Eight matches bring Matchday 5 of the UEFA Champions League's group phase comes to a close on Wednesday, four of them first-versus-second encounters. Of the 16 teams in action, only Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund have already made sure of their place in the knockout phase, though Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Arsenal are all poised to join them, while Liverpool and Juventus will be looking to pick up the points they need to keep their qualification hopes intact.
Match of the day
Atletico Madrid-Olympiacos, Estadio Vicente Calderon, Madrid
Though Olympiacos only have two draws to show for from their 13 visits to Spain, they are nevertheless confident of progressing from Group A, having beaten both Atleti and Juventus at home. While still without a point on their travels, they do have a superior goal difference in their head-to-head with Juventus, which means that a draw in Madrid followed by a last-day win at home to Malmo would heap the pressure on the Italians in the battle for second place. Meanwhile, Atletico have won their last three matches without conceding a goal and need nothing more than a point to check into the last 16. It is unlikely, however, that their passionate coach Diego Simeone will settle for a stalemate.
Juve need to get back in the habit of winning on the road, having lost five and drawn one of their last six away games in Europe, a run they will be aiming to end in Malmo.
* Three points adrift of second-placed Basel, Liverpool will be out to leapfrog them in their closing two matches, in which they travel to Bulgaria before taking on the Swiss at Anfield. If the Reds are to do that, however, they need their attack to start firing. With only two goals from their four outings so far, they are in danger of falling short of domestic rivals Manchester United’s lowest ever group-phase tally of three goals in six matches.
* The situation in Group C is still too close to call. While leaders Bayer require only a point to qualify, the three other teams in the section all have genuine chances of booking a place in the last 16.
* Arsenal need just a point from their home meeting with Dortmund to advance. The Germans, who have had a wretched start to the domestic season, are already through.
Did you know?
* Galatasaray have let in four goals in each of their last three games in Group D, while Anderlecht are the only side to have appeared in the group phase more than ten times without ever having made it to the knockout phase.
* With a record of one goal scored and one conceded, Monaco have the least prolific attack in the competition and the most miserly defence.
79 - The number of Champions League matches that Juve keeper Gianluigi Buffon has played in - as many as the total number of appearances amassed by Malmo, who entertain the Italians on Wednesday.
On this day
A year ago to the day Mohamed Salah scored the only goal as Basel pulled off a shock win over Chelsea at Saint Jakob-Park. The surprise win did not help the Swiss team to reach the Round of 16, however.
Player to watch
Karim Benzema is well on the way to having his best ever season in Europe’s premier club competition, having scored in each of Real Madrid’s opening four matches. Should he find the net again in Basel on Wednesday, he will become only the third player to score in each of the first five group matches, after Alessandro Del Piero and Sergei Rebrov, who respectively achieved the feat with Juventus in 1996 and Dynamo Kiev in 1998.
What they said
“We need to come away from Madrid with points. We know what atmosphere to expect at the Calderon. It’s the same as our place,” Olympiacos coach Michel.
Have your say
Will Liverpool and Juventus end up going through?