⛅️ Champions League forecast: Must-win for PSG? Banana skin for Barça

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OneFootball

Joel Sanderson-Murray

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We’ve arrived at the halfway point of the Champions League group stages and things are about to start getting serious.

Some clubs can book their place in the last-16 while there are a few big-hitters who could be left staring at the abyss after this round of fixtures.

We’ve had a look at what we can expect from matchday four …


🤩 Game of the Week

Inter v Real Madrid

With 16 Champions League titles between them, Inter and Real Madrid are two of the heavyweights of European football but it’s likely that one of them won’t be participating in the competition after Christmas.

Antonio Conte’s side are bottom of Group B after three games without a win, while the LaLiga champions are only a place ahead of them, albeit only three points separate the whole group as it stands.

Inter have made a stuttering start to their Serie A campaign as well but will be buoyed by their win over Torino on Sunday, when they came from 2-0 down to win 4-2.

Zinedine Zidane’s men aren’t enjoying themselves at the moment either and the 1-1 draw with Villarreal at the weekend leaves them six points off the top of LaLiga.

There is also an injury crisis for the Frenchman to overcome with Karim Benzema, Fede Valverde and Sergio Ramos all unlikely to make it back in time for this fixture.

The first meeting between this pair three weeks ago turned out to be a belter  so expect the return leg to just as captivating. It could also be decisive.

📊 Fun fact: Inter have never lost to Real Madrid on home soil

🔮 Our prediction: Inter 2-2 Real Madrid

Champions League

Inter
Real Madrid

Too close to call 🤔

PSG v RB Leipzig

With two defeats from their opening three games, Tuesday night’s clash with RB Leipzig is bordering on must-win territory for Paris Saint-Germain.

Last season’s runners-up are currently three points behind the side they saw off in the semi-finals in 2019/20 and failure to win would leave Thomas Tuchel staring down the barrel.

It’s not all rosey in the PSG garden at the moment, highlighted by their capitulation in Monaco last Friday night but Neymar did come off the bench during the 3-2 defeat and could be in line for a start against Leipzig after his return form injury.

The Brazilian often turns up in the big moments for the Parisians and they could do with a dashing of his magic against the Bundesliga side.

More importantly, what elaborate get-up will Julian Nagelsmann turn up in on his arrival in the fashion capital of the world?

📊 Fun fact: Emil Forsberg will become Leipzig’s record goalscorer in the competition with one more strike.

🔮 Our prediction: PSG 3-1 RB Leipzig

Champions League

Paris Saint-Germain
RB Leipzig

Potential upset 😰

Dynamo Kyiv v Barcelona

Oh Ronald, it’s not going well is it?

The 1-0 defeat to Atlético Madrid on Saturday leaves Koeman’s Barcelona sat in 12th position in the LaLiga table with just 11 points from their eight games so far.

Barcelona will have to make do without Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong on Tuesday, with both players left out of the travelling squad for the trip to Ukraine.

To add insult to injury (literally), the Blaugrana have lost Gerard Piqué and Sergi Roberto to long-term injures recently which leaves a paper-thin squad dangerously close to breaking point.

However, the Champions League has been a happy respite for the Catalans with a 100% record up until this point.

The Ukrainian league leaders ran them close three weeks ago – and it would be one of the biggest shocks of the campaign if Barça are to succumb to defeat to Dynamo – but there might just be something in the air.

📊 Fun fact: Dynamo Kyiv have not won a Champions League group stage game since the 2016/17 campaign.

🔮 Our prediction: Dynamo Kiev 1-0 Barcelona

Champions League

Dynamo Kyiv
Barcelona

🤩 Star Man

Erling Haaland

It was just the four goals for Erling Haaland in Borussia Dortmund’s 5-2 win over Hertha Berlin on Saturday night.

The 20-year-old is a living cheat code and with 14 goals in his 11 appearances in the Champions League for both BVB and RB Salzburg, it’s safe to say that he has no problem recreating the sort of form shown in the German capital on the European stage.

Champions League

Borussia Dortmund
Club Brugge

Lucien Favre’s side are currently sat top of Group F but their presence in the knockout stages is by no-means guaranteed so a win over Club Brugge is a must.

We think Haaland could be in for another glut of goals at the Westfalenstadion on Tuesday.