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Champions League Matchday 5: Wednesday game-by-game preview

Get the lowdown on the remaining eight matches as the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League group stage reaches its penultimate round.

Rasmus Højlund and Declan Rice
Rasmus Højlund and Declan Rice

The 2023/24 UEFA Champions League group stage is reaching the sharp end; get abreast of the second batch of fixtures coming up on Matchday 5.

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Wednesday 29 November

Galatasaray vs Man United (18:45)

"We will be playing at home against Manchester United; we will need our fans there a lot. With their support, we want to win the remaining two matches to get through the group," said Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera after their 2-1 defeat at Bayern. Manchester United, now bottom of the section but just a point off second place, could not keep the crowd out of the game in their 4-3 reverse in Copenhagen according to Rasmus Højlund, so the Red Devils will be keen not to make the same mistake twice. "We switched off a little bit; it gave them a lot of belief," said the striker. "I know how the crowd can help the team here, and it gave them a big boost."

Did you know?
Højlund has become one of just seven players to score five or more goals in their first four appearances in the Champions League, group stage to final.

Highlights: Bayern 2-1 Galatasaray

Sevilla vs PSV Eindhoven (18:45)

Sevilla coach Diego Alonso praised young full-backs Juanlu and Kike Salas despite their defeat at Arsenal. "They have gained in experience and played on a big stage and surely this will help them to grow," he said. "The confidence you get as a young player comes from playing important matches, from being put in adverse situations." Their predicament is certainly precarious now with Sevilla on the foot of the table following PSV's victory at home to Lens. "The two of us, along with Sevilla, will be fighting for the second and third spots," said PSV manager Peter Bosz. "Arsenal are on a different level. The battle between the other three teams will be quite interesting."

Did you know?
PSV have lost only one of their last nine European matches (W5 D3).

Picked your Fantasy side?
Highlights: PSV 1-0 Lens

Bayern vs Copenhagen (21:00)

Bayern are in the ideal position of having qualified for the last 16 as section winners and are now two games away from a third successive group stage campaign with maximum points. "It's an amazing achievement," said coach Thomas Tuchel after their Matchday 4 success against Galatasaray. "We've got 12 points and are top of the group for sure. This is very important because it was our target." Copenhagen finally scored the victory that coach Jacob Neestrup felt they deserved in beating Manchester United on Matchday 4, and will be eager to follow that up with their fate in their own hands. "We have played four games now. We put in three really, really good performances before, but we only got one point from them."

Did you know?
Bayern have won 28 and drawn one of their last 29 home matches in the Champions League group stage.

Highlights: Copenhagen 4-3 Man United

Arsenal vs Lens (21:00)

Speaking after the victory against Sevilla, Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice outlined why the Gunners were so impressive and what Lens can expect when they travel to London for this game. "High energy, at it from the start and full gas," he said. "We didn't let them breathe. I think they had one shot all game. All round, just a really good performance, especially with them sitting so deep and playing in a back five, which is always hard to break down." Lens did, of course, find the answers in the reverse fixture but their qualification hopes are now in the balance as they sit level on points with second-place PSV. "We are Lens, we have experience in the Champions League," said coach Franck Haise. "We still have two more matches to play, and we know what we need to do. We know how to handle that pressure."

Did you know?
Arsenal have scored two or more goals in each of their last 12 Champions League group stage matches at home.

Highlights: Arsenal 2-0 Sevilla

Real Madrid vs Napoli (21:00)

The Merengues are safely through to the round of 16 so there is an opportunity to shuffle their pack again for the final two games. Carlo Ancelotti did similar for their Matchday 3 triumph against Braga and he was quick to praise the likes of Brahim Díaz for taking their chance to impress. "Brahim had a good night and possibly deserved to stay on the pitch longer," he said. "He scored one, had another ruled out, did terrific defensive work. That's our strength: everyone in the squad contributes something." Napoli have changed coach since their 1-1 draw against Union Berlin on Matchday 4, Rudi Garcia being replaced by Walter Mazzarri. The 62-year-old won the Italian Cup during a previous spell in charge of the Partenopei from 2009-13.

Did you know?
Napoli have lost only two of their last 16 Champions League group stage matches (W10 D4).

Highlights: Real Madrid 3-0 Braga

Braga vs Union Berlin (21:00)

Braga are four points behind second-placed Napoli but defender José Fonte is not giving up hope of making the round of 16. "To be in the Champions League is already an achievement," he said. "We are growing but we still have something to say in this group. We have a home game we need to win and then fight for the best position with Napoli." Union broke a 12-game losing streak by drawing with Napoli on Matchday 4 but parted company with coach Urs Fischer on 15 November with the club rooted to the foot of the Bundesliga table. The Braga game will be Union's first under his replacement, Nenad Bjelica, who previously coached Austria Wien and Dinamo Zagreb boss in the Champions League.

Did you know?
Union Berlin have scored more than one goal in only one of their previous 13 UEFA club competition matches outside of Germany.

Highlights: Napoli 1-1 Union Berlin

Benfica vs Inter (21:00)

Casper Tengstedt summed up Benfica travails as they suffered a fourth group defeat at Real Sociedad last time out, saying: "It's not how we wanted it to go; we wanted to get into the knockout phase but now that's not possible. We will have to give everything we can to reach the Europa League." Inter are at the other end of the spectrum, having sealed their place in the last 16 with ten points from four games and Alessandro Bastoni believes their displays last season have set the tone for this term. "The final in Istanbul certainly taught us a lot," said the defender before picking up a knock. "We understood that if we remain united and compact, we can compete with everyone. The senior players made the new players understand what it means to play for Inter. We are mature."

Did you know?
Last season's final loss is Inter's only defeat in their last 11 Champions League matches (W7 D3).

Highlights: Salzburg 0-1 Inter

Real Sociedad vs Salzburg (21:00)

The home side will battle it out with Inter for top spot in the section after also sewing up a last-16 spot on Matchday 4 and midfielder Mikel Merino says Salzburg can expect the same ruthlessness as La Real showed Benfica. "More of the same!" he said. "A team that wants to win every single game, every single ball, every battle. That's our mindset; our mentality is to approach every game with the right attitude. We are confident in our capabilities and in our capacities." With only third place available now, Salzburg have had to re-assess their goals. "Reaching the Europa League is now our target," said midfielder Mads Bidstrup. "We can still do something very nice in the last two games, especially with our fans behind us."

Did you know?
Real Sociedad have won three successive Champions League group matches for the first time. Prior to this sequence they were on a run of 11 group games without a win.

Highlights: Real Sociedad 3-1 Benfica
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