George Pitts previews Wednesday's action in the Champions League, including Man City and Tottenham's matchday six fixtures.
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Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City
- 1755 GMT kick-off on BT Sport 3
With Man City so strongly fancied in Zagreb, there was a temptation to look at the hosts' scoring markets with Pep Guardiola's side frail at the back, but the price on Kevin De Bruyne stood out most.
The Belgian playmaker is arguably City's key man in this star-studded squad. When they are on song, De Bruyne is the orchestrator. He has four goals and 10 assists in 20 City appearances this term, but is yet to find the back of the net in Europe.
His role in the team sees him not only pull the strings but often get opportunities in the final third - he has had 16 shots in his last four Premier League appearances.
He is likely to play this fixture and, with Fernandinho suspended, Ilkay Gundogan could come into the holding midfield role and give De Bruyne license to get forward.
He is brilliant to watch on his day and an undoubted goal threat against a Zagreb side that has conceded nine in the competition so far this term.
At a best price of 7/2 to get on the score sheet anytime in the Croatian capital, it is worth a shout.
Prediction: Dinamo Zagreb 1-2 Manchester City (Sky Bet odds: 8/1)
Best bet: Kevin De Bruyne to score anytime at 7/2
- Manchester City have lost just one of their last 14 Champions League matches (W10 D3 L1), losing away to Spurs in last season’s quarter-final (1st leg).
- Man City will finish top of their group for the fourth time in their last five participations in the Champions League, including in each of the last three seasons. After finishing 1st in their group in those campaigns, the Citizens reached at least the quarter-final stage on each previous occasion.
- Dinamo Zagreb have won just once in their last 16 matches in the Champions League, beating Atalanta on matchday one in this season’s edition (W1 D2 L13).
- Man City’s Pep Guardiola has guided his teams to first place in their Champions League group in 10 of his 11 seasons as manager in the competition – with the only exception coming back in 2016-17 with the Citizens (2nd).
- Mislav Orsic has been directly involved in 56% of Dinamo Zagreb’s nine goals in the Champions League this season (four goals, one assist) – a higher share than any other player at the club.
- Man City’s Raheem Sterling has scored 19 goals in 46 appearances in the Champions League – he could become the sixth Englishman to reach 20 goals in the competition after Wayne Rooney (30), Paul Scholes (24), Frank Lampard (23), Steven Gerrard (21) and Harry Kane (20). Should Sterling score in his 47th appearance, he would be the second quickest Englishman to 20 CL goals after Harry Kane (24 apps).
- Man City’s Ilkay Gundogan, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez have each been involved in seven open play sequences that resulted in a goal in the Champions League this season – the only side with three different players involved in 7+ such sequences.
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta
- 1755 GMT kick-off
Shakhtar have only lost twice all season, to Man City in September and at the start of the season in the Ukrainian Super Cup against Dynamo Kiev. The Ukrainian champions have certainly proved difficult to beat under Luis Castro.
They impressively drew with Man City at the Etihad last time out in Europe and victory here would secure their place as runners-up in Group C.
They are at home and against Champions League debutants Atalanta, who have won just once in these group stages, and the Serie A side have a slim chance of making it through, so they will show fight.
But with Shakhtar's form and home advantage in mind, they are a great price to win - adding in a combination of over 1.5 total goals gets you eye-catching 2/1 odds. Hopefully a great way to start the night's football.
Prediction: Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 Atalanta (Sky Bet odds: 9/1)
- Shakhtar Donetsk won their only previous European meeting with Atalanta 2-1 in October; the last Italian side they defeated twice in the same Champions League campaign was Roma, who they beat in both legs of their last 16 tie in 2010-11.
- Atalanta have lost their last two away games in the Champions League, conceding nine goals in the process – they last lost three consecutive away matches in all European competition back in October 1987.
- Only Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti (19) has been fouled more often in this season’s Champions League than Shakhtar’s Moraes (15). Despite Moraes being fouled 15 times, only three opposition players have been shown a card this term.
Bayern Munich v Tottenham
- 2000 GMT kick-off on BT Sport 2
Another goalscorer shout and one that was too good to turn down at a 7/2 price.
Heung-min Son, who scored a brilliant solo goal against Burnley at the weekend (watch it here if you haven't already), has an impressive five goals and one assist in this competition this term, averaging over three shots per game. He is fast becoming a favourite under Jose Mourinho.
Granted, this is a step up in opposition but Son scored against the Germans in the reverse fixture and, with Harry Kane to be rested for the match, the South Korean could be the key man.
With Spurs already qualifying as runners-up in Group B, Mourinho has confirmed that Kane will not start, with a number of young players getting the opportunity. It remains to be seen whether Son will feature but if he does, the anytime odds on him are well worth a bet.
The game will be far different to the 7-2 reverse in London in October - they both have different managers and both could be heavily rotated, so it is difficult to separate them. Spurs might have enough about them to get a draw in what's effectively a dead-rubber, and of their potential contributors it's Son who stands out.
Prediction: Bayern 1-1 Spurs (Sky Bet odds: 10/1)
Best bet: Heung-min Son to score anytime at 7/2
- Bayern Munich have only lost one of their five previous meetings with Tottenham Hotspur in all competitions (W3 D1), scoring 13 goals in those five games – over half of which came in their 7-2 win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in October this season.
- Spurs are looking to win consecutive away UEFA Champions League matches for the very first time, having won 4-0 at Crvena Zvezda on MD4.
- Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski has scored 10 UEFA Champions League goals in this season’s group stage, including a brace against Spurs on MD2. The record for goals in the group stage of a single campaign is held by Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 11 in 2015-16 for Real Madrid.
- Both Bayern and Spurs have different managers from their previous meeting on MD2, with Niko Kovac and Mauricio Pochettino departing respectively. It’s the first time a fixture has seen both teams have different managers in each game since 2017-18, when Bayern Munich and Anderlecht changed managers between fixtures.
- Harry Kane scored his 20th UEFA Champions League goal on MD5 against Olympiakos, reaching the tally in the fewest numbers of appearances of any player (24). Kane has scored in all four matches he has played against German opponents (five goals).
- Bayern Munich had 16 shots on target in their 6-0 win over Crvena Zvezda on MD5, the most by a team in this season’s UEFA Champions League. Bayern last had more in a Champions League game in October 2013 against Viktoria Plzen (18).
Odds correct as of 1300 GMT on 10/12/19
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