Plenty of issues are already settled as Matchday 6 looms, but the group stage could have a nasty sting in the tail for some of the UEFA Champions League’s biggest sides.
Group E: Chelsea vs Krasnodar
Group E: Rennes vs Sevilla
Group F: Zenit vs Dortmund (17:55 GMT)
Group F: Lazio vs Club Brugge (17:55 GMT)
Group G: Barcelona vs Juventus
Group G: Dynamo Kyiv vs Ferencváros
Group H: Paris vs İstanbul Başakşehir,
Group H: Leipzig vs Manchester United
*20:00 GMT unless stated
Will Paris, United or Leipzig miss out?
“We are very aware that the next game will be difficult,” insisted Neymar after Matchday 5’s 3-1 success at Old Trafford, but if a point at home against eliminated Başakşehir spells certain qualification for Paris, coach Thomas Tuchel remains wary: “Almost qualified isn’t qualified.” Leipzig and United are level with Paris on nine Group H points meaning any winner in their meeting would qualify; both sides have been unpredictable this season, and both could go through with a draw if Paris lose. In short: it’s tight.
Club Brugge march on Rome
Club Brugge honoured coach Philippe Clement’s promise that they would “go all-in” against Zenit on Matchday 5, a 3-0 win setting them up for an improbable mission: beat Lazio in Rome and the Belgian champions will qualify at their hosts’ expense (and set a new club record of ten points in a UEFA Champions League group stage). On-loan Ajax winger Noa Lang scored their third against Zenit, and said afterwards: “We now have seven points and hunger for more. One more hurdle against Lazio.” Madder things have happened.
Messi vs Ronaldo a possibility in Barcelona
There has been much paper talk about what could be a final career meeting between Lionel Messi, 33, and Cristiano Ronaldo, 35, both players likely to feature even though Barcelona and Juventus have qualified. Adding to the party mood, there is also a chance that Juventus might give Gianluigi Buffon the nod in goal. However, there is serious stuff at stake too, with the hosts having a proud statistic to fight for in Group G. They have topped their group for the last 13 UEFA Champions League seasons, but defeat at home to Juventus could end that run.
Kyiv conundrum for Ferencváros boss Rebrov
At the foot of Group G, Serhiy Rebrov is preparing for what might be a painful trip down memory lane. A Dynamo Kyiv great, the Ferencváros coach heads to Kyiv with the sides’ level on one point, vying for a transfer to the UEFA Europa League. He told UEFA.com: “I support [Dynamo] and follow them all the time; this team means a lot to me. Unfortunately, we ended up in the same group, and I feel bad that one of our, well, my teams has to lose out. I always prepare for the game in a professional manner, and Dynamo is no exception.”