The moment of truth is approaching. Arriving halfway, the group stage of the Champions League resumes this Tuesday. Some clubs, such as Manchester City and FC Barcelona, can already qualify for the round of 16. Find out what you need to know ahead of day four.
Yes. The reception of Paris Saint-Germain by AC Milan will be, like two weeks ago, the not-to-be-missed shock of this evening. In group F, PSG is leader (6 points) ahead of Dortmund (4), Newcastle (4) and the Rossoneri (2). Paris did not go into detail against Olivier Giroud's teammates at the Parc des Princes two weeks ago (3-0) and remains on 5 consecutive victories, against 4 matches in a row without winning on the Italian side. “We are working hard to react, to regain our best level and our confidence,” declared French goalkeeper Mike Maignan, who promised the Parisians “a very difficult match for us but for them too”.
Jules Koundé (24 years old, FC Barcelona): The defender withdrew from the French team's rally in October, suffering a sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. He returned to the field on Saturday, playing the entire Barça match, a narrow victory on the Real Sociedad pitch (0-1). With the injury to Benjamin Pavard, Koundé could start at the next Blues rally, as was the case at right back against Ireland last September (2-0).
Warren Zaire-Emery (17, Paris Saint-Germain): “In a corridor and wherever you put him, he plays well. It is exemplary and spectacular.” Luis Enrique was, once again, full of praise for the Parisian midfielder after dominating Montpellier last Friday (3-0). Sparkling against AC Milan (3-0) in C1 on October 25, Zaire-Emery could even be summoned to the Blues by Didier Deschamps this week. Each of his releases is now awaited. Tuesday, the native of Montreuil will discover San Siro. Unless it's the other way around.
ALSO SEE – The summary of PSG-Montpellier with a goal from Zaire-Emery on November 3 (3-0)
Antoine Griezmann (32 years old, Atlético de Madrid): The trap is as big as a house. Atlético, 2nd in Group E with 5 points behind Feyenoord (6) and ahead of Lazio Rome (4) and Celtic (1), hosts the latter in Madrid at 9 p.m. The Scottish champion, an injured beast although leader of his championship, can wreak havoc in the Colchoneros' European campaign. As always, Atléti will count on its spearhead, Antoine Griezmann, to avoid a hitch. The Frenchman scored against Feyenoord on October 4 (3-2) then at Celtic three weeks later (2-2).
They will also be out: Mohamed Simakan and Castello Lukeba (RB Leipzig), Mattéo Guendouzi (Lazio Rome), Mike Maignan, Théo Hernandez, Yacine Adli, and Olivier Giroud (AC Milan), Lucas Hernandez, Nordi Mukiele, Bradley Barcola, Randal Kolo Muani and Kylian Mbappé (PSG)
With three victories in three matches, Manchester City and FC Barcelona would book their ticket for the round of 16 in the event of another success this Tuesday. The Skyblues host the Young Boys of Bern (9 p.m.) and the Catalans take on Shakhtar Donetsk (6:45 p.m.). A draw would be enough even in the case of Barça.
At the same time, Celtic can be eliminated if they lose at Atlético and Feyenoord beat Lazio. Young Boys and Red Star Belgrade, who each have only one point in Group G, are also in danger. The Serbian club will necessarily be out if it loses against Leipzig. Finally, Royal Antwerp has no choice: it must win at FC Porto to keep a slim hope of the round of 16.
As we have said, the Belgian club must absolutely win at FC Porto. It would be an achievement after three defeats in three European matches and 12 goals conceded. The people of Antwerp are even, to their great regret, right on time to break a sad record: that of the greatest number of goals conceded in a Champions League group stage. No one has done worse than Belarusians BATE Borisov, conceding 24 goals in 2014-15.
Ironically, BATE Borisov also had Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk in their squad at the time. He suffered two humiliations against the Ukrainians (0-7 and 5-0) after sinking from the start in Porto (6-0). Royal Antwerp started badly in Barcelona on September 19 (5-0), lost narrowly against Shakhtar (2-3) and did not resist against Porto (1-4). The return match with the Portuguese promises to be tricky.
Due to the Russian invasion in Ukraine, the Donetsk club cannot host European competitions in its country. Last season he played “at home” in Warsaw, Poland. This season, the city of Hamburg, in the north of Germany, is hosting it. FC Barcelona will therefore travel this Tuesday to the Volksparkstadion, usual home of Hamburg SV, a German D2 club, and with a capacity of 50,000 seats.