- Posted by Geoff Reid
- On October 19, 2011
- 0 Comments
- 2011/12 UCL, Geoff Reid
By Geoff Reid
Bayer Leverkusen vs Valencia from the Bay Arena, Leverkusen
Both of these clubs are looking at this game like a final being that they both meet twice in the next two weeks, and will go a long way in deciding who will join Chelsea in the knockout phase of the tournament. Currently Leverkusen sit in second place on three points, while Valencia are third on two points, and depending on what happens in the other game in this group, it’s all still very tight. In a lot of ways, both these sides are very similar in the fact that new teams are being developed, and are planning very much for the future.
Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Valencia
Chelsea vs Genk from Stamford Bridge, London
The Belgian side are a team that Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas is very familiar with having faced them last season with FC Porto in the Europa League on the way to the final, and played two very competitive games. Right now, Genk are going through a lot of injuries, and a bit of transition to after losing manager Frank Vercauteren, and being replaced with Mario Been. Chelsea are coming off a 3-1 win against Everton over the weekend, while Genk themselves lost by the same score in league play over the weekend. The good news is that they scored a goal for the first time in 235 minutes, which is their longest goalless streak April/May 2009.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Genk
Marseille vs Arsenal from the Stade Veledrome, Marseille
A matchup between both front runners in this group, both sides have struggled domestically in league play, but feel that they play with less pressure in the Champions League. Looking at both managers, Didier Deschamps and Arsene Wenger, they both have similar philosophies on how the game should be played, so we expect a very open game with this being a nice distraction from league play both sides could potentially need.
Prediction: Marseille 2-2 Arsenal
Olympiakos vs Borussia Dortmund from Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus
Both teams need to win this one if they want to stay alive in this group. Both managers disagree that this is a decisive game however. Olympiakos manager Ernesto Valverde see’s this as a must win, and with his team having lost both games in the group so far, it’s understandable why he says this. His opposite number, Jurgen Klopp, see’s this as just an ordinary game, and even though they only have one point from two games played, they’ve played well enough to get more. But now is the time to turn positive performances into wins.
Prediction: Olympiakos 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
Shaktar Donetsk vs Zenit St. Petersburg from the Donbass Arena, Donetsk
This is another group is is fairly even with the top team, and the last team separated by just 3 points. The home side have played pretty well, especially in match day two, and Shaktar manager Mircea Lucescu believes his side can grow in confidence ahead of this tie and make their mark on the Champions League. This should potentially be one of the best matches of the day with both sides looking to attack, and play open and free. Zenit have scored more goals then anyone else in the Russian league the last two years, so we should be in for a good one.
Prediction: Shaktar Donetsk 3-2 Zenit St. Petersburg
Porto vs APOEL from the Estadio do Drago, Porto
The home side were expected to finish top with ease when the draw was made, but the surprise leaders have been the small club from Cyprus which is a very pleasant change. Porto are coming off a 8-0 win in the Portuguese cup this weekend, but manager Vitor Pereira knows that the Cyprus champions will be much more organized, and are very good on the counter attack. If Porto win, this could very well shake things up in this group, in that could be the most open group this season.
Prediction: Porto 2-0 APOEL
AC Milan vs BATE from the San Siro, Milan
In no surprise whatsoever, the two front runners in this group are the heavyweights, and it looks like this will continue. Milan will look to consolidate top spot with a win tonight, depending on what Barcelona do in the other match. The Italian giants haven’t gotten off to the best starts this season domestically, but the defending Serie’ A champions looked to have put things right more recently. For BATE, they will face a battle with Plzen over who will get that third spot to qualify for the Europa League knockout phase in the spring.
Prediction: AC Milan 3-0 BATE
Barcelona vs Plzen from the Camp Nou, Barcelona
In typical Pep Guardiola fashion, the Barcelona manager is pleading to his players to respect Plzen, and is very wary of them. It’s quite amazing how he manages to keep his side motivated for every game they play. Plzen manager Pavel Vrba is telling his players to go out and enjoy the experience of Catalonia and not think about how many goals they are going to concede, but to just play their own game.
Prediction: Barcelona 4-0 Plzen