It’s BACCKK! The greatest club competition in the world -the UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE– is back with the GROUP Stage of the competition to get us all back hooked on to mid-week football.
UEFA Champions League
Porto AH-1 to beat BATE Borisov @ 2.00 (Pinnacle) – 2.5 points
Porto head into this group game against BATE Borisov, knowing that they have to keep winning to put pressure on Shakhtar in order to take the top spot in their group to face an easier opponent in the next game. Porto come into this game with just 1 loss this season, against Sporting in the Portugese League; but have been on fire other since. The last meeting between the 2 sides saw Porto come away with a 6 goal victory and overall Porto have been 12 goals for and conceded only 3 this campaign.
The Porto offense could be too much for Borisov to handle with the likes of Brahimi, Jackson Martinez, Torres and Aboubakar. Defensively they can call on some experience heads such as Maicon, Martins Indi, Danilo and Sandro to provide some stability that has seen them also concede only 5 goals in the league.
While BATE have been the winners in their league for a number of years, it surely is a step up for them in class. They have played 4 games and conceded 19 goals with even teams like Shakhtar beating them on their own floor by a score of 7-0. Borisov’s only hope is for results to go their way and that they are able to get a result out of the game with Bilbao to get into the Europa League; but they surely don’t stand a chance in this game against Porto.
Barcelona AH-1.5 to beat APOEL @ 1.75 (Pinnacle) – 2.5 points
Barcelona had lost their mojo for a few games in the middle losing to PSG, Real Madrid and Celta Vigo. Now that they have their big 3 of Suarez, Messi and Neymar all fit and firing, they will be looking forward to a solid performance from their end. Barcelona turned on the magic this weekend beating Sevilla by a score of 5-1 with Messi grabbing a hat-trick; and he will be expected to turn the flavor on in this game. Suarez is playing his first Champions League game in many years as he represents Barcelona for the first time in this competition.
APOEL are an extremely defensive team, and have built a lot of their success over the years on this. They come into this game against Barcelona after keeping 2 successive clean sheets in the league; and will be hoping for a similar rock solid performance against the Catalans tonight. However, if we expect APOEL to get a win, that will be tough to expect. They have scored only 1 goal in the competition so far in a 1-1 draw with Ajax; so you can be sure they would probably rule out a chance of them pulling of an upset htere.
With both Ajax and PSG coming out of APOEL with results; Barcelona should expect to go there to grab a result, and I can imagine this attacking lineup not winning by at least 2 goals. Barcelona have the motivation of possibly topping the group should they grab a good result here ahead of their last game against PSG.