Mon 7 Dec by Mark Gleeson
SOCCER 6 POOL OF THE WEEK
Wednesday 9 December S6 V1 P1
M1 Ajax Amsterdam vs Atalanta: Ajax and Atalanta are vying to join Champions League Group D winners Liverpool in the last 16 when they meet in Amsterdam in the final round of matches. Only a win will do for the Dutch side while a draw will be enough for Atalanta.
M2 FC Midtjylland vs Liverpool: The Danish side, already certain to come last in their Champions League group, got their first point last week thanks to a 1-1 draw at Atalanta. That was on the same night Liverpool beat Ajax 1-0 to open up an unassailable four-point advantage at the top of the table.
M3 Salzburg vs Atletico Madrid: Salzburg and Atlético are in a showdown for second place in Champions League Group A. Salzburg need to beat their Spanish visitors to progress to the knockout phase for the first time, while a draw will suit Atlético, who have never lost to Austrian opponents.
M4 Olympiakos vs FC Porto: This is the eighth meeting between the two clubs, with all the previous six before this season coming in a two-year period from 1997 to 1999. The home side has triumphed in all but one game overall.
M5 Real Madrid vs Borussia Mönchengladbach: Both sides were beaten in Champions League last week, Madrid going down 2-0 at Shakhtar Donetsk while Mönchengladbach lost a five-goal thriller at home to Inter. That left the German club on eight points, two ahead of Madrid and Shakhtar with Inter (at home to the Ukrainian side on the final day) on five.
M6 Manchester City vs Olympique Marseille: Manchester City are already assured of first place in Group C, while Marseille are still in the hunt for the group’s Europa League qualifying slot, having ended their record run of UEFA Champions League defeats in their last match.
SOCCER 10 POOL OF THE WEEK
Thursday 10 December S10 V1
M1 Sparta Prague vs AC Milan: Milan are now unbeaten in seven matches against Sparta with five wins and have kept clean sheets in each of their three matches in Prague.
M2 Glasgow Celtic vs Lille: Celtic's underwhelming UEFA Europa League Group H campaign ends with a home game against Lille, who have already booked their passage to the knockout phase and have their sights set on a third successive away win.
M3 Dinamo Zagreb vs CSKA Moscow: Already through to the knockout phase as Group K winners, Dinamo Zagreb will be eyeing a piece of Europa League history. The Croatian champions have not conceded a goal in their five group matches and no club has yet completed a Europa League group with six clean sheets.
M4 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim vs AA Gent: Top plays bottom in Group L as Hoffenheim, confirmed group winners, host Ghent. The visitors have suffered five defeats out of five and will want to avoid joining the small band of teams who have suffered a Europa League whitewash.
M5 Leicester City vs AEK Athens: Having surrendered their unbeaten record in the Europa League on Matchday 5, Leicester City will be keen to make it three home wins out of three in Group G as they host eliminated AEK Athens.
M6 Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Sivasspor: Maccabi Tel Aviv and Sivasspor go head to head with a place in the round of 32 at stake as Group I runners-up. The Israeli champions have eight points, two more than Sivasspor. Maccabi will therefore qualify if they avoid defeat, whereas the Turkish group-stage debutants can only leapfrog their hosts into second place with a victory.
M7 PFC Ludogorets Razgard vs LASK Linz: While Ludogorets and LASK are both out of contention in the Europa League, the Bulgarian champions will want to avoid exiting the competition with another Europa League defeat. They have lost all five of their Group J fixtures.
M8 Sporting Braga vs Zorya Luhansk: Braga have already qualified for the round of 32 in Europa League and will be looking to close their Group G campaign with a fourth victory as they host Zorya Luhansk, who are eliminated but have won their last two group games.
M9 Tottenham Hotspur vs Antwerp: Tottenham and Antwerp have both already sealed their place in the next round of Europa League, but this game will decide who finishes top of Group J. Spurs must make it three home wins out of three to top the group, whereas Antwerp have to avoid a first away defeat to hold on to their position.
M10 Wolfsburger AC vs Feyenoord Rotterdam: Wolfsburger moved ahead of Feyenoord into second place in Group K last week and will advance in the Europa League for the first time if they can avoid defeat against the famous Dutch club, who must win to qualify.