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We had a big feast of UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday where a few more teams punched their tickets to the knockout stages, but I hope you’re not full from this feast of football just yet. There’s even more action coming your way Wednesday.
If you thought two doubleheaders on Tuesday was fun, prepare for the triple header of action tomorrow on Fox Sports 1. That’s right, before your Thursday feast, prepare to enjoy a gluttony of Champions League Football.
(All times eastern)
CSKA Moscow (RUS) vs. Wolfsburg (GER) (12:00 PM Fox Sports 1)
Without a doubt the most intriguing group playing on Wednesday is Group B, where the top team (Manchester United) and bottom team (CSKA Moscow) are separated by just three points. Any of the four teams can still advance to the knockout stage, fall to the Europa League, or be sent home completely. Wolfsburg comes into the match riding some up and down form, but lucky for them Moscow has been even worse lately.
CSKA do have a couple things playing to their advantage, the first of which is playing the game in Moscow — a tough task for any away side. The second of course is Seydou Doumbia, who has been one of the most potent strikers in all of the Champions League over the past calendar year. Wolfsburg are good, but I have an inkling that Moscow will pull out a 2-1 win and make Matchday six a crazy one for Group B.
Manchester United (ENG) vs. PSV Eindhoven (NED) (2:45 PM Fox Sports 1)
The other game in the tight Group B. Considering PSV sold their best player from last season (Memphis Depay) to Manchester United, it’s impressive that they are not only still managing to hang around in Group B, but currently sit in second place.
Due to an injury crisis hitting United last weekend Louis van Gaal deployed Memphis as a striker against Watford. The move worked as Memphis scored, which means there’s a good chance we’ll get to see Champions League Memphis come back into the squad for the Red Devils.
Other good news for them is both Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial are fit and ready to return. With that threesome ready to play, van Gaal is crazy enough to start Memphis up top, with Rooney behind him and Martial on the wing. United win 1-0.
Juventus (ITA) vs. Manchester City (ENG) (2:45 PM Fox Sports 2)
Both of these teams have essentially qualified for the knockout stage, assuming they each pick up points in their final game on Matchday six. This game is all about getting control of the group to put yourself in the driver’s seat for the top spot.
The question on everybody’s mind right now is simple. Will the real Manchester City please stand up? What has happened to the Sky Blues recently? The club had gotten themselves on a roll in mid October only to sandwich the most recent international break with a lifeless 0-0 draw against Aston Villa and then a 4-1 shellacking at home by Liverpool.
Juventus have turned it on recently in Serie A, but missed a big chance to grab control of the group when they only managed two straight draws against Borussia Mochengladbach. Nevertheless the confines of home will work for the Italians when they grab a 2-0 win.
Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) vs. Real Madrid (ESP) (2:45 PM Fox Sports Regional)
Any other week and Shakhtar would have the whole playing-all-the-way-in-the-Ukraine thing working to their advantage. Unfortunately they get Real Madrid at the absolute worst time, coming off a 4-0 El Clasico loss to Barcelona. Shakhtar currently sit four points behind PSG which means their only hope in advancing is beating Real Madrid and then PSG in their next match, while PSG drop points against Malmo.
Despite Real Madrid having already qualified, they still need to win this match, if only to help manage the pressure that they are currently under from their own fans. For the first time in a while they’re also pretty healthy, which will help them grab a 3-0 win.
PSG will be wearing special ‘Je Suis Paris’ jerseys in honor of the victims of the November 13th terrorist attacks in Paris in their match against Malmo. As soon as they put those shirts on they’ll be motivated and they’ll get a 3-0 win.
Benfica gets the day started with a 10 a.m. match against Astana, who have proven to be very tough to beat at home. Astana will hold their own to earn a 1-1 draw.
Atletico Madrid need just a draw against Galatasary to advance to the knockout round in the other Group C match, they’ll get at least that at home.
Sevilla still have an outside chance at jumping Juventus if they can get past Borussia Mochengladbach Wednesday and Juventus fall to City. Unfortunately that requires a trip to Germany, where the Germans will have just enough to stifle them and grab their first win (2-1) of the competition.
Enjoy the games!