- Posted by Geoff Reid
- On November 23, 2010
- 1 Comments
- 2010/11 UCL, Geoff Reid
By Geoff Reid
The group stage is almost wrapped up in this seasons tournament, some teams have already qualified for the knockout phase and looking to be top seeds when the draw for the last 16 takes place, while others will be scrapping for their lives to make it into the next round.
Roma vs Bayern Munchen from the Stadio Olympico, Rome
With last season’s runners up already qualified before kick off, Roma manager Claudio Ranieri is hoping he can follow Bayern’s lead, and pick up a win at home to avoid any unpleasant surprises on the final match day of the group stage. The Romans should have all their big guns ready for this one having rested several this past weekend, and a number of players returning from injury also. Bayern manager Louis van Gaal wants to use this match as a change of attitude to his squad. Even though they top the group by six points, they haven’t been having a good season domestically, and hopes with a good performance against a very good side will give his squad more confidence.
Basel vs Cluj from St. Jakob-Park, Basel
With both of these sides on three points, there’s little so suggest that either club will make it into the last 16 even though mathematically they still do have a shot. In reality, this will be a contest that will have a big say in who qualifies for the Europa League knockout phase in the new year.
Spartak Moskva vs Marseille from the Luzhniki Stadion, Moscow
Certainly the one to watch from this group, as both clubs are tied on six points in second place behind Chelsea, and will be looking to go one step closer and separate to qualifying for the next phase. Both have had slow starts in this season’s competition, and the Russian club will be ending their domestic season next Sunday, and feel they have no real reason to feel tired. Didier Deschamps, manager of Marseille says his club will be approaching this one like a final and that’s the only mindset they can.
Chelsea vs Zilina from Stamford Bridge, London
In similar circumstances to Bayern Munchen, Chelsea have lost their form as of late and will look to use this encounter to build a winning mentality that they have recently lacked. Chelsea has also been on cruise control this season in the Champions League with very experienced players all through their squad. Zilina’s first trip into the competition has not been a memorable one to say the least as they have lost every game up to this point, and nobody expects this one to be any different. All in all, not one for the neutrals to pay much attention to.
Ajax vs Real Madrid from the Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam
With Real Madrid already qualified, much of the spotlight will be on Martin Jol’s Ajax. Jol has come out and said his side will play to win, and they have no choice with his club currently in third place in the group and one behind AC Milan for second place. Madrid manager Jose Mourinho will be without Ricardo Carvalho, Gonzalo Higuain, and Sami Khedira, but there is plenty of other talent on the galacticos roster. From what Jol is saying in that his boys will be going out to attack, this should be one cracking match.
Auxerre vs AC Milan from the Stade Abbe Deschamps, Auxerre
Even though Auxerre only one their first match in the group at the forth attempt, Auxerre are still in with a very good shout of finishing second in the group. They’re only two points behind the opposition in second place, and this fixture should be a good one. Both managers agree that intensity will be on the line. With Madrid already sealing qualification from the group, the runners up spot will be fight to the end.
Braga vs Arsenal from the Estadio Municipal de Braga, Braga
The big question in this match will be which Braga will show up? The one that was thumped by Arsenal 6-0 in north London, or the one that has been showing signs of life over recent weeks? Both Arsenal, and Shakhtar Donetsk are level on nine points, with Braga in third on six, so this is very tight and will go right down to the wire. Braga manager Domingos Pacienca has told his team to be aggressive to this encounter will be one to keep an eye on.
Partizan Belgrade vs Shakhtar Donetsk from FK Partizan, Belgrade
With Partizan already knocked out, Shakhtar know that a win, followed by a Braga loss to Arsenal will see the Ukrainian side book their place in the last 16. The Serbians will struggle to find motivation, but manager Aleksandar Stanojevic feels the home side should give their fans something to cheer about so it will be interesting to see how competitive Partizan are.