The Champions League returns tonight. Spanish teams have crucial matches, Group H promises to bring more drama and Salzburg youngster Erling Braut Haaland is looking to inspire his side again. Here are the things to look out for on matchweek 5. Bet on the Champions League here.
Revenge mission for Atletico
Atletico Madrid will be looking to join Juventus in the last-16 stage of the Champions League when the Spanish giants face the Italian champions tonight. Diego Simeone’s side are four points clear of both Lokomotiv Moscow and Bayer Leverkusen in Group D, but a defeat in Turin, coupled with a win for either of the two other teams, would make things very interesting on the final matchday. Cristiano Ronaldo should play tonight and Atletico players and fans recall last season’s humiliating 3-0 defeat, a game when Ronaldo scored all three goals of course. This is a new Atletico side which has been underwhelming this season. They meet their tormentor-in-chief again tonight in Ronaldo. Can they stop him?
Barcelona are top of both La Liga and Group F but performances have been far from impressive. A win against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday would erase any bad memories and allow the hosts to book their spot in the last-16. However, a draw or a defeat combined with an Inter Milan win could precipitate a doomsday scenario at San Siro in their last group game. Ernesto Valverde’s side have the second-lowest points total, the lowest goal difference of any group leader and in terms of goal totals. Still, they have not missed the knockout phase since Lionel Messi joined the first team in 2004/05.
Group H drama
Group H is extremely tight. Last season’s semi-finalists Ajax, Chelsea and Valencia are all on seven points, with French side Lille already out. The Blues play Valencia on Wednesday away from home and if there’s a winner in that match, they will go through leaving the loser and Ajax to battle for the second spot. If it’s a draw, the final round of matches will be mesmerizing. The pressure is on Los Che to win considering they face Ajax in their last match. If they lose to Chelsea, especially by more than one goal, then the head-to-head advantage will disappear. However the results go tonight, it will set up an intriguing finale.
Can Haaland produce more magic to keep Salzburg in contention?
Salzburg striker Erling Braut Haaland hit a UEFA Champions League-debut hat-trick against Genk in the first group match. To prove that was no fluke, he added four more in his side’s next three games and could be instrumental again against Genk on Wednesday. when they’ll be looking to boost their hopes of qualifying to the next round. Liverpool welcome Napoli in the other Group E fixture. If Salzburg drop points, both of those clubs are through; if the Austrian side wins, it sets up another fascinating finale when they entertain the European champions in their last match.
A must-win scenario for Inter
2010 Champions League winners Inter Milan are in a difficult place in Group F. They’re third in the table three points behind second-placed Borussia Dortmund. The German side’s spectacular comeback 3-2 victory over Inter, proved crucial. Inter must win away at Slavia Prague, a side that nearly beat them at San Siro on matchday one. If Barcelona win and Inter win, it leaves them tied on seven points with Dortmund leaving them in another must-win game against Barcelona in their last match.