Ajax, Inter, Real Madrid and Salzburg have UEFA Champions League escape plans to enact. See what Wednesday’s final group-stage matchnight of 2020 has to offer.
Group A: Bayern vs Lokomotiv Moskva
Group A: Salzburg vs Atlético de Madrid
Group B: Real Madrid vs Mönchengladbach
Group B: Internazionale vs Shakhtar Donetsk
Group C: Manchester City vs Marseille
Group C: Olympiacos vs Porto
Group D: Ajax vs Atalanta (17:55 GMT)
Group D: Midtjylland vs Liverpool (17:55 GMT)
*20:00 GMT unless stated
Can Salzburg steal Atlético’s thunder?
Sparks flew when Atlético took on Salzburg on Matchday 2, João Félix’s 85th-minute goal eventually settling an old-fashioned ding-dong 3-2 in the Spanish side’s favour. The rematch will have extra needle in it, since the Austrian champions can deny Diego Simeone’s men a round of 16 place with a victory in the city of Mozart. “Salzburg have their final!” beamed local paper Kronenzeitung after their 3-1 win at Lokomotiv last time out. Atlético may wish to keep a close eye on Mergim Berisha, the 22-year-old on a hot streak in front of goal.
Day of destiny for Gladbach, Shakhtar, Madrid and Inter
Mönchengladbach are certain of at least a UEFA Europa League spot, but everything else in Group B is up for grabs. Alassane Pléa struck twice at home to Inter Milan on Matchday 5, but Gladbach still lost, while Shakhtar completed a double over Real Madrid to leave Zinédine Zidane’s side below the Pitmen in the section. Now Madrid welcome Gladbach, and Inter host Shakhtar. “The group table tells us that there’s nothing for us except to win the last match,” said Madrid’s Toni Kroos with a shrug. Same goes for everyone.
Ajax out to deny Atalanta
Group stage drama queens, Atalanta famously made it through their maiden campaign despite losing their first three games, and have been prone to wild swings this season too, notably following up a 5-0 home loss to Liverpool with a 2-0 win at Anfield. Thus, they visit Ajax on Matchday 6 knowing any defeat would bar them from the round of 16, with the Dutch champions eager to profit from their misfortune. Midfielder Ryan Gravenberch won admiring glances for his display at Liverpool last time out. Can he sparkle again?
Olympiacos or Marseille scrap for third
Olympiacos lost 2-1 at Marseille last time out, but that away goal could be the killer in the final outcome. The sides are level on three points, vying for the UEFA Europa League berth in Group C, and with a head-to-head advantage, Pedro Martins’ team hold the aces as they welcome Porto. Marseille boss André Villas-Boas is still hoping. “We’ll go to Manchester City and give it our all,” he said after his charges ended their 13-game group stage losing streak. “We’ll put our faith in Porto to do the job against Olympiacos.”