PSV are one of the selections in our Champions League round-up preview for Tuesday night.
Sevilla v Juventus
After a fantastic 3-0 win in the opening group match it’s been all downhill for Sevilla as they’ve conceded 11 goals on their way to four consecutive defeats. Still, with Monchengladbach going to Man City they will hope for a favour there that would allow them to advance to the Europa League – where they are defending champions – with a win of their own. They’ve won 10 of their last 11 home matches in Europe and have wins over Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia here domestically this season. Juventus have won five in a row in all competitions but having already qualified there must be a temptation to prioritise Sunday’s match against high-flying Fiorentina and they’ve won only one of their 14 trips to Spain in the past 20 years (W1-D6-L7). It’s probably worth some cover on the draw though, as that result would guarantee the Old Lady tops the group.
Galatasaray v Astana
Neither of these sides can qualify for the Last 16 and Astana must win if they want to leapfrog into the Europa spot. There have only been six previous final group matches in either the Champions or Europa League where both teams have had either three or four points from their first five matches but the home side has won five of these games. Galatasaray’s recent home record in Europe isn’t great but they have to fancy their chances here and they’ve scored three or more goals in four of their last five home games in all competitions. Astana have done well at home in this group, managing three draws, but they’ve lost both away matches without scoring. Over 2.5 Goals is definitely an option given Gala’s attack and Astana’s need to win and with 10 of the Turk’s last 13 games going over that mark, and six having Over 3.5, that looks a good bet to combine with the win.
PSV v CSKA
Group B is on a knife-edge, particularly if you are a Man Utd fan. A win for PSV would mean United need to win in Wolfsburg while CSKA must win themselves if they wish to go through to the Europa League. The Dutch side have won nine of 10 home games in all competitions this season and while the Muscovite’s top the Russian league they are in a run of poor form. Since the start of November they’ve picked up just one point from six matches in all competitions while scoring only twice. Furthermore, they’ve lost eight of their 10 away matches in the Champions League since 2013/14 and are missing their first choice centre-back, left-back and attacking midfielder.
Real Madrid v Malmo
Malmo were beaten 5-0 at home by PSG in their last game and they’ve lost their two away matches in the group 2-0 and 4-0 so this is surely a question of by how many they lose. With key players, Rosenberg, Molins and Bengtsson all missing their task looks even more impossible and since 2004/05 Real’s European record at home against teams from outside the Big Five leagues is a perfect 22 wins, with an average of 4.18 goals per game scored in the 11 matches since 2011/12 which were all won by at least three clear goals. Malmo are arguably weaker than any of the sides they faced in that run and Real look worth backing to rack up a huge win.
Benfica v Atletico Madrid
A point for Benfica will be enough to top the group but both teams are already safely through to the next round. Benfica started the season poorly but they’ve won their last four league games with 11 goals scored and none conceded, though they are up against an Atletico side that have won six in a row in all competitions. Since 2011/12, Benfica have lost only three of their 26 European home matches with 16 games having fewer than three goals. Meanwhile, there have been fewer than three goals in nine of Atletico’s last 11 away matches in Europe with seven being goalless at half-time. This has the makings of a tight game and both sides may be content to be patient early on.
PSG v Shakhtar Donetsk
With Malmo travelling to Real Madrid in the other game in this group this match looks likely to be irrelevant as a Madrid win confirms everyone’s position. PSG will definitely finish second in the group regardless so it would not be a surprise to see several changes. Since 2003/04 there have been 14 final group matches in the Champions or Europa League where the home side had 10-12 points and the away had 3-4 and eight of the matches had at least four goals. Given Shakhtar’s last eight matches in all competitions have seen 42 goals (5.25 gpg) and PSG’s last three home games have each featured exactly five goals there is the potential for some exhibition stuff.