Of the four English representatives in this season’s UEFA Champions League, Arsenal and Chelsea are assured of a passage through to the knockout stages; both Manchester clubs must perform in their last group game to stand a chance of progression. FC Basel and Bayern Munich (and Napoli) stand in their way. Will Manchester City and Manchester United – currently first and second in the English Premier League – progress further in the Champions League or be relegated to the Europa League? The football odds are in their favour but that means nothing if the footballing gods aren’t.
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich
City’s impressive and unbeaten form domestically has not been replicated on the continent, and Roberto Mancini’s men are staring elimination from the tournament square in the face. A home draw and away defeat against Napoli has put the Serie A side in pole position to finish runners up to already qualified Bayern.
City must beat the Bavarian giants at the Etihad Stadium and hope that pointless Villarreal can stem the Naples tide at El Madrigal to stand a chance of progression. Jupp Heynckes’ side will be keen to avoid defeat and end the pool stage undefeated, and a 2-0 win for the Bundesliga team over City back in September will give the Germans confidence.
City must focus on winning their game before concerning themselves with events in Spain, and will need to be at their best to conquer one of the tournament favourites.
Wednesday, 7th December, 6:00pm on Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports HD 2.
FC Basel vs Manchester United
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have made hard work out of a group that looks manageable on paper, and despite not being beaten in the tournament this season, need a point to ensure progression to the next stage.
Benfica are expected to dispatch of Romanian minnows Otelul Galati and top Group C, and therefore United, who are currently a point ahead of the Swiss side, need to avoid defeat at St Jakob Park.
Although not a household name in Europe’s top stage, Basel have shown that they have the quality and grit to compete, and drew 3-3 at Old Trafford to put the English champions in their current predicament.
Wednesday, 7th December, 6.00pm on Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports HD 2.