Luis Suarez has scored nine goals in nine games since the start of the Champions League.
Barcelona v BATE Borisov
Barcelona are doing just enough while Lionel Messi is injured and they sit level with Real Madrid at the top of La Liga and top of Group E in the Champions League. They shouldn’t have too many problems here either and since 2007/08 they’ve won 20 of 25 home games in the UCL group stages, including 16 wins by more than one goal. Ignoring the qualifying and play-off rounds and BATE have lost their last seven European away matches while conceding 26 goals. Barcelona should cover the handicap here but that is likely to mean some goals for Suarez and Neymar. Suarez has scored nine goals in nine games since the start of the Champions League, including seven in four home matches.
Gent v Valencia
A win for Valencia will likely confirm their place in the top two in Group H but Gent can approach the game with confidence as they sit top of the Belgian Pro League and pushed the Spanish side close a couple of weeks ago. Valencia, meanwhile, have won two and lost four of their seven away games this season while scoring just five goals in the process. Gent picked up a draw in their opening home game against Lyon and are unbeaten at home in all competitions for their last 17 games since the start of February. Since 2003/04, there have been 74 UCL group matches in week 4 where we had the home side as the lower ranked team and coming off a defeat in the reverse fixture in week 3 and 25 of these matches finished all-square.
Lyon v Zenit
Zenit followed up their 3-1 win over Lyon a couple of weeks ago by scoring five times in each of their next two games but a 0-0 at the weekend has left them 10 points off the pace in Russia and the temptation must be to focus on the Champions League now. A point here should be enough to reach the next round but don’t bank on a draw – none of their last 21 away matches in Europe have finished level. There is a slight doubt over Hulk, which would have a huge impact on this game as he’s scored 10 goals and picked up 15 assists in just 16 appearances this season in the Russian Premier League and UCL combined. However, he is expected to play and 13 of those 16 matches had at least three goals with nine having four or more.
Maccabi Tel Aviv v Porto
Porto won the reverse game 2-0 a fortnight ago and Maccabi then lost their following two games while conceding seven goals. They are still looking for their first points from this UCL campaign and also their first goals. Porto, meanwhile have enjoyed 10 days off since they last played and are in a great position to qualify for the knockout stages. They have a decent away record at this stage of the Champions League having lost just two of 10 trips since 2012/13 while winning four times with all those wins coming to nil. Maccabi’s key central midfielder Nosa Igiebor has been injured since mid-September and he is a big loss and Porto should pick up another win here. Furthermore, five of Maccabi’s last six defeats have been by more than one goal.
Olympiakos v Dinamo Zagreb
Dinamo have slipped to third in the Croatian league as their away form has let them down. They lost 5-0 at Bayern in their opening away game and excluding preliminary rounds they’ve lost their last 14 away European matches while conceding 42 goals and scoring just five. Since 2009/10 Olympiakos have won 12 of 16 home matches in the UCL group stage with seven Win/Win (HT/FT) doubles. They’ve won all nine Super League games this season and have scored 15 goals in their four home matches so their form is good and another easy win should follow.
Roma v Bayer Leverkusen
Roma probably need to win this game if they want to claim the second spot in Group E behind Barcelona but they come into it having suffered a disappointing loss at Inter last weekend. However, they’ve scored 16 goals in their six home games this season in all competitions, albeit while failing to keep a clean sheet. Amazingly they’ve also failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 25 games in Europe and the reverse fixture a fortnight ago finished 4-4. Leverkusen’s last four matches in all competitions have seen a total of 24 goals and six of their last seven away games have seen at least three goals so this could be a good match for the neutral.