The UEFA Champions League group stage continues on Wednesday; what will be the talking points?
Article top media content
The UEFA Champions League group stage is entering its home stretch as the Matchday 3 opponents meet again on Matchday 4.
Presented by Hotels.com, we pick out the potential headline-makers as the round of 16 heaves into view for a number of sides.Play Champions League Fantasy Football
Wednesday 3 November
Group A: Man. City vs Club Brugge, Leipzig vs Paris
Group B: AC Milan vs Porto (18:45 CET), Liverpool vs Atlético de Madrid
Group C: Sporting CP vs Beşiktaş, Dortmund vs Ajax
Group D: Real Madrid vs Shakhtar Donetsk (18:45 CET), Sheriff vs Inter
All kick-offs 21:00 CET unless otherwise stated.
What to look out for?
Duo eye early qualification
Bayern and Juventus experienced the joy of reaching the knockout phase with two matches to spare on Tuesday – and they could be joined by another pair of clubs before the week is out. Ajax will also qualify if they better Sporting CP's result against Beşiktaş, while Liverpool will advance if they can see off Atlético Madrid at home. Former Red Luis Suárez believes Atleti can spoil the Anfield party, however: "We know they have some weaknesses we could exploit in our favour."
Last chance for Milan
Lose to Porto and AC Milan's first campaign back in the Champions League since 2013/14 will be over – and even a draw will be fatal if Atlético beat Liverpool. High stakes, but the Rossoneri are not rattled. "We're ready and San Siro will be our 12th man," says defender Davide Calabria, whose side can also count on Zlatan Ibrahimović. The 40-year-old has played just 32 minutes in Europe this season due to injury but has scored twice in his last three games – including a vicious free-kick against Roma on Sunday that took him to 400 domestic league goals.
Can Shakhtar dent Madrid optimism?
Karim Benzema's added-time finish in his side's 5-0 win at Shakhtar on Matchday 3, followed by a Clásico triumph over Barcelona, means confidence is high at Real Madrid. However, Carlo Ancelotti will be wary of any distractions ahead of a potentially crucial encounter – the visitors won 3-2 at the Santiago Bernabéu last season and are seeking their first goal in the current campaign.
• Several teams may already be looking nervously ahead to the final two fixtures of the group stage, especially in Group F, where leaders Manchester United and fourth-placed Young Boys are separated by only four points. The Red Devils follow their 2-2 draw at Atalanta – salvaged by another late Cristiano Ronaldo goal – with a visit to Villarreal in a repeat of last season's UEFA Europa League final. The result of that is likely to affect the destiny of all four teams.
• Despite a first setback in their 3-1 defeat at Inter last time out, dangerous newcomers Sheriff remain top of Group C courtesy of their shock win in Madrid on Matchday 2. Even if the Nerazzurri prevail when the teams meet again in Italy, the entertainers from Moldova can keep control of their fate when they attempt to repeat their most famous victory so far on Matchday 5.
Tuesday 2 November
Group E: Dynamo Kyiv 0-1 Barcelona, Bayern 5-2 Benfica
Group F: Villarreal 2-0 Young Boys, Atalanta 2-2 Man. United
Group G: Wolfsburg 2-1 Salzburg, Sevilla 1-2 LOSC
Group H: Malmö 0-1 Chelsea, Juventus 4-2 Zenit
14/15 September: Matchday 1
28/29 September: Matchday 2
19/20 October: Matchday 3
2/3 November: Matchday 4
23/24 November: Matchday 5
7/8 December: Matchday 6
13 December 2021: Round of 16 draw
15/16/22/23 February & 8/9/15/16 March: Round of 16
18 March: Quarter-final & semi-final draws
5/6 & 12/13 April: Quarter-finals
26/27 April & 3/4 May: Semi-finals
28 May: Final (Gazprom Arena, Russia)