Monday, 25 November 2013

Champions League: Bundesliga Club matchups 26, 27 Nov 2013

Champions League play resumes on Tuesday with matchday 5, with four Bundesliga clubs participating. On Tuesday 26 November Schalke travels to Steaua and Borussia Dortmund hosts Napoli.  The highlight on Wednesday 27 November is the matchup between Bayer Leverkusen, currently second in the Bundesliga against EPL champion Manchester United, while FC Bayern Munich travels to Moscow to take on CKSA. 

Current standings

Bayer Leverkusen currently trails Manchester United in Group A by one point (8) and has an opportunity to improve it's chances to move into the knock out phase.  Shaktar Donetsk and Sociedad trail in third and fourth with with 5 and 1 point respectively.  Should Donetsk win, Leverkusen needs at least a draw against United.

FC Bayern Muenchen leads Group D with 12 points, followed by Manchester City with 9, CKSA 3 and Pilzen without points.  Bayern is already qualified for the knockout phase, but a win could secure its top spot.

Schalke 04 holds second place in Group C, behind Chelsea with 9, ahead of FC Basel with 5 and Steaua Bucharest with 2.  A Chelsea win over Basel, coupled with a Schalke win over Steaua will ensure a second place finish for the German side.

Borussia Dortmund is in the worst position of all German sides, holding third spot in Group F, behind Arsenal and Naples with 9 points each.  Marseille is in fourth spot without any points.  Dortmund desperately needs a win to have any chance of qualifying for the knockout stage. 


Leverkusen vs Manchester United - Leverkusen, after this weekend's narrow win over Hertha BSC Berlin is currently in second place of the Bundesliga, while Manchester United manage a draw against Cardiff on Sunday and holds sixth spot in the Barclay's Premier League.  The Red Devils won their previous encounter with Leverkusen 4-2 in Old Trafford and are widely considered favourites.  Sidney Sam is likely to sit this one out for Leverkusen, due to a thigh injury, while while Phil Jones and Michael Carrick remained sidelined for the visitors.

Possible lineups:

Leverkusen: Leno; Donati, Wollscheid, Toprak, Ctan; Hegeler, Bender, Rolfes, Castro, Son; Kiessling

Man Utd: De Gea; Evra, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Cleverley, Kagawa; Rooney, Welbeck, Van Persie

Steaua Bucharest vs Schalke 04.  Schalke is predicted to win this match, despite Steaua's win record in their last three matches, while Schalke recorded two wins, one draw and two losses in their last five.  During this weekend's Bundesliga play, Schalke gave up a two goal lead to end up with a 3-3 draw.  Schalke defeated Steaua 3-0 at home and managed a 2-1 win and a scoreless draw in 2011. 

Possible Line Ups;

Schalke:  Hildrebrand; Howedes, Aogo, Uchida, Matip; Boateng, Hoger, Neustadter, Draxler;Farfan, Szalai

Steaua: Tatarusanu; Latovlevici, Szukala, Georgievski, Filip; Gardos, Tanase, Bourceanu, Stanciu; Popa, Piovaccari

CKSA Moscow vs FC Bayern Munich:

Borussia Dortmund vs Napoli.  Dortmund's group, which includes Arsenal, Marseille and Napoli, was considered one of the toughest in this year's Champions League campaign. Nevertheless Dortmund was expected to qualify for the knock out round.  Trailing behind Arsenal and Naples in third place, Dortmund's Champions League venture may come to an end.  A win by Arsenal and a Dortmund defeat could relegate Dortmund to the Euro League. 

This past weekend, Dortmund lost its head to head encounter with record champion FC Bayern, after Mario Goetze fired the opening volley.  Bayern then went on to destroy Dortmund with a 3-0 victory. 
Juergen Klopp lost his ever present smile, no doubt, looking forward to the upcoming match with Naples, which will be without defenders Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer and Novan Subotic.  Manuel Friedrich, recently acquired on a free transfer, will not permitted to play. Lukasz Piszczek may also miss the match. He was sidelined on the weekend with a hip complaint. 

 Naples will be without Giandomenico Mesto and Juan Zuniga because of knee complaints.  Naples won their earlier match against Dortmund in Naples 2-1. Dortmund lost three of their last six matches, while Naples lost two.  Dortmund's yellow wall support is needed by the club, after its devastating defeat on the weekend against visiting Bayern.  There is a lot at stake for this  match.

Possible Line Ups:

Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Grosskreutz, Piszczek, Papastathopoulos, Durm; Sahin, Blaszczykowski, Bender, Mkhitaryan, Reus; Lewandowski

Napoli: Reina; Armero, Albiol, Britos, Maggio; Behrami, ─░nler, Hamsik; Callejon, Insigne; Higuain

Overall analysis:

Schalke and Bayern are expected to win their matches, while Leverkusen will struggle to get a good result against Machester United.  There is a good chance though that they can win that match at home and their recent results appear to indicate the likelihood.  

For struggling Dortmund the Champions League future for this season is on the balance.  Dortmund desperately needs to win against Naples, any other result will be devastating. 


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