RB Leipzig v Man. United @Red Bull Arena @9pm on Dec.8
A draw suffices for Manchester United on Tuesday but RB Leipzig need a win. However, in the event that PSG lose at home – a draw will take both United and Leipzig through.
United travelled to Germany without their two injured strikers in Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani, after overturning another deficit away to West Ham on Saturday. Fred is unavailable because of the red card he got against PSG, which could see Paul Pogba return to the starting lineup.
Julian Nagelsmann’s men went to the Allianz Arena and battled Bayern Munich to a 3-3 draw, but they will be without their hugely influential centre back, Dayot Upamecano. Nagelsmann reminded everyone of United’s knack of fighting back as he told UEFA’s official website, “They have recently shown that they’re good at comebacks, so the match won’t be over until it’s over. We want to get through to the knockouts. We have to fight until the end to get the three points.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes these games are what being a United player is all about. “Knockout games, or games like this, they are big. The players are here. They are United players because they have the qualities which we look for. These are the games we look forward to.”
After being trashed 5-0 at Old Trafford some weeks ago, can Leipzig contain a United side that is fast and deadly on the counter as they seek the goals that will take them through?
Current Form: RB Leipzig [D-W-W-L-D]; Man. United [W-L-W-W-W]
28/10/20 UCL Man. United 5 – 0 RB Leipzig
Ajax v Atalanta @Johan Cruijff Arena @7pm on Dec.9
The math is simple – Ajax need a win to take them above Atalanta, while last season’s surprise semi-finalists need at least a point to join Liverpool in the knockout stages. Both sides have to weather some poor results lately to get what they need on Wednesday. Ajax lost to Twente at home last weekend while Atalanta have looked disjointed lately – with just one win out of their last six matches in all competitions. The task is made harder by the absences of Robin Gosens and Aleksey Miranchuk, because of positive COVID-19 tests.
Current Form: Ajax [L-L-W-W-W]; Atalanta [D-L-W-D-D]
27/10/20 UCL Atalanta 2 – 2 Ajax
Real Madrid v Borussia Monchengladbach @Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano @9pm on Dec.9
If Group B ends now, Real Madrid will play in the Europa League. But Zinedine Zidane’s team have Wednesday to prevent this unwanted history when they host current group leaders, Monchengladbach. A loss to Inter Milan on matchday 5 and that last minute concession of an equaliser to Real Madrid on matchday 2 has seen Marco Rose’s side unsure of qualification even though they start matchday 6 as group leaders. The returns of stalwarts like Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal will comfort Zidane, though Federico Valverde and Eden Hazard are out injured. A draw does not guarantee qualification because third-placed Shakhtar Donetsk will leapfrog both with a win over Inter Milan, fourth at the start of the last matchday. Will Real Madrid show their champions’ stuff, or will the Germans wreck all their good work at the dead?
Current Form: Real Madrid [W-L-L-W-D]; Monchengladbach [D-L-W-W-D]
27/10/20 UCL Monchengladbach 2 – 2 Real Madrid
Salzburg v Atletico Madrid @Red Bull Arena @9pm on Dec.9
Surprisingly, the only match Atletico Madrid have won in Group A was against Salzburg on matchday 2 and they had to come from behind to win 3-2 courtesy of a Joao Felix brace. When Diego Simeone’s team take to the Red Bull Arena on Wednesday, they cannot afford a loss. Salzburg are a good side, unpredictable and will cause any side problems, especially with the return to fitness of forward, Patson Daka, who could replace Mergim Berisha in attack. There is also Dominik Szoboszlai, who could make runs in behind from midfield, though Simeone’s men are more defensively solid now. Simeone will be without Yannick Carrasco and Renan Lodi while Geoffrey Kondogbia is ineligible – having joined too late from Valencia to be registered. Will Simeone prefer defensive solidity to looking for a result in Austria, or will Salzburg throw everything at Atletico to get a result? Any of the scenarios predict an engaging encounter.
Current Form: Lazio [L-W-W-L-L]; Club Brugge [W-D-W-D-W]
27/10/20 UCL Atletico Madrid 3 – 2 Salzburg