- Posted by Geoff Reid
- On November 24, 2010
- 0 Comments
- 2010/11 UCL, Geoff Reid, UCL 2010/11
By Geoff Reid
Inter Milan vs FC Twente from the San Siro, Milan
The pressure is firmly on Inter and manager Rafa Benitez in this one. The defending champions are going through a rough patch as every club does during a season, and the club have dropped to sixth in the Serie A. On top of all that, injuries to many key players leave Rafa with some tough choices. Rumor has it that if Inter don’t win this match, the former Liverpool boss will be out of a job. What may help the Nerazzuri is that Twente slipped up at the weekend losing to AZ Alkmaar 2-1. One to most definitely keep an eye on.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Werder Bremen from White Hart Lane, London
Tottenham have a chance to qualify for the knockout phase with one game to spare, but may struggle to do so with a few key injuries. Midfielders Rafael van der Vaart, and Gareth Bale picked up knocks on Saturday in their amazing win in the north London derby against Arsenal. The good news is England striker Jermain Defoe might make his return from injury. Bremen on the other hand are in the middle of an injury crisis and complete loss of form with 10 players missing this clash including captain Torsten Frings and Claudio Pizzaro.
Schalke vs Lyon from the Arena AufSchalke, Gelsenkirchen
In what remains a very tight group between the top three, Schalke will be looking to use their home advantage to good effect having won the previous two encounters at home in this group. A win for both sides will go a long way, with the visitors booking their place in the next phase should they pull it off. The home side had a rough start to this season domestically, but now looked to have hit good form at just the right time, and summer signing Raul has found his scoring touch once again. Lyon on the other hand are making the trip to Germany to win, so expect an open game and lots of goals.
Hapoel Tel-Aviv vs Benfica from Bloomfield Stadium, Tel-Aviv
The Israeli champions may be out of this season’s tournament, but that won’t stop them from not giving it all they got when Benfica come to town. The Portuguese giants did themselves a massive favor by beating Lyon in the last match day and currently sit third behind Schalke with six points in a very tight group. An advantage will be their Portuguese cup forth round fixture that was scheduled for this past Saturday was postponed due to the NATO summit in Lisbon, so they should have fresh legs heading into Israel.
Rangers vs Manchester United from Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow
Much will be made of this match because it’s the so called ‘Battle of Britain’ but really all it comes down to is Rangers must get something if they want to continue playing in the Champions League in the new year. They currently sit third on five points, two behind second place Valencia, while United are top on 10. Sir Alex Ferguson will probably insert Wayne Rooney back into the starting lineup as the England striker needs football which he hasn’t got much of over the last few weeks. Both managers know each other well, so expect this one to be all about tactical discipline.
Valencia vs Bursaspor from the Mestalla, Valencia
Valencia could potentially go through today with a win against Bursaspor, and a Rangers draw or loss to Manchester United. Manager Unai Emery though, has his sights on first place in the group. With the Turkish side already out of contention to qualify from this group, it’ll be interesting to see what team comes out against the Spanish club. They say they’re playing to win this one, so we’ll soon see.
Panathinaikos vs Barcelona from the OACA Spiros Louis Stadium, Athens
The Greek champions, Panathinaikos have been the most disappointing out of all the teams in this season’s competition since the draw was made for the group stage. The amount of players they recruited with the caliber they have should have done a lot better, and their manager paid the price, with the club bringing in former Porto boss Jesualdo Ferreira. With qualification already going to Barcelona, boss Pep Guardiola will be using this game as a training exercise before their big showdown against Real Madrid next weekend.
Rubin Kazan vs Kobenhavn from Centraini, Kazan
The home side must go for broke in this tie to have any chance of getting to the next stage and deny the Danish champions a remarkable campaign so far. A point is all that is needed for the surprise package in this season’s competition to qualify, and by looking at recent history the home side has in this competition in their home stadium, a draw should be expected in this one.