Astana and Atletico Madrid are already tangling in Kazakhstan, the tasty appetizer for seven more UEFA Champions League group stage games set for 2:45 p.m. ET kickoffs on Tuesday.
The matches feel a bit like the next round of home-and-road ties, in that they are rematches of group matches on the last Match Day.
In reality, they increase the drama of the UCL season, as clubs find themselves 2/3 of the way through the group stage at the end of Tuesday.
Manchester United vs. CSKA Moscow
Louis Van Gaal will expect his Red Devils to thump Moscow after a 1-1 draw in Russia last go-round. The Old Trafford crowd will be plenty fired up, knowing that anything can happen in Group B with leaders Wolfsburg away to bottom-side PSV. There will be no Memphis Depay for United, while Moscow is relatively healthy.
Real Madrid vs. Paris Saint-Germain
The winner of Tuesday’s match, in all probability, will go on to be Group B’s seeded team for the Round of 16’s draw. The sides drew 0-0 in France, meaning neither side has conceded a goal in group play. Have to think that changes today at the Bernabeu, although Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema are out for Real.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Malmo
The Ukrainian hosts already find their backs against the wall, 0-3 in group play and seven points behind Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. The visitors are in the driver’s seat for third place and the Europa League. A split of points or a slim Shakhtar win makes Group A a snooze the rest of the way, as the hosts are five goals behind Malmo on differential.
Sevilla vs. Manchester City
There are plenty of big names on the sidelines for Manuel Pellegrini‘s Citizens, with Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri, David Silva and Pablo Zabaleta out. Sevilla will be without Kevin Gameiro, and okay with the injury trade-off given its predicament of trailing City and Juve by three and four points in the race to advance from Group D.
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Juventus
It’s win or forget about it for Fabian Johnson’s ‘Gladbach, in the Group D basement with one point. Juventus can start to coast with a win, and focus a bit on Serie A moving forward. Will desperation win out?
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Benfica vs. Galatasaray
Depending on what happens between Astana and Atletico Madrid in the early game, we could more or less know the two advancing sides by the end of the day. Gala will hope to make it more interesting with a win, as the Turkish power sits two points back of Atletico and Benfica.
PSV Eindhoven vs. Wolfsburg
Everyone’s alive in Group B, and these Dutch hosts have lost two in-a-row since upending Manchester United to start the tournament. Wolfsburg will be in the catbird seat if it can steal all three points on the road in the Netherlands, giving them a guaranteed minimum four-point lead on third-place.