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Leagues: Champions League

UEFA Champions League Matchday 5 Preview: Real Madrid-PSG clash headlines week for the Battle of European giants

As the UEFA Champions League group stages edge closer to a dramatic finish, match-day five will probably determine who goes forward to the knockout stages and who misses the cut. 

The stakes are high all across the eight groups, but the game with the brightest spotlight is in group A when Real Madrid host Paris Saint-Germain in the reverse fixture of the big clash.

The Parisians tore apart the former European champions in the opening match-day, thrashing them 3-0 to stake the claim of a group win. Zinedine Zidane laid into his players for their lack of intensity that day, but things have genuinely improved since then.

Madrid are flying high joint-top of the La Liga table and playing some sizzling attacking football. They’re undefeated in their last six games, while PSG also comes into the game on the back of a convincing win over Lille to consolidate their lead at the pinnacle of Ligue 1.

In what is expected to be a tactical, but fascinating encounter between two brilliant sets of attacks, Los Blancos will be gunning for revenge. Whether or not Zidane can put on another European masterclass at Thomas Tuchel’s expense remains to be seen. 

Liverpool also hosts Napoli at Anfield looking to consolidate their grip on top of Group E, and are the bookmakers’ favourites in the Champions League betting online to win this game. It’s not set in stone though, as the Reds have suffered their only defeat this season to Carlo Ancelotti’s side. Napoli themselves have had some problems recently after their players showcased a mini-mutiny against club ownership.

The Reds have a difficult December ahead, so they’ll come firing on all cylinders to get the win. With Mohamed Salah being benched in their weekend win over Crystal Palace for this, the Egyptian will look to mount the misery on the Italian and inspire Liverpool to another majestic night at Anfield.

Juventus will also look to guarantee their own group win when they take on 2nd place Atletico Madrid at home. Maurizio Sarri opted to not include Cristiano Ronaldo against Atalanta at the weekend, giving him some time to cool off.

The Portuguese will be raring to play against a side he loves scoring against, having netted 7 Champions League goals in 9 meetings. 

Atletico are going through a rough patch themselves, but knowing their defensive strength and unpredictability going forward, they could cause an upset over Sarri’s growing side.

A repeat of last year’s Champions League round of 16 game, this should be an action-packed encounter to determine who gets Group D’s bragging rights.

Barcelona also take on underperforming Borussia Dortmund, where Lionel Messi will look to power them to another European victory and grant them a comfortable spot in the knockout stages.

Chelsea travel to Valencia looking to keep themselves ahead of Ajax in Group H, but the Spaniard’s mojo at home could make grinding a victory that much more difficult for Frank Lampard’s side.

Jose Mourinho takes charge of his first European game as Tottenham Hotspur manager looking for a dominant win, while Manchester City will also look to solidify their group win on Tuesday.

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