last minute strike gave Ajax a win in Amsterdam two weeks ago and ensure they maintain top spot in the group. Benfica are very strong at home, they have turned their stadium into a real fortress and their current position in the group means Rui Vitoria’s men need this win more. Ajax have produced fine performances in the competition including a credible draw against Bayern in Munich.
VERDICT – Ajax will book a spot in the knockout stage if they manage a victory in Lisbon. However, the Dutch side have recorded only one win in previous six away games in the Champions League. Benfica will miss out on qualification if they lose at home and Bayern win in Munich. The pressure is on the home team to produce on the night. With the performance on display a fortnight ago, we expect another close encounter with few goals in Lisbon.

Group F;
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Joelinton’s 92nd minute strike stopped Lyon from taking all three points in Germany against Hoffenheim leaving Les Gones with five points from three matches who have their destiny in their hands. The reverse fixture takes place at the Groupama stadium in Lyon and the home team can be considered slight favorites though we need to take into account Hoffenheim’s impressive 2-2 draw in Ukraine in the opening game of the group and Lyon could only manage a draw against Shakhtar Donetsk in their only home game so far. The French team have not been particularly impressive in front of their home fans both in the league and in this competition, that should be give the visitors some comfort and belief as they travel to France. Memphis Depay should spearhead Bruno Genesio’s attack with his movement and skill while Andrej Kramaric should keep the home team defense busy all night.
VERDICT – Olympique Lyon’s record against German opponent at home is good enough to inspire confidence (7W, 1D, 4L). This is Hoffenheim’s first trip to France for a competitive game in the Champions League. Hoffenheim are beginning to run out of time and games if they aim to make it through to the next stage so they need a good result at the Groupama. Lyon can take a signifincant step to qualification with a victory at home and we expect Genesio’s team to attack. The reverse fixture showed both teams offensive strength and we believe neither sides would back down from a fight. Are we getting a repeat of the 3-3 served at WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena? Both teams have scored in all their group stages matches this season.

Group H;
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Paul Pogba returns to Turin for the first time since his move back to Manchester United in the summer of 2016. The French man and his Red Devils team mates will look to exact revenge on the Old Lady in this Match Day 4 fixture where the Italian champions can seal qualification to the knockout stage if they can avoid defeat at home. Juventus can win the group out rightly with victory against Jose Mourinho’s team on Wednesday evening in Turin. We are yet to see the best of Manchester United this season but in their last few games, the signs that they are about to turn the corner is on the horizon though some of their big names have disappointed this season till date. The Bianconeris are in good form with star player Cristiano Ronaldo expected to lead the line with Paulo Dybala partnering him in attack.
VERDICT – Juventus are one of the two teams yet to concede a goal in the competition and are favorites for this game having beaten their opponent in Manchester a fortnight ago. Juventus haven’t lost a group stage match at home since December 2009, underlining the challenge Manchester United face in Turin. United sit second but with just two points better than Valencia, they must be wary of the Spanish team getting a result and displacing them on the table. 2003 was the last time Manchester United faced Juventus in Turin in the Champions League, they won 3-0 on the night. Can they draw inspiration from that memorable night on Wednesday?

This wraps us our Match day 4 Focus. Predict and win big in this money spinning competition by visiting our Sports shop for mouthwatering offers for all UCL matches.

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