20 November, 2012 - 13:36

Champions League: Key Matches to Watch on Matchday 5

Champions League: Key Matches to Watch on Matchday 5

With another UEFA Champions League inexorably heading towards the knockout phase, here are key fixtures of Matchday 5 to watch this Tuesday:

Juventus - Chelsea

The clash between Juve and The Blues is arguably the key fixture to watch this Tuesday, as both teams are determined to fight for the second spot in the group E to the bitter end (hardly anyone doubts the Shakhtar’s win over the Danish side FC Nordsjælland). Should The Blues lose the game in Turin, they will be on the verge of becoming the first Champions League holders failing to qualify for the knockout phase. Chelsea have been disappointing of late, taking just two points from four games and such a string of miserable results may convince trigger happy Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to show Roberto Di Matteo the door.

Chelsea coach reassured the fans that his team is not going to implement “parking the bus” tactics. “We will not play for a draw. The attitude has to be to go out and try to win the game. My intention is to create as many problems as possible for Juventus,” said The Blues coach. The win will guarantee Chelsea the place in the last 16.

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Benfica - Celtic

Another intriguing fixture of the Champions League Matchday 5 is the game between Benfica and Celtic. After Celtic have been drawn to face Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow in the Group G, Scottish club was labeled by many as a big underdog. However after the famous win over Barcelona Celtic are at the second place with seven points, three ahead of Benfica. A score draw in Lisbon will be enough for the Glasgow side to progress to the knockout stage.

Celtic will face stern opposition at the hands of Benfica which boast impressive-looking squad with variety of attacking options, that is why most likely Celtic will choose the defensive formation. As The Eagles will travel to Barcelona in their last group stage fixture, they desperately need a win to secure the chances for the place in the last 16.

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Spartak Moscow - FC Barcelona

The victory will keep Spartak Moscow in with a chance of achieving their aim of reaching the knockout round. The Blaugrana will field their big guns to earn a point that guarantees their progression to the knockout phase. Currently FC Barcelona occupy the first spot with nine points, Celtic are on the second place with seven points. Spartak are at the bottom of the table with three points, while Benfica have four points.

Spartak coach Unai Emery has never secured a win over Barcelona. Although he lost 14 clashes against Catalan club, he has always been really close to a victory thanks to some clever tactical ploys.

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BATE Borisov – LOSC Lille

Belarusian side BATE Borisov pulled off shocking wins in two early matches of the Champions’ League Group Stage. Bayern Munich and Lille OSC were beaten with the identical result 3-1. Although later BATE Borisov suffered two defeats against Valencia, currently Belarusian side occupy third spot with six points after four games. Bayern Munich lead the group with nine points, with Valencia holding second place on goal difference.

The wins in two remaining matches against Lille OSC and Bayern Munich are a must for BATE Borisov if they are to become the first ever Belarusian team to progress to the last 16.

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Valencia CF - Bayern Munich

Despite two convincing wins over BATE Borisov and one over Lille OSC in the Champions League, Valencia’s game still lacks consistency. In La Liga their home form is impressive, but they are still seeking their first away win. Should Valencia coach Mauricio Pellegrino succeed in firing up his players (as in the clashes against Barcelona and Real Madrid this season), in-form Bayern Munich may sustain the defeat.

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Other Tuesday matches to watch:

FC Nordsjælland - Shakhtar Donetsk

Galatasaray AS - Manchester United FC

CFR 1907 Cluj - Sporting Braga

Photos: sportinglife.com

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Author: Basil Naumov

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