FC Bayern München will again be playing for their UEFA Champions League lives tonight - as Juventus FC, FC Dynamo Kyiv, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, RC Deportivo La Coruña and Club Brugge KV all bid to book their places in the second group stage with a match to spare.
Bayern without Kahn
In Group G, Bayern's chances of regaining the trophy they won in 2001 remain gossamer-thin after last week's defeat at AC Milan, when Deportivo's reverse at RC Lens handed them a stay of execution. Ottmar Hitzfeld's side go to Deportivo without totemic goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and knowing that anything less than a win will herald their first ever exit from the Champions League's first phase following five quarter-final appearances.
Makaay spearheads Deportivo
Deportivo, meanwhile, include in-form striker Roy Makaay, scorer of the hat-trick that beat Bayern 3-2 in Munich, aware that three points will see them through should RC Lens fail to beat Milan. The Italian side need just a point to clinch the group, having already qualified.
Joint Group E leaders Dynamo and Juventus will be watching one another with interest. They face Newcastle United FC and Feyenoord respectively, and it is fair to say a win will see either team through except in one highly unlikely scenario. If Juventus beat Feyenoord, and Dynamo fall to Newcastle, the Italian side could be still eliminated by conceding five goals, and losing, to Dynamo in Kyiv in the teams' final fixture.
Newcastle need win
Meanwhile, the equation is simple for Newcastle at Saint James' Park - win or bust, although they did beat Juventus in similar circumstances last week. Feyenoord, two points behind the front pair, will remain hopeful regardless of the outcome in Turin provided Dynamo do not win.
Leverkusen scent progress
Manchester United FC are safely though Group F, and 2001/02 runners-up Leverkusen can join their semi-final victims of last season in the next round with a home win against Olympiakos Piraeus FC. The Greek champions have failed to pick up a point since beating the German side 6-2 on Matchday One. Yet they can still qualify - needing a draw in Germany and a win at home to Maccabi Haifa FC, plus defeat for Leverkusen at United next month.
Haifa welcome a United side missing several first-team players. Defeat for the Israeli champions will end their first Champions League campaign unless Olympiakos beat Leverkusen, second in the section with a three-point advantage over the other two. United need only a point to confirm first place in the group.
Barcelona will win Group H whatever happens over the next two Matchdays, and Brugge can be their bridesmaid provided they win at home to the Catalans and Galatasaray SK fail to beat FC Lokomotiv Moskva in Istanbul. The Belgians lead the Turkish team by a point. Lokomotiv require a win - and Barcelona to avoid defeat - to maintain their challenge.
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