TheHardTackle looks at five things to look forward to in Matchday 4 of Champions League.
Can Juventus progress to the knockout stages?
Juventus have been called the anti-Dortmund, as the Serie A giants have struggled badly in Europe. The Italian side take on Olympiakos at home and are currently sitting third in their pool. Their three games have so far got them only three points, which is three lesser than their opponents, who lie in the second place and defeated them 1-0 in Piraeus last time out.
The Bianconeri started their campaign with a victory over lowly Malmo, but consecutive defeats to Atletico Madrid and Olympiacos have left them in an awkward position and they need to win the game for them to have any hopes of reaching the knockout stages.
Olympiakos players are optimistic of their chances after the win at home and defender Tasos Avlonitis said, “I think, given what we have already shown in the Champions League, we can get something in Turin.”
But Juventus should play like Champions and the threat they are. They must play with confidence and listen to what Buffon had to say
‘In the Champions League I think it’s a matter of confidence when it appears that we suffer from pressure away’.
Will the Italian giants live up to their name?
Jurgen Klopp needs the win to relieve pressure
Dortmund have been very impressive in the Champions League and top their group with wins in all three games. Borussia Dortmund have been the biggest surprise package of the season. The German biggies are currently lying in the 17th place in the league.
Jurgen Klopp has helped the club reach a Champions League final, two Bundesliga titles and a German Cup, since being appointed coach in July 2008. There is no doubt that the impressive coach can help Dortmund return to winning ways in the league too. Still, he would be desperate to get another win in the cup tournament as he needs the team to step up performances. Galatasaray is not going to be an easy opposition, especially with the Turkish side definitely needing a win to have any hopes of qualifying for the next round or even finish in the third place and attempt to progress in the further stages of Europa League.
If Juergen Klopp’s team wins, they will qualify with two games to spare.
History for Bulgarian minnows?
Basel and Ludogorets could both move closer towards the knockout stages with victory in Switzerland on Tuesday night. Real Madrid are comfortable on top of the table and are expected to walk past Liverpool at home again. This leaves the second place very much up for grabs as Liverpool, Ludogorets and Basel all have three points at the moment.
Ludogorets’ 1-0 home success over Basel last time out where Yordan Minev scored dramatically in the stoppage time was the first win by any Bulgarian side in the Champions League group stage. Basel beat Liverpool at home in another encounter and they return to Anfield on December 9 in a match whose outcome would probably decide who would be in the runners-up spot. But Ludogorets’ recent Champions league win has now instilled great confidence in them and they would be hopeful of causing another upset away from home. It would indeed be heartening to see them progress into further stages of the competition.
Can Roma exact revenge on Bayern Munich?
Roma were thrashed at home as Bayern Munich beat them 7-1. They enter the game after a 2-0 loss to Napoli. Gonzalo Higuain and a late Jose Callejon goal handed Benitez’s side a 2-0 win. Roma will be naturally anxious taking on one of Europe’s biggest teams especially after the embarrassing seven goal thrashing at home. However, Garcia’s team is capable of causing a shock at the Allianz. A win would make their position in Group E very comfortable as Manchester City look to be struggling in Europe. The hosts, meanwhile would be confident for this game after having beaten German rivals Borussia Dortmund in the league last weekend. The likes of Mattia Destro, Gervinho and Iturbe would have to step up for Roma to do well in this game.
Manchester City need to show their Premier League class in Europe
Manchester City have become a formidable power in England in the past few years. However, they have been very underwhelming in the Champions League in the previous seasons. Tricky group stage draws last season as well as this time around have forced the Citizens to not show their Premier League class in Europe. However, their inability to comprehensively beat the lesser teams in their groups continue to be a major problem. In the previous game, they conceded a 2-0 lead and ended up drawing the game, coming back home with only one point. Pellegrini needs to ensure their Russian rivals are contained throughout the game. Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure all need to step up and ensure City are closer to the knockout stages.