UEFA Champions League 2018-19: Preview and predictions for Gameweek 5
Push has come to shove as Gameweek 5 of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League promises to be very significant. Europe’s top clubs know that the window for qualification is closing fast.
As usual, the group stages of this season’s UEFA Champions League have provided compelling viewing. Bettors have made money betting on a team like TSG Hoffenheim. All the 4 games featuring Julian Nagelsmann’s men have delivered Both Teams to Score (BTTS), and Over 2.5 goals outcomes.
Like every other season, it has been a mixed bag. FC Barcelona is already through to the next round, and Juventus, Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund, as well as Atletico Madrid are among the giants who could also qualify in Gameweek 5.
On the other hand, teams like defending champions Real Madrid, PSG, and 2018 finalists Liverpool have struggled for coherence. Even though all are still in the running to qualify, they have not been exceptional.
The current state of play in the UEFA Champions League
In Group A, Borussia Dortmund and Atletico are both on 9 points. The Germans currently lead on goal difference. AS Monaco’s disaster class has made their passage easier than expected.
Barca is already through to the next round in Group B. Depending on results, they could seal top status in Gameweek 5. Second-place looks to be a fight between Internazionale and Tottenham Hotspur.
Group C is finely poised with everything still to play for, as Liverpool and Napoli currently lead with 6 points each. PSG are a point behind with Crvena Zvezda just 2 points off the top.
Russian champions, Lokomotiv Moscow, have been the whipping boys in Group D. Despite being the seeded team, they have fallen behind FC Porto (10 points), Schalke 04 (8 points) and Galatasaray SK (4 points).
Like Lokomotiv, like AEK Athens. The Greeks are bringing up the rear in Group E. 5-time winners, Bayern Munich, should qualify as winners. 4-time champions Ajax Amsterdam will hope to join the Bavarians ahead of SL Benfica.
It has been raining goals in Group F. Manchester City are leading and should qualify as the pot’s winners. Olympique Lyon will be hopeful of qualifying in 2nd place ahead of Hoffenheim. Shakhtar Donetsk has surprisingly been the poorest team in the group.
AS Roma and Real Madrid are both on 9 points in Group G. Both should qualify ahead of CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen.
Juventus and Manchester United look to have sewn up qualification from Group H. Valencia CF has stuttered, but still have a slim chance of upstaging the top 2.
Gameweek 5 preview
The table toppers are at home in Group A. Dortmund host Club Brugge, while Atletico Madrid welcome AS Monaco to the Wanda Metropolitano.
Its a fight-to-finish situation in Group B as Tottenham Hotspur hosts Inter at Wembley. An injury-hit Barcelona side will visit the Phillips Stadion to take on PSV Eindhoven.
At the Parc des Princes, PSG is condemned to win against Liverpool in Group C action. The participation of €402 million pair Neymar and Kylian Mbappe is still uncertain. Napoli will be hoping to do better against Crvena Zvezda than they did in the first leg (a 0-0 draw).
Lokomotiv Moscow and Galatasaray play an almost meaningless game in Group D. The top two; FC Porto and Schalke 04 face-off at the Estadio do Dragao in Porto. This tie will determine the identity of the group’s winners.
Bayern Munich has been struggling in the Bundesliga. However, they should seal Group E’s top spot as they host Benfica. An impressive Ajax side will hope to seal qualification as they travel to Greece to take on AEK Athens.
Another goal fest is expected at the Groupama Stadium as Olympique Lyon face Manchester City in Group F. Hoffenheim will hope to keep its slim hopes alive when it hosts a demoralised Shakhtar Donetsk side.
The Stadio Olimpico will see a battle for the top spot in Group G action. AS Roma have been poor in Serie A, ditto for defending champions Real Madrid in LaLiga. Army side, CSKA Moscow will host Viktoria Plzen.
Juventus know that a win at the Allianz Arena against a resurgent Valencia team will guarantee top spot in Group H. Despite their poor form in the Premier League, Manchester United will secure qualification with a win over Young Boys.
UEFA Champions League Gameweek 5 predictions (all odds courtesy of Bet 365)
AEK Athens – Ajax Amsterdam 2 (Ajax to Win @ 1.57 odds)
Bayern Munich – SL Benfica (Over 1.5 Goals @ 1.33 odds)
Olympique Lyon – Manchester City (Both Teams To Score @ 1.53 odds)
TSG Hoffenheim – Shakhtar Donetsk (Both Teams To Score @ 1.44 odds)
AS Roma – Real Madrid (Both Teams To Score @ 1.44 odds)
CSKA Moscow – Viktoria Plzen (1X @ 1.1.8 odds)
Juventus – Valencia CF (Over 1.5 Goals @ 1.25 odds)
Manchester United – Young Boys 1 (United to Win @ 1.062 odds)
Borussia Dortmund – Club Brugges (Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.44 odds)
Atletico Madrid – AS Monaco 1 (Atleti to Win @ 1.18 odds)
Tottenham Hotspur – Internazionale Milan (Spurs to score 1.5 Goals @ 1.66 odds)
PSV Eindhoven – FC Barcelona (Both Teams To Score @ 1.57 odds)
FC Porto – Schalke 04 (1X @ 1.18 odds)
Lokomotiv Moscow – Galatasaray SK (Under 4.5 Goals @ 1.071 odds)
PSG – Liverpool FC (Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.44 odds)
SSC Napoli – FK Crvena Zvezda 1 (Napoli to Win @ 1.16 odds)