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Champions League: Round 5 Preview

Round 5 of the Champions League is an absolutely massive one as many groups look set to be decided this week. The huge games we'll be seeing include Real Madrid vs. PSG, Juventus vs. Atletico, Valencia vs. Chelsea and Liverpool vs. Napoli.

Ahead of the action, here's a quick guide on each group and what the situation is.

Before we get into it, a tip for 5-a-side fantasy players - this evening's round (Tuesday) does not include any banded players from the early kick-offs meaning the round deadline is kick-off in the six later games that begin at 8pm UTC. As a result, you'll be able to see some team news for all of the games that matter in the round before editing your picks.

Group A

The situation: Barring some very unlikely results, Group A looks pretty settled already. PSG have had a flawless campaign so far, winning all four of their games without conceding a single goal. They have a 5-point lead over Real Madrid meaning even if Real defeat them this evening, Paris will win the group so long as they don't slip up in their final group game which is at home against Galatasaray. Brugge stand an outside chance of stealing Real Madrid's runners-up spot but they'd have to win in Turkey tonight, rely on PSG winning this evening and then defeat Los Blancos at home in Round 6.

Real Madrid vs. PSG There's still a sense that Real Madrid aren't quite right this season, though they haven't lost a match since being beaten by Mallorca, seven games ago. Zidane's side looked strong in their last UCL outing against Galatasaray which saw Rodrygo really begin making a name for himself with a perfect hat-trick, and the bookies have even made the hosts slight favourites, but I see PSG as being too strong. Paris have been fantastic in group games for a while now; the knockouts will be their big test. Prediction: 1-3

Galatasaray vs. Brugge Both of these teams are still without a Champions League win this season having played out a 0-0 draw in the reverse of this fixture. Galatasaray are still yet to even score a goal in this year's competition and may remain without fire power for this one with Florin Andone and Radamel Falcao both struggling with injuries. Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera is also a slight doubt so I'm tempted to go with Brugge to complete Galatasaray's set of 0-1 defeats at home in this group stage. Prediction: 0-1

Group B

The situation: A very similar situation to Group A! Bayern will be confirmed as group winners with a win or likely even a draw against Red Star this evening while Tottenham can confirm their place in the next round as runners up with a win over Olympiacos. The highly likely scenario is that Round 6 sees Bayern v Tottenham played out as a dead rubber with the teams already confirmed as 1st and 2nd place respectively in Group B.

Red Star vs. Bayern Red Star had been known as a formidable place to go but they were beaten 0-4 by Tottenham last time out despite meeting the English side during their poor run of form under Mauricio Pochettino. Bayern come into this one off the back of consecutive 4-0 league wins. David Alaba misses out as his partner is expecting the birth of their child. Prediction: 0-2

Tottenham vs. Olympiacos Jose Mourinho returns to Champions League football with a favourable fixture as Spurs look to put things right against Olympiacos having surrendered a 0-2 lead in Greece. A routine win is expected for the hosts. Prediction: 2-0

Group C

The situation: Manchester City site above the rest as expected and will win this group with a victory over Shakhtar. The Ukrainian side currently sit second, five points behind City and level on points with Dinamo Zagreb who they have just drawn with twice. Zagreb visit Atalanta this evening who are four points adrift at the bottom but that does of course mean that a win tonight could put the Serie A side back in contention. Shakhtar and Dinamo have home advantage in Round 6 which could be significant, especially when you consider Dinamo will be facing a City side who may have already qualified as group winners if Shakhtar fail to get anything at the Etihad this evening.

Atalanta vs. Dinamo Atalanta's poor UCL campaign showed signs of a resurrection last time out as they managed a 1-1 draw with City at the San Siro. That makes me feel more confident about backing them to find a first win of the group stage in this one against a team they are better than on paper. There is of course significant motivation for both clubs and an entertaining fixture can be expected in Milan. Prediction: 3-2

Manchester City vs. Shakhtar Shakhtar haven't managed a goal in their last two visits to the Etihad across the past couple of seasons and another comfortable victory for City is expect to seal the group. Sergio Aguero has been added to City's injury list meaning a start for Gabriel Jesus is highly likely but Pep Guardiola will want this game won early so that he can perhaps sub off and protect players such as the Brazilian ahead of the busy upcoming Premier League fixture period. Prediction: 2-0

Group D

The situation: Atletico Madrid are the team that looks slightly vulnerable in this group ahead of their trip to Turin this evening though they should still be the team to progress alongside Juventus. Diego Simeone's side could still progress as group winners if they win away against Maurizio Sarri's team but a loss would mean they'd be just one point ahead of a third if there's a winner in the game between Lokomotiv and Leverkusen. A Juve win would see them through as group winners.

Lokomotiv vs. Leverkusen Leverkusen's 2-1 win over Atletico last time out will give them huge confidence ahead of this match but it's worth remembering they did lose the reverse of this fixture so Lokomotiv will perhaps also fancy their chances. A draw is no good to either team here - even if Europa League qualification is the goal as neither can count on winning their final group stage game - so we can expect both sides to really go for it and a game like that will suit the visitors, in my opinion. Prediction: 1-2

Juventus vs. Atletico Atletico are always a force in the Champions League but just haven't looked as solid as usual in recent weeks, drawing far too many games in La Liga. They face Juventus who just know how to win and still haven't lost a single game under Sarri. It's hard to predict an away win given Atletico's form and the fact they'll be without Gimenez, Savic and Diego Costa. Juventus also have a few injury concerns though including Douglas Costa, Alex Sandro and the long-term absence of Giorgio Chiellini. Prediction: 2-1

Group E

The situation: Liverpool currently sit top of the group, a point ahead of Napoli, with Salzburg 4 points off that runners up spot in third. Since Napoli's final group stage game is at home against Genk, they'll be confident of qualifying regardless of what happens at Anfield, but qualifying as group winners is always preferable and they won't need reminding that they were held to a 0-0 by Genk earlier in the tournament. Though a point would keep Liverpool in the driving seat, a trip to Salzburg in Round 6 won't be easy and Jurgen Klopp would no doubt welcome the chance to rest players if they've already defeated Napoli.

Genk vs. Salzburg Salzburg hammered Genk 6-2 in the reverse of this fixture and will expect to continue their free-scoring form in Belgium. The hosts have little to play for in this one and you'd be brave to pick against the team that has already scored 13 goals in this tournament. Prediction: 1-3

Liverpool vs. Napoli Liverpool were beaten in Naples but are strong favourites to win at their fortress, Anfield. Mo Salah is expected to return from injury for the Reds and Napoli have experienced some rocky form ever since that home win over Klopp's side. Lorenzo Insigne will miss out with an elbow injury which won't help Carlo Ancelotti who is looking for a first win in all competitions for over a month. Prediction: 2-1

Group F

The situation: A group that remains fairly open. Barcelona sit top of the group but only a point ahead of Dortmund who visit the Camp Nou tomorrow. The two teams played out a 0-0 draw in Germany and Barca also played out a goalless game against Slavia Prague last time out meaning they've scored just 4 goals from their 4 games in this campaign. Inter are three points behind BVB in third but will be kicking themselves for losing in Dortmund from a winning position in Round 4. They have a chance to get themselves back in the mix if they can win in Prague but will likely also have to beat Barcelona at the San Siro in Round 6 in order to progress.

Barcelona vs. Dortmund It's tricky to know what you'll get from either of these two teams at the moment. Barca have won their last three league games but lost at Levante and draw 0-0 with Slavia before that, while Dortmund have been battered in the Klassiker and had to come from 3-0 down against relegation battlers Paderborn to rescue a point since their more positive comeback against Inter. Dortmund's defensive vulnerabilities makes Barca favourites though the hosts will be without Gerard Pique due to suspension. Prediction: 2-0

Slavia Prague vs. Inter A tight game is expected between these two with Slavia looking competitive despite being in such a difficult group and Inter failing to transfer their constant winning Serie A form to the Champions League. The pair played out a 1-1 draw in Milan and another draw here may not be the worst pick. Slavia have been very competitive in their two home games against Barca and BVB but did ultimately end up losing out. I think this match could see a similar situation which would make Round 6 very interesting. Prediction: 1-2

Group G

The situation: After losing at Lyon, Zenit must defeat the Ligue 1 side at home tomorrow to stand any chance of progressing to the Last 16. Zenit sit three points behind their opponents going into Round 5 with Leipzig leading the way a couple of points ahead of Lyon. All teams remain in contention though, as Benfica could also still stand a chance of progression if they win in Germany this week and Zenit pick up three points.

Zenit vs. Lyon Lyon have won four of their last five games in all competitions so will feel optimistic that they can get a result in Saint Petersburg, despite Zenit being tough to face away. The Russian side will of course know that they need a win in this one but were played off their own park by Leipzig in Round 4. I can see this one ending level as it did when the teams last met which would eliminate Zenit but would also still leave Lyon with some work to do in Round 6 if Benfica defeat Leipzig. Prediction: 1-1

Leipzig vs. Benfica These two teams will have an idea of the other Group G result by the time they kick-off but regardless of circumstance, you'd think Leipzig will have too much. Having already won away in Portugal, Leipzig should pick up three points at home against Benfica, especially when you consider that they're on a five-match winning run that has included a lot of goals. Benfica are going just fine domestically but have struggled in the UCL ever since losing that opener. Prediction: 2-1

Group H

The situation: Probably the most exciting group of all. Group H has proven to be as tight as many expected, with Ajax, Chelsea and Valencia all tied on 7 points. Fortunately, Valencia v Chelsea is an early kick-off which will make it slightly easier to keep track of what is happening tomorrow night! If either Chelsea or Valencia win then they are through to the knockout stage of the Champions League. This is because they will have a favourable head-to-head in the event of a three-way tie involving Ajax. With that in mind, all is not over for either team that loses, but a draw would be a risky result for both sides, particularly Valencia who have to travel to Ajax in Round 6.

Valencia vs. Chelsea Valencia picked up a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge back in Round 1 but Frank Lampard's team look to have improved considerably since that result, putting in impressive away performances at Lille, Ajax and even Manchester City last weekend despite the result. Valencia are unbeaten at home since losing 0-3 to Ajax though and have only lost 2 of their 9 games in all competitions since then. An incredibly tight game is expected but I make Chelsea slight favourites with Kante back fit. Prediction: 0-1

Lille vs. Ajax Lille are on a run of four games without a win, with that streak including a 4-1 defeat at Valencia, and Ajax are hot favourites to pick up three very important points in France. Ajax are unbeaten in 5 since losing to Chelsea at home and have scored exactly 4 goals in each and every one of those 5 games. A win here would put them in a good position in the group, as they'd only need a point in their home game against Valencia in order to guarantee qualification for the knockouts. Prediction: 0-3

Best of luck with your predictor and fantasy picks this week! It should be a lot of fun to watch..
14,663 caps
Think as Paris allready thru Real Madrid might get a draw and A Madrid might get a draw with Juventus as are draw masters. Think Man City and Tottenham should have easy wins and glad can see the teams before fantasy picks as teams may rest some big names.
26 Nov 12:29
14,663 caps
I said a draw for real and psg but then saw I had predicted a 3-2 win to real lol 27 Nov 08:51
16,023 caps
Thanks Jack this is REALLY useful! Why risk players when you are already thru and need them to be fresh for domestic games. GREAT IDEA to shift picking deadline to the later games. I hate getting beat by Dumb-luckers getting 2 or even 3 Back-up players better points, it's pure chance! Personally I think a backup should be from the same team like in real life for the coaches ("Hi guys, Mo Salah isn't quite fit but Kevin De Bruyne has agreed to play for us!").
26 Nov 16:45
16,023 caps
So we can only pick from the 12 teams playing at 8pm. That is a real shame as I was so looking forward to pitting a Lackofmotiv Moscow player up against some Buy-a-loo-for-your-cousin players. Yes I write of the wonderfully named 'Zhemale-tdinov' & the 'Bender' brothers Lars (DNS) & Sven. And I thought I'd never top Atalanta's Hans 'Hateboer'!
26 Nov 18:28
374 caps
Real 1-1psg
26 Nov 19:33
3,990 caps
c z
28 Nov 06:26
99 caps
My pirdiction is stele good for other African
1 Dec 11:25
38 caps
so lame
8 Dec 06:48