So this is it. After five games, the UEFA Champions League Group stages conclude on Tuesday and Wednesday evening, with Matchday 6 determining top seeds, who joins the winners in the last 16, who drops down to the Europa League last 32 and who unceremoniously exits Europe altogether.
As is stands, 12 of the 16 teams to progress are certain but only Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Manchester City have confirmed their place as Group winners. With C and F all wrapped up with no changes possible in their respective standings, we focus on the remaining groupings.
Group D is surely must-watch in MD6. With just two points separating all four of Tottenham, Sporting, Eintracht Frankfurt and Marseille, any team can yet top the ladder, or even crash out of European competition – with the exception of Spurs who will get a Europa League berth at worst. Marseille currently occupy fourth, but as they welcome the Lilywhites to Stade Velodrome all could change. Spurs’ away record this term is not attractive but in truth, it is hard to predict whether Marseille will turn up having lost their last two home games in Ligue 1. However, with the visitors yet to win away in this season’s competition, the hosts can be backed at 2/1 with SBK to potentially send Antonio Conte packing.
A significant north London narrative in play, former Arsenal employee Alexis Sanchez and on-loan full-back Nuno Tavares will line-up, however, it could be Matteo Guendouzi to cause the most trouble. Having improved immeasurably since leaving the Gunners, the midfielder has been a regular goalscorer for the French outfit and is valued very favourably to net here at 17/2 with UniBet.
In Group A, Liverpool need to beat Napoli by four goals to skip past the flying Partenopei and top the standings. Though their Premier League form continues to flag, in Europe the same cannot be said and The Reds scored 10 goals across MD4 and MD5. So can we see the Merseysiders hitting the four they need? Perhaps, but the Italians’ attack is one of the best around and will be hard to stop from finding the net. Given this game is at Anfield, it goes without saying Liverpool will be going for it so we can easily see a goal glut. Backing over 3.5 goals at 13/10 with Betfair looks a good play.
Group H is well poised meanwhile, with Benfica and Paris Saint-Germain battling for top spot. PSG’s task looks the taller with a tricky trip to Juventus, whilst Roger Schmidt takes his side to Israel to play Maccabi Haifa. It shouldn’t be forgotten that both home sides are playing for the Europa League here, and whilst Juve can afford to lose if Benfica come out on top also, The Old Lady will want to avoid a humiliating dumping out of the Europe altogether. They could make it difficult the former finalists and for both teams to score but PSG to win, an 11/5 shot with Bet365 might interest.
Perhaps the surprise package this year so far, Club Brugge remain in control of their destiny in Group B, however the Belgians must win in Germany against bottom side Bayer Leverkusen who can still snatch a Europa League place from Atletico Madrid. Los Colchoneros themselves travel to Porto and this particular game is grabbing our attention. Outings between these two sides have always been physical and spicy encounters and with Daniele Orsato in the middle, looking for over 6.5 cards to be shown has a very decent chance of coming in at 15/8 with PaddyPower.
Finally, In Group E, Chelsea may have secured top spot, but Milan and Salzburg face off at San Siro in a winner-take-all meeting. The Rossoneri need only a draw to seal their spot, whilst the Austrians must win to leapfrog their hosts. Form home and away of late has been impressive and though suffering defeat at Torino on Sunday evening, Milan will surely have too much here. A boosted scorer double for both Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao can be grabbed for 7/1 with SkyBet.