Juventus can make home advantage count against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night, according to Paul Higham - he previews the opening night of matchday five in the Champions League.
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Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk
A home win against the Ukrainians is all City need to confirm top spot in their group, and that’s something they’re well used to doing having won five games against Shakhtar in the last two years.
The last three wins for City have been an aggregate of 12-0 and there’s no reason to suggest they can’t stick another boat load of goals against them yet again, even if Shakhtar are battling with Dinamo Zagreb for the second qualification spot in the group behind City.
Competition form is strong for Pep Guardiola’s side having won their last six home games, banging in 26 goals in the process – resulting in a mightily impressive 4.33 goals per game while conceding less than one.
The Miners have actually travelled well in the group so far, playing out entertaining 2-2 and 3-3 draws in their two away days so far – and they've incredibly scored three goals in injury time.
That seems way out of reach for them at the Etihad, though, and limiting the damage is probably the peak of their ambition given that any team Guardiola puts out will be far too good. He desperately wants to win this competition and would like the group wrapped up before the final game.
- Manchester City have won four of their five UEFA Champions League encounters with Shakhtar Donetsk (L1), keeping a clean sheet in each victory.
- Shakhtar Donetsk have lost on both of their visits to face Man City at the Etihad in the Champions League, conceding eight goals without reply. They have never lost each of their first three away games against a single team in UEFA Champions League history.
- Manchester City have lost only one of their last 13 home group stage games in the UEFA Champions League (W11 D1 L1) - winning each of the last four in a row, including a 6-0 victory against Shakhtar Donetsk in November 2018.
Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain
PSG are through but they have the chance to send out a huge message, and put the hosts in trouble if they can produce a statement victory at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Zinedine Zidane’s side got themselves back into the picture with back-to-back wins over Galatasaray, but a defeat here and a Club Brugge win over the Turkish side would set up a winner-takes-all clash with the Belgians in the final group game.
Granted, it’s an unlikely scenario given Real have lost just twice this season, but one of those was an embarrassing 3-0 reverse in Paris – and the French outfit have been a tough nut to crack in this tournament, having yet to concede.
It’d be an historic win for the Parisians if they could pull it off, and there's no question they’ve got immense weapons to hurt Madrid on the break, but the Spanish giants are tough to beat on their home turf.
PSG are through, a point clinches top spot, and a draw will also probably do for the hosts. That looks the most likely outcome for me, but both teams should be able to find the net.
- Paris Saint-Germain, who won 3-0 on MD1 this season, will be looking to win consecutive matches against Real Madrid for only the second time in their history and for the first time since March 1994.
- Real Madrid have won eight and lost none of their 11 UEFA Champions League home matches against French opposition, winning the last five such games in a row by an aggregate score of 15-1.
- PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas is yet to concede a goal in the UEFA Champions League for the club in four games. On only two previous occasions has a goalkeeper kept a clean sheet in his first five starts for a club in the competition – Navas himself for Real Madrid in 2015/16 (8) and Miguel Ángel Moyá for Atlético Madrid in 2014 (5).
Sky Bet have enhanced the odds on a four-fold on Tuesday's Champions League action, exclusively for Sporting Life readers.
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiakos
Tottenham are all but through though a victory would do nicely to confirm their status without looking elsewhere, and there could hardly be a kinder home debut for Jose Mourinho back in the Champions League than a travel sick Olympiakos.
The Greek side came from 2-0 down to draw with Spurs in Athens but away from home they’ve struggled, losing their last six in this competition and mustering just two shots on target in their two group stage trips so far.
The atmosphere will be electric at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and Mourinho will want his men to put on a show for his new fans – and they should do just that. Spurs put nine past Red Star over two games and bagged two in the reverse fixture, so they should be good enough to get at least three this time around.
It’s too soon for Mourinho to have cured their defensive problems, so keeping a clean sheet, even against this opposition, can’t be confidently backed in any game at the moment, but the hosts to stick in three goals looks a near-certainty.
Best bet: Tottenham to score 3+ goals at 11/10
- Spurs are unbeaten in their last five games in European competition against Greek teams (W3 D2), having lost two of the previous three between 1972 and 2011 (D1).
- Olympiakos lost their only previous away match against Tottenham – losing 0-4 in October 1972 in the UEFA Cup. Indeed, Olympiakos have only ever won once in their 14 away games against English teams in European competition (W1 D1 L12), winning 3-2 vs Arsenal in September 2015 in the UEFA Champions League.
- Olympiakos are winless in 12 UEFA Champions League games (W0 D2 L10), although one of the two games in which they’ve avoided defeat in this run was against Spurs on MD1, a 2-2 draw.
Juventus v Atletico Madrid
The fourth meeting this calendar year between the two giants, with Atletico needing a last-minute equaliser to draw at home in the reverse fixture, while being back in Turin will conjure up unhappy memories for the Spaniards after they lost 3-0 in last season’s knockouts after arriving with a 2-0 first-leg lead.
The Old Lady haven’t lost at home since Ajax stunned them in April, and with them already through just a point is needed to confirm top spot in the group, while Atletico slipped up at Leverkusen last time out so will be looking over their shoulders if they lose again.
Cristiano Ronaldo has haunted Atletico over the years - scoring 25 goals against them, including a hat-trick for Juve last season that dumped the Spaniards out of this competition. Atletico will be praying he fails to recover full fitness in time to play as he nurses an injury.
His fitness is always crucial, but Juve’s home form has been so strong that they should really be able to win this game against a side that hasn’t won in five away from home. The price reflects the doubts over Ronaldo, but with or without him Juventus are well worth siding with.
- Atlético Madrid have registered just three wins in their 10 previous encounters with Juventus in all competitions (W3 D2 L5), with four of those five defeats coming in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and the other arriving in the UEFA Champions League (0-3 in March 2019).
- Juventus have won 14 and lost one of their last 23 UEFA Champions League group game on home soil (D8). The Old Lady are looking to win four consecutive home group games (all group formats) for the first time since October 2008 (12 wins).
- Atlético Madrid have won just two of their last 11 away UEFA Champions League games (W2 D5 L4), losing last time out against Bayer Leverkusen.
Odds correct as of 1500 GMT on 25/11/19
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