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UEFA Champions League: Ibrahimovic faces Barca, APOEL can clinch and more

Ibrahimovic (Reuters Pictures)

With much of the drama removed from Wednesday's UEFA Champions League matchup between Barcelona and AC Milan (2:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel), the focus can turn to one of the more glaring subplots of the group stage. 

Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will go up against his former team for the first time since leaving two summers ago. The Swedish international didn't leave the club on the greatest of terms, blasted Barcelona and manager Pep Guardiola in his recently released autobiography and will the prime focus between two teams who are coasting to the group stage.

Ibrahimovic missed the first meeting between the two teams with an injury, a match that ended in a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou.

Here's a look ahead to the day's other Champions League matches:

GROUP E

Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen do battle with first place the group on the line (2:45 p.m., FoxSoccer.tv/DirecTV). The Blues lead their German counterparts by two points and can clinch first place with a road win 

Valencia still has a shot at reaching the knockout stage but it needs to defeat Genk (2:45 p.m., FoxSoccer.tv/DirecTV) to maintain that hope going forward. The Spanish side trails Chelsea by three points and Leverkusen by one, so much is still dependent on how those two sides fare in their match. At the very least, Valencia can bury Genk by holding serve at home. 

GROUP F

After seeing the two English clubs struggle on Tuesday, Arsenal will look to turn its country's fortune by claiming victory over in-form Dortmund (2:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Plus/FoxSoccer.tv/DirecTV) and clinching first place in the group.

Even though Dortmund struggled from the onset and finds itself in third place, the club is coming off a league victory over Bayern Munich and is still very much alive in the hunt for a knockout berth. The two played to a 1-1 draw in the meeting in Germany earlier in the tournament, and both are in a far different place now than they were in that matchup.

As for the other matchup, Marseille faces Olympiakos (2:45 p.m., FoxSoccer.tv/DirecTV), and both are still in contention for the knockout stage; however, anything but a victory will eliminate the Greek side. 

GROUP G

The surprise story of the group stage is a road result away from clinching first place and moving on to the final 16. If Cyprus' APOEL Nicosia, picked by most to finish last in the group, can match its 2-1 result of Zenit-St. Petersburg from the opening day of the group stage (12 p.m., FoxSoccer.tv/DirecTV) it will cement its place atop the group with a game to spare.

FC Porto, meanwhile, doesn't want to have to defend its Europa League title, but that might be the position the Portuguse giant finds itself in if it can't get three points from Shakhtar Donetsk (2:45 p.m., FoxSoccer.tv/DirecTV).

GROUP H

BATE Borisov and Viktoria Plzen won't be making the knockout stage, but the two underdogs still have a Europa League place to fight for when they square off (1 p.m., FoxSoccer.tv/DirecTV). A BATE home victory would cement a third-place finish and a berth in the Europa League knockout stage.

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Do you see Ibrahimovic scoring on Barcelona? Think APOEL Nicosia gets the job done? How do you see Wednesday's matches playing out?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. I love that all i picture when ppl mention Ibrahimovic is Gooch busting out a can of whoopa$$ on him. He’s a great player but just a horrible attitude..

    Reply

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