Napoli v Ajax
Even the most ardent Napoli fans can’t have expected to go to the Johan Cruyff Arena and beat Ajax 6-1, but that is exactly what they did. For that reason, and the fact that they’re Serie A form continued at the weekend, it is really hard to bet against them winning again here.
Ajax will travel to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona perhaps with a renewed level of respect for Napoli, having been on the end of such a drubbing in Amsterdam just a week ago.
Napoli almost seemed like they could have a struggle at the weekend as until the 76th minute, they were drawing 1-1 away at Cremonese. They tricked us all though, as goals from Giovanni Simeone, Hirving Lozano and Mateus Oliveira meant that they ran out 4-1 winners and maintained their superb form in all competitions.
Ajax’s preparation at the weekend was not too shabby either, as they beat FC Volendam 4-2 away from home. It would take quite a dramatic turnaround in Europe from both sides for them to come and get all three points from Naples though.
Napoli can book their place in the Round of 16 with a victory although they would only secure top spot in the group if Liverpool were to drop points against Rangers in Glasgow. Now that they have played so well, winning the group simply must be the aim for Luciano Spalletti’s side.
Atlético Madrid v Club Brugge
When these two teams met last week, Club Brugge stunned the Spaniards with a 2-0 win which gave them a six-point lead at the top of Group B, while also sending Atleti to rock bottom with three games to go.
Nine of Atlético’s 13 home Champions League fixtures over the last three seasons and this one have ended with under 2.5 goals, with the recent 2-1 win over Porto seeing three goals only in injury time. Diego Simeone’s side will look to keep things just as tight defensively up against Club Brugge after defensive errors allowed them in last week.
They will also be boosted by the fact that knocks to Nahuel Molina and José María Giménez have proven not to be serious and both played a full 90 minutes against Girona at the weekend. Since the return of Giménez from injury, only one goal has been scored against Atleti in LaLiga, coming from a deflected shot which caught out Jan Oblak.
Club Brugge may also be a little concerned by the form of their forwards coming into this tie given that they had 28 shots and 3.23 xG against Westerlo on Saturday, but failed to convert any of their chances. That means that there will be a heavy dependence on Ferran Jutglà and Kamal Sowah who were both rested for that clash.
With Simeone going back to basics for such a crucial fixture, defensive strength will be his priority and, even if Brugge do find a way through, we are unlikely to see them run away with the tie as we did in Belgium.
Bayer Leverkusen v Porto
Surprisingly, Club Brugge sit top of Bayer Leverkusen’s Champions League in Group B with a 100% record, beating Porto and Atletico Madrid. With B04 in second despite a -1 goal difference, everything is still to play for and they host Porto looking for revenge following last week’s defeat against the Portuguese side. The 2-0 defeat against Porto with goals from Zaidu Sanusi and Galeno cost Gerardo Seoane his job. Bayer Leverkusen confirmed that they had sacked their coach the following day, and that Xabi Alonso would take charge. The Spaniard’s first job in senior management.
There’s no doubt that Bayer Leverkusen have one of the best talented squads in European football with Piero Hincapie, Moussa Diaby, Adam Hložek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and the injured Florian Wirtz but in truth, it just hadn’t worked for them under Seoane this season. Alonso’s first game in charge resounded in an impressive 4-0 win but against a poor Schalke side. Under Seoane, Bayer had played under a 4-2-3-1 but at the weekend, Alonso changed the setup to a 3-4-3. With Charles Aranguiz and Robert Andrich playing as a double six in midfield, this protected the back three and allowed Hincapie on one side and Jeremie Frimpong on the other to support the forwards. They will however be without Andrich and Frimpong, who are both suspended, but expect to see a similar setup against Porto. Diaby scored his first Bundesliga goal of the season before assisting Frimpong, who scored a brace against Schalke. On Saturday afternoon B04 played with confidence and wanting to impress Alonso, which could be dangerous for Porto on Wednesday.
Three points behind leaders Benfica in Liga Portugal, Porto comfortably beat Portimonense at the weekend with goals from Pepe and Otavio. However, they will be without Pepe in central defence. With 8 goals and 5 assists in 13 games across all competitions this season, Jonathan Tah and Co. will have a watchful eye on Mehdi Taremi who averages a high number of shots per 90 at 2.7. In their last three games across all competitions, Porto have allowed 14 chances for their opponents and although Patrick Schick has been unable to replicate last season’s form with just two goals in 12 games from an xG of 7 in the Bundesliga and Champions League this season, we know just the threat that he provides.
I can see Porto scoring but watching Bayer Leverkusen’s emphatic win on Saturday, albeit against a poor Schalke side, Die Werkself looked confident. There’s no doubt that the loss of Frimpong and Andrich through suspension but Kerem Demirbay is more than capable of playing a role as a No. 6 and is technically superior to Andrich. Bayer Leverkusen will inevitably create chances against Porto and with the home support behind them, a win against Atletico Madrid in this season’s competition, I would fancy them to score more than Porto.
Barcelona v Inter Milan
This game could be a pivotal juncture in Barcelona’s season and potentially in their modern history. It is no secret to anyone that they have financially bet the farm on success this season and it will not have been in their financial plans to not qualify for the latter stages of the Champions League.
Beyond the group stages is where the real money is made in this tournament but if they were to lose to Inter at Camp Nou, they would have an extremely hard time getting into the next round. Bayern Munich look set to win the group, so Barcelona would need to beat the Bundesliga side whilst also hoping Inter lose to Bayern and Viktoria Plzen in their final two games.
Because Inter won the game last week at San Siro 1-0, Barcelona really need to attack the Nerazzurri from the off and seize the initiative. They certainly have the firepower to do it with players like Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele, Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati.
That could play into Inter’s hands though as Simone Inzaghi appears to have altered his approach in recent weeks. He is happy for the opposition to have more of the ball now, as long as his side are swift and clinical on the break.
There is scope for this to turn into a basketball game and that could mean goals for both sides.
Viktoria Plzen v Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich will look to maintain their 100 percent record in the Champions League as they travel to the Czech Republic on Wednesday to face Viktoria Plzen on MD4. Yet to concede in a group that also contains Inter Milan and Barcelona, Bayern are a powerhouse in this season’s competition and will want a positive response after throwing away three points in Der Klassiker against Borussia Dortmund at the weekend. In all competitions, Bayern come into this game unbeaten in three with two wins and a draw in comparison to Plzen’s two wins, two defeats and a draw.
With 14 goal contributions (7 goals and 7 assists) in 15 games across all competitions this season, Jamal Musiala will miss Bayern’s game against Viktoria Plzen after testing positive for Covid-19. After recovering from the infection though, Thomas Müller returns and will be a part of Julian Nagelsmann’s squad again after missing the last three games. Alphonso Davies is also likely to miss the trip after a bruised skull following a high boot from Jude Bellingham at the weekend, whilst Matthijs de Ligt faces a late fitness test. That could see Benjamin Pavard play his favoured role in central-defence alongside Dayot Upamecano with Noussair Mazraoui at right-back and Josip Stanišić on the opposite flank. Still, Bayern are the far superior side that should comfortably beat the Czech side.
Operating in a 4-2-3-1, Bayern Munich registered 13 shots against Viktoria Plzen in their meeting last Tuesday and in this season’s Champions League, have been clinical in front of goal with 9 goals from an xG of 5.9. Across the three games, Bayern registered 29 shots (13 vs Viktoria Plzen, 4 vs Barcelona and 12 vs Inter), and 53% of their shots in the Champions League are finding the target. Bottom of Group C, winless and with only 1 goal and 12 conceded in three games, it’s difficult to see how Viktoria Plzen can trouble Bayern, despite their growing injury list.
Bayern Munich can secure a place in the Champions League knockout stages should they beat Viktoria Plzen and Inter win or draw against Barcelona. Yet to concede in this season’s competition, Bayern Munich have the much better squad and should have plenty of attacking quality to beat Viktoria Plzen. In their last three games in all competitions, Bayern have scored 11 goals. We should expect to see plenty of Bayern goals on Wednesday night and a Bayern win with a -2 handicap looks good value.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
18+ please gamble responsibly.
Back the Four and Five Star Selections as an Accumulator on Betfair ⬇️
*Bet link only appears when accessing from mobile.
Haven’t got a Betfair account? You’re in luck…
Sign up to Betfair and get a full refund if your first bet loses. Grab an account through the offer below and place £20 on the 24/1 UEFA Champions League Best Bets Accumulator. Here are the two possible outcomes: