Barcelona are expected to prove far too strong for Leverkusen as we round-up Wednesday's games.
Leverkusen v Barcelona
Leverkusen need to better Roma’s result against BATE to have any chance of reaching the Last 16. The Germans put up an impressive performance away to Barcelona when they led for much of the match but the form of both sides has gone in opposite directions since then. Leverkusen have won only one of their last seven games, with four defeats, while Barcelona had scored 26 goals in six matches before being held to a draw at Valencia. The Catalans have of course already won the group and that has clearly been factored into a current price of 1.95. Leverkusen’s recent home record in Europe is decent but against teams that are ranked in the top 10 in our European rankings they’ve lost three of the last four here and eight of the last nine anywhere. Barcelona have won their last six matches against Leverkusen – with Lionel Messi famously netting five in one game – and since 2011/12 they’ve won nine of 14 away matches in the group stage with seven wins by more than one goal.
Dinamo Zagreb v Bayern Munich
There’s nothing riding on this game, with Dinamo set to finish fourth and Bayern first, but the Germans will be sure to want to improve on a recent away record in Europe that has seen them lose four of their last six matches while failing to score three times. However, all those matches were against better teams than Dinamo and in the reverse fixture Bayern were 4-0 up at half-time before winning 5-0. Dinamo’s record in the Champions League group stage since 2011/12 doesn’t make happy reading; they’ve lost 15 of 17 matches, including 12 defeats to nil and 12 by at least two clear goals. Against one of the three best teams in Europe another heavy defeat looks inevitable.
Dynamo Kiev v Maccabi Tel Aviv
Dynamo Kiev will claim one of the two qualifying spots with a win over this pointless Maccabi side. Their form certainly suggests that should be a certainty having won their last five matches in all competitions with a goal difference of +14. Maccabi have managed to score just once in their opening five games as all their defeats have come by more than one goal and all have seen them trail at half-time. Dynamo have conceded just one goal in their last five home games and while Maccabi may look to frustrate them the home side should get the win they need.
Gent v Zenit
Zenit’s 100% record means their winter break effectively started last weekend while Gent can qualify for the Last 16 with a win and may even advance with a defeat. The Russian’s general form has been pretty poor as they’re seven points off the pace of CSKA domestically and they’ve won only one of their last five away matches in all competitions while conceding 10 goals. Gent have had a superb campaign, with wins over Lyon and Valencia already, and they’ve scored in all five matches. Zenit will be looking to finish with a rare perfect record in the group stage but they’ve been conceding plenty of goals this season and both teams to score looks a good price.
Roma v BATE
Roma haven’t tasted victory for a month but a win here will put them into the Last 16 (and a defeat may well be enough) while BATE also need to win if they want to stay in Europe and that result would probably be enough to finish second in the group. Roma’s last clean sheet in Europe came 27 games ago back in 2009 and their five group games so far have averaged 5.40 goals per game. BATE won 3-2 when these teams met in Belarus but on the road it is likely to be a different matter. They’ve lost all five away Champions League group matches since 2014/15 while conceding 20 goals and scoring only one.
Valencia v Lyon
Gary Neville’s first game in charge is a must win game (unless Gent beat Zenit, in which case this match is irrelevant) against another side that is struggling to live up to its former standards this season. Valencia’s struggles have largely been on the road, however, and at the Mestalla they are a far stronger outfit. Zenit are the only side to win here in over a year and they’ve won six of their last seven home matches against French sides. Lyon have slipped to 5th in Ligue 1 and are in awful form with just one point from their last five matches in all competitions. Moreover, their away record since the start of September is W1-D4-L3, with their sole win coming at bottom-of-the-table Troyes, and manager Hubert Fournier is close to the sack. Valencia have the second best defensive record in La Liga this season while Lyon have managed just nine away goals in eight Ligue 1 games so Neville looks to have a chance of a perfect start, with a win and a clean sheet.