The UEFA Champions League group stage comes to an end this week with several groups still up for grabs and runners-up places available.
Group B sees all four teams still in the hunt for knockout round spots as Real Madrid and Inter Milan both serve as hosts this week. Los Blancos will welcome Borussia Monchengladbach to town looking to avoid an embarrassing exit from the competition while leaders Gladbach aim to rebound from a Matchday 5 home loss to Inter Milan.
Group H may be the most intriguing with Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig, and Manchester United all fighting for two spots. RB Leipzig eliminated Istanbul Basaksehir on Matchday 5 and will now welcome the Red Devils to town on Tuesday. Leipzig is coming off a tough 3-3 draw with Bayern Munich over the weekend while Manchester United downed West Ham United in Premier League play.
Jesse Marsch’s Red Bull Salzburg could clinch a Round of 16 spot with a home victory over La Liga visitors Atletico Madrid, knowing Bayern Munich has already won the group.
The final qualification spot is also up for grabs in Group D with Ajax and Atalanta squaring off in Amsterdam with the hosts needing a victory for any chance of finishing second behind Liverpool.
Here is a closer look at the top matches this week in UCL play:
RB Leipzig vs. Manchester United
(Tuesday, 3 p.m., FuboTV/CBS All-Access)
Manchester United will be up against the wall this week as it travels to RB Leipzig needing a win or tie to clinch a Round of 16 berth. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side thumped the Bundesliga side 5-0 back at Old Trafford, but since has lost to PSG on Matchday 5. Paul Pogba helped spark a 3-1 road win over West Ham United this weekend, a needed boost for this week’s trip to Germany.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side tied Bayern Munich 3-3 on the road, staying in the top two of the Bundesliga table. The German side used a stoppage time winner last week in Turkey to down Istanbul Basaksehir 4-3, setting up what will be a dramatic showdown this week at Red Bull Arena. Four different players got on the scoresheet that match, a positive sign for the club.
Real Madrid vs. Borussia Monchengladbach
(Wednesday, 3 p.m., TUDN/UniMas/FuboTV/CBS All Access)
Group B is up for grabs as well with Real Madrid welcoming Borussia Monchengladbach to town. Los Blancos currently sit in third place in the group and know a win gives them a spot in the Round of 16. Zinedine Zidane’s men rebounded from last weekend’s loss to Shakhtar with a 1-0 triumph over Sevilla in La Liga play. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos will need to be influential in Real’s midfield for the hosts to get after the lively Gladbach squad.
Borussia Monchengladbach is first in the group heading into the final day of group stage play, but is reeling after failing to win either of its past two matches. A 3-2 loss to Inter Milan last weekend saw Gladbach see Romelu Lukaku score a second-half brace, which proved to be the difference in the scoreline. Alassane Plea has scored three goals in his last two outings and will be the player to watch for the visitors.
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Atletico Madrid
(Tuesday, 3 p.m., FuboTV/CBS All-Access)
Red Bull Salzburg has done pretty well in the group stage so far to get to this point, but Jesse Marsch’s side need a victory over Atletico Madrid for any chance of keeping its dream alive. Salzburg defeated Lokomotiv Moscow 3-1 on Matchday 5 with Mergim Berisha leading the way with two goals. Berisha and Dominik Szoboszlai will look to propel the Austrian club past visiting Atletico Madrid in what would be a major upset.
Diego Simeone’s side has not lost in its past 10 matches, but would like to put its past goalscoring inconsistencies behind them this week. Atletico has only scored five goals in its past five matches, despite posting three victories in that span. After some previous hiccups in the group stage, Atletico will be keen on scoring early and often to avoid any late drama on the road.
Ajax vs. Atalanta
(Wednesday, 3 p.m., FuboTV/CBS All-Access)
Liverpool has already won Group D, but will be joined by either Ajax or Atalanta in the next round of the competition. Ajax welcomes Atalanta to Amsterdam this Wednesday needing a victory to remain in the competition come January. Ajax has lost its last two matches in all competitions, but has several attacking options to call on including Dusan Tadic and David Neres.
Atalanta could advance with a draw on the road in the Netherlands, but would like to savor a victory on Matchday 6. The Serie A side saw its weekend match postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Udinese, giving Gian Piero Gasperini’s side some extra rest for its trip to Ajax. Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zupata headlines the Italians attack, but Cristian Romero also came up clutch in a Matchday 5 tie with Midtjylland.
Here is a full schedule of this week’s UCL action (All times Eastern):
3 p.m. – Rennes vs. Sevilla
3 p.m. – Bayern Munich vs. Lokomotiv Moscow