Champions League Matchday 5 briefing: what you need to know
The UEFA Champions League continues apace on Matchday 5; here’s what they are all talking about.
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What are the big games this week?
Tuesday: Juventus v Atlético
In ten words: Simeone’s troops back in Turin for revenge – and a morale boost
A team built in coach Diego Simeone’s rugged image, Atlético pride themselves on Herculean workrate and giving nothing away, which made being outfought in a 2-1 loss at point-less Leverkusen last time out galling, midfielder Saúl conceding: “They’re a really strong team physically.” Whether their nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo plays or not, Atlético will be eager to flex their muscles against qualified Juventus, and will not have forgotten how a 3-0 loss in Turin derailed them in the round of 16 last term. A draw might take Los Colchoneros through, but a win – psychologically – would be worth more than three points.
Tuesday: Atalanta v Dinamo
In ten words: Does the round of 16 beckon for perennial outsiders Dinamo?
- After Dinamo let slip a 3-1 lead in added-time against Shakhtar on Matchday 4, defender Dino Perić said: “I sat depressed in the club chapel for 20 minutes.” Level with the Pitmen on five points, the Croatian champions know things could have been better, but with Shakhtar facing mission impossible at Manchester City, this would be a great time for Nenad Bjelica’s side to earn a first UEFA Champions League group stage away win at the 15th attempt. Dinamo have tended to struggle at this level, but their 4-0 victory over Atalanta on Matchday 1 raised their sights. No time for despair, then: a first shot at the round of 16 remains in view.
Wednesday: Barcelona v Dortmund
In ten words: Could the UEFA Europa League really be looming for Barcelona?
- Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen stopped at half-time and full time to congratulate Slavia goalkeeper Ondřej Kolář on the extraordinary display that held his team to a 0-0 draw on Matchday 4, but while the Spanish media were not impressed, things could have been worse. A win against Dortmund would erase any bad memories and allow the hosts to book their annual seat at the last-16 draw; however, a draw or a defeat combined with an Internazionale success could trigger a doomsday scenario at San Siro on Matchday 6. Barcelona have not missed the knockout phase since Lionel Messi joined the first team in 2004/05.
Wednesday: Genk v Salzburg
In ten words: Can Haaland work more wonders and keep Salzburg in contention?
- “Positive, energetic, electrifying” is how Salzburg coach Jesse Marsch described Erling Braut Haaland after the 19-year-old hit a UEFA Champions League-debut hat-trick against Genk on Matchday 1. He proved it was no fluke by scoring four more in his side’s next three games, but the striker’s dream of making Salzburg “the new Ajax” and going on a deep run in this season’s competition could be over unless they win in Belgium. Liverpool welcome Napoli in the other Group E fixture. If Salzburg drop points, both those clubs are through; if the Austrian titleholders win, there may be even more drama in store when they entertain the European champions on Matchday 6.
Pre-Matchday 5 to-do list
- Get expert advice and update your Fantasy team
- Predict the week’s results for chance to win prizes
- Pick your Fantasy 5 team for Tuesday’s games
- Learn to pronouce the names of your opponents
- Watch highlights of all this season’s games so far