Sunday, July 22, 2018

UCL: Temperature Rises as Group Stage Nears Closure

Milos Markovic in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 22 Nov 2016

Ronaldo in for an emotional homecoming this week / Image via

Ronaldo in for an emotional homecoming this week / Image via

With the international break now behind us and club football back on track it is time to put your Euro boots on and rock the brightest scene of them all.

UEFA Champions League Group Stage is ahead of its penultimate fifth round and there is plenty of excitement ahead of Tuesday and Wednesday’s clashes since plenty of sides are yet to secure their place in the knockouts.

Some have done it and will play for honour, prestige, bragging rights and, ultimately, more cash to fill their pockets with.

With the anticipation building we present you a cross-group guide through key moments to keep an eye on during the midweek matches.

Group A

Premier League giants Arsenal and French champions Paris Saint-Germain have already done all the hard work having secured their place in the knockouts, but the match at the Emirates is carrying a great importance however as it will decide on who gets to carry the flag forward from the top spot.

The Gunners are given great 7/1 betting odds to beat PSG and we do believe there is great value in supporting this bet as Arsenal rush into the clash keen to improve the impression after the bleak performance at Old Trafford.

There is another greatly important game within the group A as Ludogorets and Basel go head to head to determine which of the sides will be pushing towards the only remaining European seat, albeit a place for UEFA Europa League.

Group B

With three clubs still in contention for their spot in the elimination round, Group B comes with great enticement. Napoli (7 points) play host to Dynamo Kiev (1 point) while Besiktas play Benfica as both teams stand on the 6-point mark.

The Italian would see great benefit from a draw in Turkey, although we tend to believe this will be a closely-cut group to the very end.

If you are thinking about making a move on the game, check out these numbers and stats, perhaps they can help:

Group C

Guardiola’s current and former club(s) are almost there as all they need is the verification of their place in the knockouts. It will be easier said than achieved though as both sides are playing away from home and against highly motivated Borussia Monchengladbach and Celtic, respectively.

Germans would use the three points to get level on terms with Manchester City, whereas Brendan Rodgers is on a payback mission for that embarrassing 7-0 reverse defeat earlier in the competition.

It all looks very romantic but football is a cruel game and we are inclined towards believing that both Man City and Barca will triumph.

What is more, we do have special Betfair offers of 6/1 on the Citizens and 4/1 on the Catalans which are simply too good to miss.

Group D

Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich may have both sealed their places in the next stage of the competition, but both sides are coming off from terrible weekends and will be keen to make amends on the European stage.

Diego Simeone’s men are still sore from the 3-0 beating in the Madrid derby, while the Bavarians have surrendered the Bundesliga top spot to highflyers RB Leipzig after the 1-0 Der Klassiker loss and Carlo Ancelotti is already feeling the heat under his seat.

PSV and Rostov are more than mere punching bags, but they look set to feel the wrath of some of Europe’s greatest.

Group E

There is a battle for the top spot on offer in this group as rejuvenated Monaco play host to Pochettino’s struggling Tottenham looking to secure promotion to the next stage of the competition.

The Principality club are enjoying a fruitful run in all competition and are eager to keep their unbeaten Champions League intact.

Tottenham, on the other side, have finally put an end to their seven-match winless streak in all competitions after the hard-fought 3-2 win over West Ham. Harry Kane marked his return with a late brace and Spurs will be hopeful the England international could carry them forward internationally as well.

A great offer of 10/1 is here to help you make your mind about this highly-anticipated clash.

It is Bayer Leverkusen and CSKA Moscow who square off in the remaining fixture with Germans out there to ruin Tottenham’s every chance of making it through.

Group F

Cristiano Ronaldo is in for a special Champions League night.

His homecoming to Sporting Lisbon is coming at a perfect time, just days after the Portugal super star scored a hat-trick to singlehandedly guide his team to a great victory in the Madrid Derby.

Honoured to debut my boots back where it all started. 🙌 CR7 Discovery 👉

A video posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

Sporting might very well be packing their bags, but they will give a warm welcome to one of their own.

To put an extra twist on the special night for Real Madrid frontman there is a great 33/1 offer on Los Blancos, one that does not come that often.

Borussia Dortmund are coming off from a derby win of their own and will most certainly use the hype around their Der Klassiker win to give Legia Warsaw a proper send-off from Europe’s elite competition.

Backing the BVB at 3/1 betting odds to defeat the Polish giants can be a wide thing to do.

Group G

Leicester City’s European dream continues much to the contrast of their domestic struggles. The Foxes stand on the brink of qualification for the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League which will mark another huge milestone for the club. Ranieri’s men are going against the odds into success, but their Premier League form has suffered dearly as a consequence of their European exploits.

Tomorrow. #LeiClu #lcfc #UCL

A photo posted by Leicester City (@lcfc) on

Portugal giants Porto are also in action in this group, looking to claim their stake on the remaining spot at FC Copenhagen. Porto are three points short of the Premier League champions but their place in the knockouts is not under imminent threat as things stand right now.

Group H

Jorge Sampaoli’s raging Sevilla and Max Allegri’s brilliant Juventus go head to head in a match that has been identified as arguably the biggest one of the fifth round.

Two teams in similar forms, but with utterly different managerial styles will lock horns in what promises to be a highly-contested affair.

The game will give answers as to who goes forward from the top spot, whereas Lyon apparently travel to hopeless Dinamo Zagreb on a fieldtrip to Croatia. Dinamo have no points on their tally and are ending another European campaign heavily bruised and beaten.

What are your expectations ahead of the two exciting nights in the Champions League?


Milos Markovic

Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently and His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.



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