A look at whats happening in the Champions League on Wednesday:
First place is on the line when Sevilla hosts Chelsea, with both teams already qualified and tied on points. Whichever team is victorious in Spain will be confirmed as group winner courtesy of their head-to-head record, because of the 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge in their first group meeting. Similarly, Krasnodar hosts Rennes with both teams on one point from their draw on the opening matchday so the winning team in Russia would secure a third-place finish and spot in the Europa League’s last 32. Rennes goalkeeper Alfred Gomis is in the squad but is a doubtful starter after hurting himself in practice. Rennes is already without striker Serhou Guirassy, who has scored both of the team’s goals, and winger Marin Terrier.
Borussia Dortmund hosts Lazio knowing that a win over the Italian club will be enough to top the group. Dortmund leads with nine points from four games, one more than Lazio, and a draw would be enough to seal progress to the last 16. Even a defeat would be enough for the German club if third-place Club Brugge (four points) fails to beat Zenit St. Petersburg in the other game. Dortmund, which slumped to a 2-1 loss to previously winless Cologne in the Bundesliga on Saturday, will be without injured right back Thomas Meunier, while Raphal Guerreiro and Emre Can both face a race against time to be fit. Dortmund is aiming to atone for its 3-1 loss in the reverse fixture in Rome. Zenit, with one point, will be confirmed in fourth place if it fails to win in Belgium. Lazio can also go through if it beats Dortmund, or if Zenit beats Brugge, or if both games are drawn. Brugge would finish third for a Europa League place if both games are drawn.
Barcelona, already secured in the last 16, will be without Lionel Messi, Marc-Andr ter Stegen and Philippe Coutinho for the match at Ferencvros. Messi was also rested from the match against Dynamo Kyiv. Other Barcelona players will be absent because of injuries, including Gerard Piqu, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti. Juventus is also already assured of a place in the knockout stages but could welcome back Cristiano Ronaldo for the match against Dynamo. The five-time Ballon dOr winner was rested for Saturday’s disappointing draw at Benevento in Serie A. The match against Dynamo will also be notable because Stphanie Frappart will be the first female referee for a mens Champions League game.
Manchester United can qualify for the knockout stage by avoiding a loss to Paris Saint-Germain. United could even secure first place with a win, if Leipzig fails to beat stanbul Baakehir in Turkey. PSG and Leipzig are tied for points, three behind United. The concern for PSG, a finalist last season, is that a loss at Old Trafford leaves the team vulnerable to an already-qualified United playing a weakened lineup at Leipzig in their last group match. Edinson Cavani could be the player to send PSG toward the Champions League exit, a few months after leaving the French champions under something of a cloud after refusing to extend his contract by a couple of months to play in the pandemic-delayed finale to last seasons competition. The Uruguay striker scored twice off the bench in United’s comeback win at Southampton in the Premier League and appears to be on the verge of breaking into the starting lineup. PSG’s defense appears to be vulnerable and has conceded five goals in two league games. Baakehir needs a win against Leipzig to keep alive its hopes of reaching the last 16.
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