Get the lowdown on the final eight matches as the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage comes to a close.
Below is a game-by-game preview of Wednesday’s games for Matchday 6.
Real Madrid vs Celtic (18:45)
“You can have a bad day – but you can’t lack intensity.” So said Thibaut Courtois after a 3-2 loss to Leipzig on Matchday 5 took some of the gloss off Real Madrid’s Group F campaign, and they could yet be denied top spot in the section if they drop points against eliminated Celtic. The Hoops are certain to finish bottom of the section, but coach Ange Postecoglou wants them to learn and come back better next season, saying: “My job is to make sure we’re here every year.”
Shakhtar vs Leipzig (18:45)
A draw at Celtic on Matchday 5 has left Shakhtar in a position where they could leapfrog Leipzig into a Champions League slot. “It will be a hard game, but we believe we can play well in front of our own fans and they will help us believe that it is possible,” said Pitmen boss Igor Jovićević. Leipzig will be sure of qualifying with a draw but, after losing 4-1 at home to Shakhtar on Matchday 1, will know that they have a serious task at hand.
Chelsea vs Dinamo Zagreb (21:00)
The Blues are already certain of top spot in Group E, so Graham Potter’s side have little to play for, bar perhaps to gain some revenge for the 1-0 defeat in Zagreb on Matchday 1 that prompted Thomas Tuchel’s departure. Dinamo, though, know that a win in London could prolong their campaign into the new year. “We can hope,” said coach Ante Čačić after their chastening 4-0 home loss to AC Milan last time out. “We will do our best in the last match and see what happens.”
AC Milan vs Salzburg (21:00)
Top spot in Group E is already decided, but Milan must avoid defeat to avoid being gazumped by Salzburg in the race for second place. “We need to do our best to win the last game and qualify,” said coach Stefano Pioli, though in practice a draw would be enough. In Austria, Kronen Zeitung has billed this game as the “Grande Finale”, and Matthias Jaissle’s side will be up for it. “We have a final at AC Milan,” said striker Noah Okafor. “If we want to qualify for the round of 16, we have to win there.”
Man City vs Sevilla (21:00)
Group G is already settled, with three points separating each of the teams ahead of Matchday 6. For City, that means a guaranteed seeded place in the round of 16 as group winners, while Sevilla are certain to finish third. “On to the Europa League, at least,” was the headline in AS after the Spanish side’s victory against Copenhagen last time out, with Jorge Sampaoli’s men hoping a return to the competition they have won six times augurs well.
Copenhagen vs Dortmund (21:00)
The Danish champions are already destined to finish bottom of the table, so their main target as they welcome Dortmund may be to avoid becoming the fourth side to complete a Champions League group stage without scoring a single goal. To date, three clubs have drawn a blank: Deportivo La Coruña (2004/05), Maccabi Haifa (2009/10) and Dinamo Zagreb (2016/17). As for Dortmund, they are sure to end as Group G runners-up and may be inclined to rest some key performers in Denmark.
Juventus vs Paris (21:00)
Massimiliano Allegri has failed to lead his side through to the Champions League round of 16 for the first time in his career, and they could even miss out on a place in the Europa League if they lose to Paris (who need a win to be sure of top spot in the section). “We have to go to the Europa League at all costs,” said Bianconeri defender Federico Gatti. This has been a trying autumn for Juve, but the three 19-year-olds who came on in the latter stages of Matchday 5’s 4-3 loss at Benfica hinted at a brighter tomorrow.
Maccabi Haifa vs Benfica (21:00)
Maccabi Haifa conceded seven in Paris last time out but can take comfort from having scored twice as they welcome Roger Schmidt’s buoyant Benfica, whose win against Juventus took their run this season to 20 games unbeaten (W16 D4). The right combination of results could still take the Israeli champions into the Europa League knockout round play-offs. “Benfica are a great team, but I have asked the Paris coach to do the business by beating Juventus,” said coach Barak Bakhar.
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