Shakhtar Donetsk v Lyon
Two teams have their sights on qualifying as the Group F winners in the Champions League. Shakhtar Donetsk welcome Olympique Lyonnais in the crucial last round of the group F fixtures on Wednesday evening. The Ukrainian champions will need to secure a victory to surpass the French side at the second place with the pair just two points apart.
Lyon managed to start a great campaign and were able to gather 7 seven points. However, it wasn’t good enough to level with Manchester City. Despite that, the French outfit still have the opportunity to join the Premier League leaders in the next round as long as they come out victorious in their match against Shakhtar. Lyon currently sit second and only need to prevent a loss here in order to advance as group runners up. The French side can still claim the top spot, but only if Manchester City lose at home to Hoffenheim.
Shakhtar, on the other hand, need to win Wednesday’s match or else they will be heading to the Europa League. They were able to claim a satisfactory 3-2 win against Hoffenheim during last time out in order to stay in the race for the last 16 and they will surely be hoping to take their successful form to overpower Lyon in the big finale on Wednesday. The visitors are undefeated as of the moment, and if they can keep their unbeaten streak, then the second spot are guaranteed to be in their possession.
So far, Lyon’s least thrilling game is the fixture against Man City. Since then, they managed to gather three 2-2 draws and a 3-3 away against Hoffenheim. The same performance goes for Shakhtar who were able to notch up nine goals in their two encounters with Man City.
Man City v Hoffenheim
Manchester City will be hosting Hoffenheim in their last fixture of the round-robin phase in the Champions League on Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium. Man City will be able to clinch the top spot in the Group F standings if they manage a victory against their opponents, and only a draw will be needed if Lyon fails to dominate Shakhtar Donetsk. Man City are currently three points adrift Lyon in the second place and a point is needed here to secure the lead in the Group F table.
The Citizens will be coming into this match as the favourites given that they will be taking on the weak defensive line of Hoffenheim. However, Manchester City absorbed a heavy misfortune during the weekend as they saw their first league defeat of the season against Chelsea. Not only did their 2-0 setback to the Blues brought the latter back into the race for the Premier League title, but it also allowed Liverpool to surpass City into the top spot.
On the other hand, Hoffenheim are already out of form. They are now out of the running for the qualifying spot even though they are only 2 points behind Shakhtar Donetsk who are currently in the 3rd place and could secure a place to the Europa League knockout stages if they manage an unlikely win on Wednesday’s fixture against Lyon. However, even with a declining Manchester City side as Hoffenheim’s opponents, their chances of coming out victorious is quite slim considering their form at the moment. It is possible though that they might surprise the crowd at the Etihad.
These two teams encountered each other just once in the past and it was during the second round of this campaign of the Champions League.
Valencia v Man United
Manchester United will be travelling to the Mestalla Stadium as they take on Valencia in their Champions League Group H clash on Wednesday. If Manchester United defeat Valencia, they will be able to take the top spot off Juventus, especially if the Serie A side fail to dominate the Young Boys.
Valencia’s 1-0 loss against Juventus during the last round of the Champions League fixtures saw their hopes for progression in the competition end. However, they are now assured of a place in the Europa League qualification that comes with 3rd place in the group. Valencia are currently having an awful season so far. Their lack of victories has left them in a quite disappointing position in the La Liga standings at the 15th place, only 7 points adrift the drop zone. Their lack of ability to score goals has been carried over to the Champions League either, having scored only 4 goals in their 5 group fixtures so far.
In the meantime, Manchester United hasn’t been much better this season, displaying quite a mixed form in the Premier League. Although they managed to show an impressive performance when they won against Fulham during the weekend, they only played a disappointingly slow attacking style of play. Even though they may not be the best in the Premier League, Man Utd already secured a place in the qualification to the knockout stages in the Champions League. They currently have a chance to secure the top spot in the Group H standings.
Jose Mourinho knows that it’s quite unlikely for his team to claim the top spot from Juventus, however, it’s not entirely impossible since they are only two points behind them. If the Italian side manages to come out victorious against the winless Young Boys, Man Utd’s chances of securing the top spot might be unlikely.
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