- Posted by Geoff Reid
- On December 6, 2011
- 0 Comments
- 2011/12 UCL
By Geoff Reid
Chelsea vs Valencia from Stamford Bridge, London
At some point today, someone is going to go home disappointed with these two teams level on points in joint second place, and one point behind leader Bayer Leverkusen. Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas says his side cannot think or speak about going out, and also says so far it’s their own fault why they haven’t cliched a birth in the next round yet due to silly mistakes at the end of matches. Valencia manager Unai Emery has classed this match a final, with the winner going through and the loser going home. Either side control their own destiny, so this will be one to keep an eye on today.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Valencia
Genk vs Bayer Leverkusen from KRC Genk Arena, Genk
With the home side already out, and the visitors from the Rheinland through to the next round, both managers are calling for focus from their squads. Leverkusen manager Robin Dutt knows that for his side to win the group will give them a more favorable draw for the last 16 in the new year, and that will be some achievement for his young side who many are getting a first taste of Champions League football. Genk manager Mario Been is just using the 7-0 defeat away to Valencia to motivate his players to go out of the tournament in the right way with their heads held high.
Prediction: Genk 0-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Olympiakos vs Arsenal from the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus
The home side have a list of players injured going into this encounter that will make or break their European hopes in general, let alone the Champions League. Olympiakos must win, and hope that Borussia Dortmund get the better of Marseille to advance, so it is asking a lot. There is also the possibility of Dortmund finishing above them in third and losing the Europa League place as well. With Arsenal already through, it’ll be interesting what team manager Arsene Wenger brings to Greece for this one, but we do know is they will try to win the game playing expansive football.
Prediction: Olympiakos 1-1 Arsenal
Borussia Dortmund vs Marseille from the BVB Stadion, Dortmund
We already know what Marseille need to do, but Dortmund actually do mathematically have a chance to stay in the Champions League this season too. A win here could put them in the Europa League, and a win by a big margin could have them finishing second in the group depending on what happens in Greece. Either way, it’s been a lesson for Jurgen Klopp’s side who many of the players are making their European debut’s this season. Didier Deschamps Marseille have it all in their own hands since they currently sit second. A win will do nicely, but a draw may be enough with a little help from Arsenal.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Marseille
Porto vs Zenit St. Petersburg from the Estadio do Dragao, Porto
This is another game that is like a final with the winner qualifying for the next round, and with Porto being the home side, manager Vitor Pereira is calling upon the fans to become the 12th man. At the beginning of the tournament, most expected Porto to win this group with a battle for second between Zenit and Shakhtar Donetsk, but it hasn’t turned out that way at all. The only thing that is guaranteed is both sides will be playing in the knockout phases in Europe in the new year, just one will be in the Champions League, the other the Europa League.
Prediction: Porto 2-1 Zenit St. Petersburg
APOEL vs Shakhtar Donetsk from the GSP Stadium, Nicosia
Let the party begin, at least that’s the tag line for how the Cyprus champions are going about it. What APOEL have achieved has been nothing short of remarkable. The draw in some ways had them avoid the big guns, but on paper you still wouldn’t have picked them to go through to the next phase, let alone win the group which is still a real possibility. While APOEL have overachieved, the same can’t be said for Shakhtar who have underachieved from their recent standards in Europe. You can point to injuries, suspensions and everything else, but they just didn’t perform to where we’ve all seen them in the last few seasons. If nobody took APOEL serious in this group like Donetsk manager Mircea Lucescu says, then teams will be doing that now.
Prediction: APOEL 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Barcelona vs BATE from the Camp Nou, Barcelona
With this group already being a formality, we should see some young players being given the chance by Pep Guardiola to play on the European stage. The only that’s even left up for grabs is the Europa League spot with BATE still having the chance to qualify if they win, and Milan go on and beat Plzen in the other game. Guardiola himself said he loves coaching younger players, and this will also give some of the main players a chance to rest in what will be a long second half of the season coming up.
Prediction: Barcelona 3-0 BATE
Plzen vs AC Milan from Eden, Prague
The Czech champions just need one point from this one to qualify for the Europa League, and they believe they will get it. With Milan having already locked up second place, and manager Massimilliano Allegri will be looking to use some players who haven’t featured in a while to prove a point to the gaffer. Plzen manager Pavel Vrba is hoping for what he has described as a happy ending for his team in their first Champions League campaign and they’ve also learned from it which should make them more successful in the future.
Prediction: Plzen 1-3 AC Milan