The UEFA Champions League concludes three back-to-back weeks of top-tier European action on Wednesday when a Group H headliner between RB Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain garners major attention.
Leipzig looked lethargic at Old Trafford in the second round of group games and lost 5-0 to Manchester United, who sit three points clear at the peak of the pool ahead of their visit to Basaksehir. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are one of only five teams who won both their opening Champions League fixtures, but some flagging domestic form means they’re not out of the woods just yet.
Premier League peers Chelsea also return to the European rigmarole on Matchday 6 when they’ll welcome Rennes, with top facing bottom in Group E. Sevilla are only second to the Blues on goal difference, however, and will feel confident hosting a Krasnodar side that succumbed 4-0 at home to Frank Lampard’s outfit last time out.
Lazio and Club Brugge are also level pegging at the Group F summit, but the Romans are rejuvenated in an early kick-off at Zenit St. Petersburg after seeing a swathe of players return from coronavirus isolation. The Eagles beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 in their opening game, but the Black and Yellows can revive their prospects with a convincing result in Bruges.
Barcelona and Juventus will be big favorites to clinch a pair of Wednesday wins when they take on Dynamo Kiev and Ferencvaros, respectively, in Group G.
The Catalans sit three points clear after beating a Juve lineup missing Cristiano Ronaldo in late October, but Quique Setien’s struggle for consistency endures after they drew at Alaves on Saturday.
Visit UEFA.com to view updated group standings.
UCL Matchday 6 Schedule (All Times ET)
Wednesday, November 4
Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Lazio, 12:55 p.m. - Galavision
Istanbul Basaksehir vs. Manchester United, 12:55 p.m. - TUDN
Chelsea vs. Rennes, 3 p.m. - TUDNxtra3
Sevilla vs. Krasnodar, 3 p.m. - TUDNxtra2
Club Brugge vs. Borussia Dortmund, 3 p.m. - TUDNxtra4
Barcelona vs. Dynamo Kiev, 3 p.m. - TUDN
Ferencvaros vs. Juventus, 3 p.m. - Galavision
RB Leipzig vs. Paris Saint-Germain, 3 p.m. - TUDNxtra1
UCL Matchday 6 Tune-In Information
TV: Galavision, TUDN
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
Manchester United haven’t allowed themselves to be intimidated by PSG or Leipzig despite both opponents making it to the closing stages of last season’s Champions League. Few might have anticipated the Red Devils—semi-finalists in the UEFA Europa League last term—would occupy first after meeting both teams early on, and things may just get better for Solskjaer & Co. this week.
Basaksehir may be the reigning champions of Turkey’s Super Lig, but their momentum in Group H has yet to get rolling after they failed to score in defeats to PSG and Leipzig. Victory in Istanbul could move United as much as five points clear at the top if, as Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News explained, the second and third-place teams in the pool draw in Germany:
This will be the first time United have met Basaksehir in any capacity, though former Red Devil Rafael—who joined the Turkish giants this past summer—will be among those familiar to the visitors.
PSG and Leipzig were only recently acquainted in August when Les Parisiens sauntered to a 3-0 success and booked their berth in last season’s Champions League final. The stakes aren’t as high on Wednesday considering any loser will have time to salvage their fate in Group H, but the pressure is on for PSG after they confirmed Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Marco Verratti and Mauro Icardi will all miss out through injury:
Julian Nagelsmann’s side have recorded consecutive defeats for the first time in more than one year and followed their Old Trafford trouncing with a 1-0 loss at Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.
The latter saw them drop from the Bundesliga summit, and a third defeat in a row will mean more pace being lost in Europe:
Thomas Tuchel had the means to outmanoeuvre his German compatriot when these managers faced off in the summer, but the absence of Mbappe and Neymar in particular leaves the guests light in attack. Moise Kean has scored four goals in as many starts since joining on loan from Everton—including both strikes in last week’s 2-0 win over Basaksehir—and a lot of responsibility lies with the Italian leading PSG’s line in Leipzig.
Elsewhere, Chelsea host Rennes hunting three successive wins for the first time this season, with Lampard’s defense having now kept four straight clean sheets in all competitions. The most recent of those came via a 3-0 triumph at Burnley, and the manager took joy in the Blues’ development:
Summer signing Hakim Ziyech scored his maiden goal for the club in their crushing of Krasnodar, and the Moroccan followed up with a goal and assist at Turf Moor. Timo Werner was also on the score sheet on Saturday, meaning positive signs all over the park for Lampard.
Rennes looked like an early title contender in Ligue 1 and started the season strongly, but they only just ended a four-match winless run following Saturday’s 2-1 win at home to Brest.
Julien Stephan’s outfit are the bottom team in Group E on goal difference, but a big defeat at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday could see their hopes of advancing in the Champions League all but end.