Vavel's Gameweek 5 Champions League Predictions
MUNICH, GERMANY - OCTOBER 21: Robert Lewandowski of FC Bayern Muenchen (C) is challenged by Renan Lodi (L) and Felipe (R) of Atletico Madrid during the UEFA Champions League Group A stage match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Atletico Madrid at Allianz Arena on October 21, 2020 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by M. Donato/FC Bayern via Getty Images)

Welcome to the predictions for Gameweek 5 of the UEFA Champions League as we enter the final third of the group stage.

Chelsea and Manchester City have now qualified and the opportunity is there to make it an English clean sweep before the last round of fixtures. Both Manchester United and Liverpool will progress if they can win their midweek game. 

Alongside many other fascinating narratives as this phase of the competition reaches it's climax - why not have a look through my predictions below to wet your appetite ahead of a great week of football. 

 

  • Game of the week 

Group A - Atlético Madrid vs Bayern Munich: Tuesday 20:00, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano (ESPN HD) 

This match ticks all of the boxes needed for a Vavel 'Game of the week' in the Champions League. Not only is it a mouth watering clash between two teams of huge European pedigree, but also they are both at the top of their respective leagues and in fine form.

Add into that mix the vengeance Atlético will be seeking following their humiliating defeat to Bayern Munich earlier in the competition and also their need to get a result after failing to defeat Lokomotiv Moscow both home and away this is a crunch game for Diego Simeone.

In Bayern's case, they have already qualified as group winners so it will be intriguing to see if they go for a slightly rotated team. Coach Hansi Flick will be aware of the congested fixture schedule but also knows they may have the opportunity to knock out a fellow tournament contender. Due to Atlético's need to win this I am going to back them here.

Prediction: 2-1

  • Tuesday

Group A - Lokomotiv Moscow vs Red Bull Salzburg: 17:55 - RZD Arena (ESPN HD) 

The pressure for our game of the week can certainly be amplified as our other game in Group A will have finished by the time Bayern and Atlético kick off. Lokomotiv have the opportunity to go second in the group temporarily at least if they are able to defeat Red Bull Salzburg. Despite being winless in four games so far, they have only lost narrowly to Bayern and have quietly impressed so far, a win would also secure Europa League football as a minimum. 

Salzburg's prospects may look slim but for a team with undoubted potential that have caused the big-hitters in their group problems this season they will be confident of picking up a result in Russia. If they are able to win here and pull off an unlikely win against Atlé​​​​​​​tico they will finish second in the group. All to play for, but I will back the home team's more impressive results in the competition to guide them through.

Prediction: 1-0 

Group B - Shakhtar Donetsk vs Real Madrid: 17:55 - NSK Olimpijs'kyj (BT Sport 1HD) 

The other early kick off on Tuesday night sees a repeat of the shock result from Gameweek 1, where a Covid-19 ridden Shakhtar Donetsk squad miraculously held on to defeat Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid. However, the fortunes of these teams have very much reversed since this tie. 

Shakhtar have aggregated an embarrassing 10-0 defeat to Borussia Mö​​​​​​​nchengladbach across two games and have dropped to third in their group. Having fallen behind Dynamo Kyiv in their domestic league and not scoring in Europe since Gameweek 1 it has been an almighty fall from grace in the group stage. 

Teams level on points at the end of the group stage are separated primarily by whoever has the superior head-to-head record. So despite Real Madrid losing 3-2 to Shakhtar in Gameweek 1 if they are able to better this result in Ukraine it will mean they will have qualified with a game spare. Following their back to back victories over Inter Milan I expect them to continue their good form. 

Prediction: 0-2

Group B -Borussia Mö​​​​​​​nchengladbach vs Inter Milan: 20:00, Stadion im BORUSSIA PARK (BT Sport Extra 2) 

 

Mönchengladbach, just wow. Yet despite subsequent, considerable hammerings of former UEFA Cup champions Shakhtar they could still be disappointed with their progress so far in the competition. Had they not thrown away two goal advantages versus Real and Inter they would have qualified by now. Instead they have a nervy finish to the group but if they avoid defeat in both of their games they should get through.

As for Inter Milan they have been one of the largest disappointments in this season's competition so far. An array of additions since last year's group stage elimination including Christian Eriksen and Achraf Hakimi yet have still been unable to banish their first round blues. Their hopes of qualification hang by a thread, needing to defeat Borussia and Shakhtar in their remaining two games and hope Real Madrid do the same. Assessing Inter coach Antonio Conte's torrid record in the competition and Borussia's form, I am backing Borussia to put Inter out of their misery.

Prediction: 2-0 

Group C - FC Porto vs Manchester City: 20:00, Estádio do Dragão​​​​​​​ (BT Sport 3HD) 

It looks set to be the case that FC Porto will be joining Manchester City in the round of sixteen having a six point advantage over Olympiakos in third and barring a defeat to them in the final gameweek as well as other results going against them they should be preparing for the knockouts. With a poor record at this stage in recent seasons the Manchester City game will provide the perfect platform to prepare more defensive tactics needed for them to shine in the knockouts. 

It will be a nice change for Man City boss Pep Guardiola who finally comes into a UCL game this season off the back of a win in the Premier League smashing five past Burnley  at the weekend just gone. Riyad Mahrez was particularly impressive getting a hat-trick and with that goalscoring form returning by and large do not expect City to let up here. 

Prediction: 0-3 

Group D - Liverpool vs Ajax: 20:00, Anfield (BT Sport 2HD) 

What an exciting tie this, Liverpool typical favourites for this fixture come into it on patchy form whilst on paper over the past six games Ajax are the most 'in-form team in Europe'. It has been a week to forget for Liverpool on the field with their defeat at home to Atalanta and a draw to Brighton and Hove Albion placing added pressure on the Reds. 

Ajax must take confidence from their form and the performance of Atalanta who recovered from a battering in Bergamo to comeback and outplay the six-time European champions at Anfield. Last week's mention Lassina Traore was in fine form scoring in Gameweek 4 and I expect him to be a threat again. Going for a score-draw.

Prediction: 2-2

Group D - Atalanta vs FC Midtjylland: 20:00, Gewiss Stadium (BT Sport Extra 3)

This time last week myself amongst many others raised serious doubts over Atalanta's ability to recover from a slump that has haunted them in the last month within a pandemic footballing environment. Well they have not quite done that yet despite overcoming Liverpool a home defeat to in-form Hellas Verona at the weekend still leaves their consistency in question. 

Sadly FC Midtjylland are one of the first teams to have been eliminated from the competition. They have given Ajax two good games and should not be taken lightly. It is always great to see a team of their stature enter the competition and I hope they can come away with at least one result. Sadly, I do think that is unlikely. 

Prediction: 3-1

  • Wednesday

Group E - FK Krasnodar vs Stade Rennais: 17:55, Stadion FK Krasnodar (ESPN HD)

The Wednesday action gets us underway with two teams who have already been eliminated from the Champions League but have the Europa League third spot all up for grabs. Drawing in their previous encounter and losing them all so far to Sevilla and Chelsea Wednesday's game in Russia may be overlooked by many but should provide a fiercely fought contest. 

FK Krasnodar could consider themselves unlucky after giving some good performances so far whilst Stade Rennais have struggled with the step up. I think with the home advantage and more threatening performances I am going to go for another Russian victory tonight. 

Prediction: 3-2

​​​​​​​Group E - Sevilla vs Chelsea: 20:00,  Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium​​​​​​​ (BT Sport 3HD)

The Europa League champions have struggled to make their mark in elite European competition but will be glad that they have comfortably qualified to the round of sixteen. Their next objective is to try and qualify in first place to have a favourable draw and this game will likely decide it. Sevilla made much lighter work of Krasnodar second time around and will look to continue that form. 

As for Chelsea it has also been plain sailing and a vast improvement in their defending has allowed them to race up the Premier League table. They were arguably the better side against Tottenham Hotspur Sunday afternoon and with the Blues on the front foot for much of the game I suspect they will have enough in the tank to narrowly come out on top.

Prediction: 0-1 

Group F - Borussia Dortmund vs Lazio: 20:00, Signal-Iduna-Park (BT Sport Extra 3) 

Another game with huge ramifications gets us started in Group F. Borussia Dortmund have looked sharp in the competition since losing to Lazio in their opening game and will be looking for  redemption in the evening clash. As strong as they are going forwards question marks remain surrounding their consistency having fallen defeat to FC Koln at the weekend where Erling Braut Haaland uncharacteristically missed an absolute sitter. 

Those question marks will linger over Lazio also who despite appearing to regain some form in recent weeks suffered a damaging defeat to Udinese on Sunday. Whilst Dortmund's strengths are very different to Udinese's I expect them to exact revenge for their opening gameweek defeat.

Prediction: 2-1 

Group F - Club Brugge vs Zenit St. Petersburg: 20:00, Jan Breydelstadion (BT Sport Extra 4)

Club Brugge will also be backing Dortmund to defeat Lazio on Wednesday as it may give them the opportunity to leapfrog them next week. However this will only be achievable if they defeat Zenit St. Petersburg. If they lose to the Russian side they will be out, there is no shame in losing to Dortmund twice and they must take comfort in their victory in the reverse fixture in Russia in Gameweek 1. 

It has been a very bleak campaign for Zenit who are already eliminated, they have a slim chance of reaching the Europa League but they must considerably improve their performances. Another disappointment for them has been the little impact had by Brazilians Wendel and Malcom who both arrived to much excitement. I will go for a draw in this one.

Prediction: 1-1

Group G - Juventus vs Dynamo Kyiv: 20:00, Allianz Stadium (BT Sport Extra 2) 

Juventus left it late to overturn their deficit last time out against Ferencvá​​​​​​​ros and face arguably a tougher test in Dynamo Kyiv this week. They were disappointing in a weekend draw against Benevento and the form of playmaker Paolo Dybala is really concerning. 

Whilst Dynamo are all but eliminated from the Champions League they will still have their sites set on third. Having usurped Shakhtar in the Ukranian league I think this could be a surprisingly balanced game. I expect Juve's firepower to carry them through, just.

Prediction: 1-0

Group G - Ferencvá​​​​​​​ros vs FC Barcelona: 20:00, Puskás Aréna (ESPN HD)

How disappointing it must have been for  Ferencvá​​​​​​​ros to fall away at the last minute last week. From their performances in Europe including their defeat of Celtic they will await the visit of Barcelona with the hope of pulling off the ultimate group stage upset. 

It has been an emotional for us all but especially Barcelona fans who are mourning the death of club icon Diego Maradona. It was a beautiful tribute from Lionel Messi as they put four past Osasuna at the weekend. Their performances have improved in the last couple of games and the improvement of Antoine Griezmann will be a huge boost.

Prediction: 0-2

Group H - İstanbul Başakşehir vs RasenBallsport Leipzig: 17:55, Başakşehir Fatih Terim Stadyumu (BT Sport 1HD)

İstanbul Başakşehir have been rather poor away from home in the competition but in Turkey it has been a different story. They held out Paris Saint Germain for a considerable time and defeated Man United. Although they were blown away in last time out by the latter, keep an eye out for Edin Višća, the Bosnian will be key to their hopes of coming away with anything from the game. 

RasenBallsport Leipzig cannot afford to suffer the same fate as Man United here. Desperately unlucky to lose to PSG they have a fight on their hands to qualify. Spain international Dani Olmo has been in fine form for them this season and you would think they will not repeat the same mistakes the Red Devils did. 

Prediction: 0-1

Group H - Manchester United vs Paris Saint Germain: 20:00, Old Trafford (BT Sport 2 HD) 

What an exciting game to round things off, the hosts provided us with a mesmerising comeback against Southampton at the weekend from a two goal deficit thanks to ex-PSG striker Edinson Cavani. He has surely earnt himself a starring role for this encounter against his former club and what a story it would be if he could repeat his heroics.

It is really crunch time for PSG and boss Thomas Tuchel  is under pressure. Failure to qualify may lead to his dismissal as his team have been very underwhelming this season. Summarised by their defeat to Girondins de Bordeaux at the weekend I think they have serious flaws in their team at the moment which are perfectly suited for Manchester United to exploit.

Prediction: 3-1

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