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AFP Sport runs the rule over Wednesday's games in Champions League Groups E, F, G and H (kick-offs 1945 GMT).
Focus on Mourinho as Arsenal look to do double over Bayern
11/03/2015
 
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As Arsenal look to do the double over Bayern Munich and under-fire Jose Mourinho hopes to see his Chelsea side return to winning ways against Dynamo Kiev, AFP Sport runs the rule over Wednesday's games in Champions League Groups E, F, G and H (kick-offs 1945 GMT):


Group E

At Barcelona, Spain


Barcelona (ESP) v BATE Borisov (BLR)

Ten years on from Lionel Messi's Champions League debut, Group E leaders Barcelona could secure their place in the last 16 with a win at home to BATE at the Camp Nou, providing Roma fail to beat Bayer Leverkusen in Italy. The reigning European champions are three points clear at the top of the section after Ivan Rakitic's brace secured a 2-0 win in Belarus two weeks ago. The Catalans have lost just one of their last 34 home games in the competition and it would be a huge surprise if they slipped up against BATE, who have already secured a 10th straight Belarusian title. Messi is still absent, but Luis Suarez and Neymar have been in fine form without him. 

At Rome


Roma (ITA) v Bayer Leverkusen (GER)

This is a crucial game for Roma, who have yet to win in Group E and trail second-placed Leverkusen by two points. The sides drew 4-4 in Germany in a remarkable game a fortnight ago but Roma, who were knocked off the top of Serie A after losing 1-0 to Inter at the weekend, have won only one of their last eight European home games. Leverkusen, meanwhile, are returning to a venue where they lost 1-0 to Lazio in the play-offs for this competition in August. As they look to close in on a last-16 place they will look to Javier Hernandez for inspiration with the Mexican having scored six goals in his last four games. 

Group F

At Munich, Germany


Bayern Munich (GER) v Arsenal (ENG)

Arsenal are chasing what would be a remarkable double against Bayern when the sides meet at the Allianz Arena. After losing their first two matches in Group F, the Gunners revived their hopes of reaching the last 16 with a rousing 2-0 win over the Germans last time out. Their recent record in Bavaria is good too, with a win and a draw in two visits in the last two seasons. Flying high in second in the Premier League after five consecutive wins, Arsenal will nevertheless be without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott in Munich. Bayern, who were held to a 0-0 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday, are currently without Mario Goetze as they look to close in on a last-16 place. "We don't need any extra motivation for the Arsenal game," said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm. "This is the Champions League, we're playing at home and anyone who isn't motivated is in the wrong place."

At Piraeus, Greece


Olympiakos (GRE) v Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)

Greek champions Olympiakos can take a big step towards securing a last-16 berth with a win at home to Dinamo Zagreb in Piraeus. Marco Silva's side started their campaign with a 3-0 home loss to Bayern Munich but have since beaten Arsenal in London and then won 1-0 in Croatia thanks to a late Brown Ideye goal. Ideye also netted in a 2-0 win at Veria at the weekend as Olympiakos made it nine wins from nine in the Greek Super League. In contrast, after going 45 competitive matches unbeaten, Dinamo have now lost four times in seven games, including a 1-0 reverse in Split on Friday.

Group G

At Haifa, Israel


Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR) v Porto (POR)

With their main rivals for qualification facing off in London, Porto can all but secure their spot in the knockout stages by beating Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel. Julen Lopetegui's men, 2-0 winners when the teams met in Portugal recently, had a free weekend after their match at Uniao da Madeira was postponed because their plane couldn't land on the Atlantic island due to high winds. They will be hoping for no travel hiccups this time, but the injured Maicon and Yacine Brahimi both missed the journey to Haifa, where Macabi are hosting Champions League games this season at the ultra-modern Sammy Ofer stadium, 100 kilometres up the Mediterranean coast from Tel Aviv. Maccabi, who have lost six of their last 10 games, could be eliminated if they fail to win, depending on the result in the other game.

At London


Chelsea (ENG) v Dynamo Kiev (UKR)

Jose Mourinho has so far survived at Chelsea despite suffering a ninth defeat in 17 games in all competitions this season at the weekend, a 3-1 home loss to Liverpool leaving them 15th in the Premier League. Might the axe fall if Chelsea slip up against Dynamo Kiev, thereby seriously damaging their Champions League chances? The Blues drew 0-0 in Ukraine in their last outing and need to win to climb back above Dynamo into the top two in Group G before going to Israel and hosting leaders Porto in their final two games. In contrast, Dynamo beat Metalist Kharkiv 2-0 at the weekend to stay level with Shakhtar Donetsk atop the Ukrainian Premier League, so travel with plenty of confidence. 

Group H

At Lyon, France


Lyon (FRA) v Zenit St Petersburg (RUS)

Zenit were the only team in the whole competition to win their opening three group games and the Russian champions have the chance to seal a last-16 place with a win in France, while a draw would also do if Gent fail to beat Valencia in Belgium. Andre Villas-Boas will hope to welcome back Brazil forward Hulk, who sat out the goalless weekend draw with Mordovia Saransk that left Zenit 10 points behind Russian Premier League leaders CSKA Moscow. Lyon, meanwhile, could be eliminated unless they win, so the stakes are high at the Stade Gerland. Second in Ligue 1 after going four games unbeaten, Lyon will hope Alexandre Lacazette recovers from an ankle knock as they look to avenge a 3-1 loss in Russia last time out.

At Ghent, Belgium


Gent (BEL) v Valencia (ESP)

It has been an unconvincing start to the season for Valencia, who are seventh in La Liga despite a 3-0 derby win against Levante at the weekend, but a win in Ghent could see them qualify for the last 16 with two games to spare as long as Lyon fail to beat Zenit in France. The Belgian champions, meanwhile, need to take something from the game to stay in the tournament for now. Valencia have struggled to score goals this season and needed an own goal to secure a 2-1 win over Gent at the Mestalla two weeks ago. Striker Rodrigo Moreno is on the sidelines just now but Alvaro Negredo has been recalled for the game.

Source: Andy SCOTT/ AFP
 
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