Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos cruised into the driver’s seat after multi-goal shutout home wins ahead next week’s second legs, while Young Boys and Red Star Belgrade thrilled in a 2-2 draw on Wednesday.
Olympiacos 4-0 Krasnodar
Lazar Randelovic scored two times in seven minutes as Olympiacos smashed open its playoff round tie with Krasnodar at Karaiskakis Stadium on Wednesday.
Miguel Guerrero and Daniel Podence also scored for the Greeks, whose lead was just 1-0 at halftime.
Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 Rosenborg
The Croatian powers got their goals in the firs half hour, with Bruno Petkovic converting an 8th minute penalty and Mislav Orsic rounding out the scoring in the 28th.
Young Boys 2-2 Red Star Belgrade
A combined 40 shots graced the Stade de Suisse in Switzerland, with the hosts taking 27 as well as an early lead. It was 1-1 after 18 minutes and the visitors took their only lead of the match in the 46th minute.
Guillaume Hoarau converted a 76th minute penalty to lower the damage heading to Serbia, and Red Star will be grateful for some fine saves coming from keeper Milan Borjan.
The Canadian backstop was very good aside from the opener, which was a 1v1 chance but also somewhat preventable.
Dinamo Zagreb host Norwegian giants Rosenborg, while Swiss champions Young Boys head to Red Star Belgrade and Russian side FC Krasnodar travel to Olympiacos. It is tough to select some favorites from these games, but the three home teams will be eager to take healthy leads with them on the road for the second leg.
To get to this stage Red Star defeated FC Copenhagen on penalty kicks, while Olympiacos beat Istanbul Basaksehir, Rosenborg hammered Maribor, Krasnodar edged out Porto on away goals, Dinamo Zagreb beat Ferencvaros and Young Boys enter the competition at this stage.
In recent seasons these teams have struggled when it comes to this competition, but Red Star did beat Liverpool in the UCL group stage last season. Young Boys finished bottom of Group H behind Juventus, Man United and Valencia.
Below is the full schedule for Wednesday’s games, with all games kicking off at 3 p.m. ET.
Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while we will have you covered with a roundup of the action right here on Pro Soccer Talk.
Dinamo Zagreb v. Rosenborg
Young Boys v. Red Star Belgrade
Olympiacos v. FC Krasnodar
Two Premier League clubs are included in that group, with Manchester City and Manchester United in different boats.
United needs a win over visiting Young Boys and Valencia to drop points at Juventus. Both of those possibilities are very real, though Young Boys managed a home draw with Valencia in addition to its blowouts losses.
City is through with a win at Lyon, though a draw and Hoffenheim dropping points at home to Shakhtar Donetsk would also do the trick. Pep Guardiola insists that it isn’t about avenging City’s only loss of the season, but isn’t it?
Bayern Munich and Ajax can clinch spots coming out of Group E with a point each against Benfica and AEK Athens.
And in Group G, Real Madrid and Roma will either kickoff already safe or tangle knowing the winner is through while a loser could find trouble on the final day (though both are at home on Matchday 6).
AEK Athens vs. Ajax — 12:55 p.m. ET
CSKA Moscow vs. Viktoria Plzen — 12:55 p.m. ET
Roma vs. Real Madrid — 3 p.m. ET
Lyon vs. Man City — 3 p.m. ET
Juventus vs. Valencia — 3 p.m. ET
Manchester United vs. Young Boys — 3 p.m. ET
Bayern Munich vs. Benfica — 3 p.m. ET
Hoffenheim vs. Shakhtar Donetsk — 3 p.m. ET
Although Ajax managed to make its way through to the UEFA Champions League group stage with relative ease, Tuesday’s two other fixtures had quite the drama to determine the other clubs that will join the Dutch side.