Villarreal – Napoli
A win for Napoli will see them take 2nd place in the group and thereby move on to the next stage. Villarreal have nothing to play for, have lost all 5 group matches so far, and is likely to rest some of their key players instead of risking more injuries to an already depleated squad.
Ajax – Real Madrid
Ajax need just 1 point to qualify to the next stage and have managed no less than 4 clean sheets in this tournament so far. Real Madrid has secured their first place and may opt to rest a few players with the clash against Barcelona coming up on Saturday.
Dinamo Zagreb – Lyon
Should Ajax fail to gain a point against Real, Lyon can still take 2nd place, but they’ll need a win in Zagreb, which should be possible though. Zagreb has lost all matches so far with a score of 2-15, both goals scored in the 6-2 defeat in Madrid, which means they have not to score at home. If Lyon can’t win here, they don’t deserve better anyway.
Basel – Manchester United
The difference in class wasn’t to be seen in the reverse match, which Basel was on the brink of winning. United have improved their defence a lot since then though, and I’m certain they’ll take advantage of the fact that Basel need to win the match to go through. That must lead to openings in their own defence and United have the players to take advantage of such.
Benfica – Otelul Galati
Benfica will take 1st place by beating Otelul, which should be possible, but I’m not so sure that it will be a match full of goals. Any win will do for Benfica, so I imagine that should they take the lead, they’ll be satisfied with shutting up shop instead of risking anything. Otelul have lost all 5 group matches, but against United and Benfica they lost only 0-1, 0-2 and 0-2. I’m betting on a similar scoreline.
Lille – Trabzonspor
Lille need to win, and looking back on their record this fall, I’ll take my chances with the French champions. Since August 14 they have lost to only 1 team; Inter Milan. Trabzonspor hasn’t managed a win in their last 4 outings, and was totally overrun in Moscow against CSKA where they lost 3-0. The same place where Lille won 2-0, and it’s a performance like that which makes me take on the home side.