Bayern traditionally struggle away from home in the Champions League. Won only 9 of their last 22 away games in the Champions League.
There are still signs of problems in the locker room with James Rodriguez and Kovac coming to blows at the weekend again.
AEK have a number of absentees to deal with and will be far from their strongest.
Bayern have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 5 games in all competitions.
AEK have played 3 UCL games at home this season. A 2-1 win over Celtic, a 1-1 draw with MOL Vidi, and a 3-2 loss to Benfica
AEK will likely play a defensive game and look to frustrate Bayern. A draw would be a great result for them.
With question marks still over Kovac’s ability to lead this team nothing less than a convincing win will satisfy the Bayern board.
Bayern have won 7 of their last 8 matches in the Champions League against teams outside the “Big 5” (England, Spain, Germany, Italy, and France)
AEK haven’t met a team from a “Big 5” league since they met AC Milan in last year’s Europa League. They managed two 0-0’s against the Italians.
90 places separate these teams in the Euro Club Index. To put this into comparison AEK are probably as strong as a team like Hannover in the Bundesliga
AEK have shipped 6 goals in their opening 2 games against Benfica and Ajax.
Bayern’s key to success here will be Lewandowski. The Pole broke his goal drought at the weekend with a brace and should be coming into this with a bit more confidence.
Young Boys v Valencia
Young Boys gave a very strong showing in their last home game against Man Utd and were unlucky to lose by such a large margin. (2.09-2.62 xG in Man Utd’s favour)
Domestically Valencia have struggled with goals and wins, In their last 7 in La Liga they Won 1, Drawn 6 Lost 0.
Valencia have only won once on the road in the UCL since 2012. That came in the form of a 0-1 away win to Lyon in 2015
Young Boys performances have slid with 3+ goals conceded in their last three and no wins.
The Swiss Champions starting GK David von Ballmoos was involved in a nasty collision at the weekend that resulted in a concussion and broken nose. He’ll most likely be replaced by backup keeper Wölfli. The 36-year-old replacement has conceded 15 goals in his last 7 appearances for the Swiss side
The hosts have an advantage playing on an artificial pitch that they’re used to. This could cause problems for Valencia
Valencia have drawn an extraordinary about of games this season but with a group containing Juventus and Man Utd this is a must win.
Ajax v Benfica
Ajax started their campaign with a 3-0 win over AEK and then almost stole the show away to Bayern where they were unlucky not to take all three points again (1-1)
The Dutch side have lost only 3 times under Erik ten Haag’s 34 match reign so far. In his 8 UCL and UCL qualification games his record reads W5 D3 L0 – 17 scored, 5 conceded
Since drawing with Heracles at the start of the season Ajax are on a 6 game win streak at the Amsterdam Arena with 3+ goals scored in every game.
Benfica managed a win in their last match against AEK but this will offer a far sterner test for the Portuguese. Looking at their last 11 away from home in the UCL (incl qualifiers) we see only 3 wins. These came against AEK, PAOK, and Dynamo Kiev
In these games, Benfica managed only one clean sheet (vs Dynamo) and conceded 2+ goals on 7 occasions.
Benfica will be weaker at the back with Rúben Dias (CB) suspended and Jardel (CB) potential injured
Roma v CSKA Moscow
Morale at Roma is low after a home loss to SPAL at the weekend.
Roma are however unbeaten at home in the Champions League in their last 7 games
CSKA record a historic 1-0 win over Real Madrid to boost their chances at qualifying from the group. We can expect them to be happy to take a point from this game
The Russians, however, will be without starting GK Akinfeev who is suspended after seeing red last time out. Their backup Ilya Pomazun has 4 senior appearances for CSKA and no clean sheets
The visitors will also be without Schennikov (RB) Bistrovic (DM) Hernandez (CF) AND Vasin (CB)
Roma did rotate at the weekend and did see Pastore return for some minutes so we can expect them to line-up with their best available XI here
CSKA have conceded 2+ goals in their last 4 visits to teams that are from Top 5 leagues
Edin Džeko has 11 Champions League goals since the start of last season, only Ronaldo has more.
CSKA frontman Fedor Chalov has scored 12 goals in his last 12 appearances for club and country (Russia U21)
Hoffenheim v Lyon
Hoffenheim are still yet to win in the Champions League after drawing 2-2 with Shakhtar on game week 1 and losing 2-1 to Man City last time out.
Hoffenheim have only won 3 times this season. The wins in the Bundesliga came against Freiburg (11th) Hannover (15th) and Nürnberg(14th)
Lyon will be with Fekir but apart from that will field their best possible XI
The French side have played 6 UCL games in the last year and have only lost once (0-1 to Juventus)
Under Bruno Genesio Lyon are unbeaten in 20 of the 26 games he’s taken charge of in Europe
For the first time since late 2014, Hoffenheim have conceded at least two goals in their last three home fixtures
20 of Hoffenheim’s last 27 games have seen Over 2.5 goals
Hoffenheim have seen BTTS (Both teams to score) in all of their games this season
Man Utd v Juventus
Man Utd drew 2-2 away to Chelsea at the weekend and will view that as a positive result despite Chelsea equalising in injury time.
Yet again in that game, Man Utd gave up a lot of good goalscoring chances (Chelsea 2.79 xG)
Man Utd are yet to concede in the UCL with a 3-0 win over YB and a 0-0 with Valencia
Considering results so far Mourinho would surely be happy to take a draw in this game.
Juventus have been handed an easy road schedule this season, so far they’ve played Chievo, Parma, Valencia, Frosinone, and Udinese. The Valencia game was their only real test so far but this should present a tougher challenge for Allegri’s men.
Man Utd have an excellent record at home in the Champions League with only 1 defeat in their last 14 at Old Trafford
With that being said Man Utd have huge problems preventing teams from scoring and creating chances. With the exception of their match with Valencia, Man Utd have conceded 2+ goals in their last 4 games in all competitions
Real Madrid v Plzen
Real Madrid were embarrassed by CSKA Moscow in the last gameweek and Julen Lopetegui is close to being sacked. Even a resounding win for his side here might not be enough to save him.
Plzen who might be the weakest team in group stages have shipped 7 goals already with two conceded against CSKA, and five away to Roma.
Real Madrid left Kroos, Benzema, and Bale on the bench at the weekend so we can expect a full-strength XI here with Carvajal being the only significant absence
In Plzen’s last 4 European matches (Sporting x 2, Roma, and CSKA) they’ve given up an extraordinary amount of chances (10.72 xGA) and Goals (10 goals)
Real Madrid have been creating a ton of chances in both the league and in Europe, It should also be noted that they’ve already hit the woodwork an astounding 10 times this season. Goals will eventually come.
Judging from the betting markets Real Madrid are expected to win this game by 3 clear goals. Anything less will be seen a disappointed after recent results.
Zero pressure on Plzen, they will look to keep the scoreline respectable.
Shakhtar v Man City
Shakhtar have lost only once at home in the UCL over the past two years. That solitary loss came at the hands of Real Madrid (3-4)
The Ukranian side have scored 2+ goals in 10 of their last 11 home games in the UCL
Paulo Fonseca has managed Shakhtar in 10 UCL (not incl qualifiers) games and is unbeaten in 7
This fixture was played last December with Shakhtar running out 2-1 winners however, it must be noted that Man City rotated their squad massively as qualification was already sealed.
Pep Guardiola actually has a poor record in Europe with only 10 wins from the 20 matches he’s taken charge of so far. For a club of Man City’s resources and ability this is low.
Under Pep’s tenure, they’ve only won away from home against Hoffenheim, Feyenoord, Napoli, and Basel.
Man City face a long 7 /8 hour trip to Eastern Ukraine (Kharkiv) ahead of this game
Both of Shakhtar’s games this season have been high scoring with 4 goals apiece, we should expect Fonseca to engage Guardiola’s style of play instead of playing conservatively. With a bit of luck, this game will have plenty of goalmouth action