Liverpool, Ajax, Celtic and Fenerbahçe all have cause for concern as they head into their next UEFA Europa League game, while Borussia Dortmund and Napoli are purring.
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Celtic out to avert crisis talk
Kris Commons' angry reaction to being substituted during Celtic's 3-1 loss in Molde on matchday three was not the only upsetting outburst in the Hoops camp of late, with a training-ground clash between Emilio Izaguirre and Nadir Çiftçi adding to a sense of frustration around the club.
The 700 fans who braved the trip to Norway voiced their disapproval of Ronny Deila's side at full-time on matchday three. "It wasn’t acceptable from us," winger Gary Mackay-Stephen said. "We have to take it on the chin." Bottom of Group A, Celtic need to make amends now. "Do we expect to have to win three games?" said defender Dedryck Boyata. "Of course, but they are three difficult games."
Celtic v Molde, 19.00CET
Ajax stare elimination in the face
With Ajax, Fenerbahçe and Celtic all drawn in the same group, one big side was always going to end up disappointed in Group A, but Molde's unexpected successes have intensified the pressure on the big guns. Fernandão's late goal in Istanbul has left Ajax without a win in four European games, and Frank de Boer knows that another defeat might mean bowing out at after matchday six for the first time in four UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns. “The next home match against Fenerbahçe is crucial," he explained. "If you do not win at home, you get knocked out."
Ajax v Fenerbahçe, 19.00CET
Klopp drawing fire at Anfield
Three draws in his first three games as Reds coach was hardly the dynamic start Jürgen Klopp would have hoped for after taking charge of his new club; on matchday three, Liverpool looked skittish, only equalising against Rubin after the Russian side had been reduced to ten men. Their next challenge is to become the first English side to avoid defeat against Rubin in Kazan, where Wigan Athletic, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have all lost in the past – and, for Klopp, to put some steel into his side. "We conceded one goal and it felt like the end of the world – and it’s not the end of the world," he said after a 1-1 league draw with Southampton. "It's only a goal, you can always come back and that’s what we have to understand."
Rubin v Liverpool, 19.00CET
Dortmund sparkling under Tuchel
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's hat-trick on matchday three was Borussia Dortmund's third in their seven European games under Klopp's successor Thomas Tuchel, and as they prepare to take on Qäbälä at home, a fourth may be in the offing. The 42-year-old has Dortmund purring in Europe, and the players are enjoying working with the former Mainz coach. "Tuchel is making every one of us better," midfielder İlkay Gündogan said, with Marco Reus clearly benefitting after a shaky patch. "I just stayed calm and worked on my game," he said. "I knew it would come back if I continued to give full throttle."
Dortmund v Qäbälä, 19.00CET
Napoli want more from Higuaín
The top scorers in the group stage with 11 goals in their first three Group D games, Napoli hit another peak on matchday three, José Callejón and Manolo Gabbiadini scoring contenders for goal of the group stage as they beat Danish champions Midtjylland 4-1. Coach Maurizio Sarri is expectin even more from them – and especially from Gonzalo Higuaín, who scrambled in their fourth last time out.
"We have several champions upfront but Gonzalo is a class on his own," the Napoli coach said. "He is always happy and joking in training. He is in a very good run of form and is doing great things but I think he can still improve. He has reached only 80% of his potential. I'm sure he will be one of the most decisive strikers in the world."
Napoli v Midtjylland, 19.00CET
Lazio finding their feet
Lazio were a man down within six minutes of kick-off against newly-crowned Norwegian champions Rosenborg on matchday three but won 3-1 regardless to maintain their push for top spot in Group G. Felipe Anderson may be one to watch as they make the long trip north to Trondheim, the Brazilian having returned to goalscoring form of late. "I'm very happy with the goals but mostly because I am finally managing to help the team like everybody expected," he said. "People talk about me when I score goals but it's the strength of our group which is making the difference in Serie A and the UEFA Europa League."
Rosenborg v Lazio, 21.05CET
Lokomotiv steaming in
"I hate predictions," Lokomotiv coach Igor Cherevchenko said after his side's 1-1 draw at home against Beşiktaş on matchday three. "Three sides look to have a chance to advance to the next stage. The three fixtures could turn everything upside down."
The Railwaymen could qualify with a win in Turkey, but will be without captain Vedran Ćorluka for the game in Istanbul following his dismissal in the sides' first meeting. "It won't be easy to play without Corluka, but [Ján] Ďurica is match-fit again," noted Cherevchenko. "What happens, we will see after the Istanbul encounter."
Beşiktaş v Lokomotiv, 17.00CET
Lech looking lively as Viola visit
Misfiring Polish champions Lech Poznań travelled to Fiorentina on matchday three as the bottom side in the Ekstraklasa, with their 2-1 win in Italy one of the shock results of the group stage so far. Up to second in a tight Group I, Lech hope that feel-good factor can bring them another result against a Viola side who have been in good form domestically. "We started this season very badly, sinking to the bottom of the table, but recent results have changed everything," midfielder Karol Linetty explained. "Victories like the one against Fiorentina and [the 1-0 away success against] Legia give us enormous hope that we can still do something big."
Lech v Fiorentina, 21.05CET
European success gives Athletic strength
Athletic Club coach Ernesto Valverde knows his side took great strength from their 2-0 win at Partizan on matchday three, and is hoping that more of the same can help to get them rolling in the Liga too. "We need to win in the league," said the coach, a losing finalist in the UEFA Cup (1988) and UEFA Europa League (2007) as a player and coach at Espanyol. "We've drawn games we should have won, but the result against Partizan helped us restore faith in what we do. We will try to keep on the same path. We're in a low-mid table position and we want to be higher up than that."
Athletic v Partizan, 21.05CET