Tuesday: Juventus v. Atletico
In ten words: Simeon’s troops are back in Turin to take revenge and raise morale.
Atletico is a team like Diego Simeone. Atletico are proud of their Herculean pace of work and their inability to give anything, which earned them a 2-1 defeat in Leverkusen (2-0) last time, with midfielder Saul conceding victory: « They’re a very strong team physically. » Whether Cristiano Ronaldo is his arch-rivals or not, Atletico will be keen to put his muscles to work against Juventus and will not have forgotten how a 3-0 defeat in Turin derailed him in last year’s Round of 16. The Colchoneros may qualify for the Round of 16, but a win – psychological – would earn them more than three points.
Tuesday: Atalanta against Dinamo
In ten words: Is the Round of 16 of Dinamo, the club of the eternal outsiders, right for you?
After Dinamo lost a 3-1 lead in extra time against Shakhtar on Matchday 4, defender Dino Perić said: « I was depressed in the club’s chapel for 20 minutes. Tied with the Pitmen with five points, the Croatian champions know things could have been better, but with Shakhtar facing an impossible mission in Manchester City, it would be a good time for Nenad Bjelica’s men to win their first UEFA Champions League group stage victory at the 15th attempt. Dinamo struggled at this level, but their 4-0 win over Atalanta in the opening matchday helped them improve their chances of qualifying. There is no time to despair: a first shot for the Round of 16 remains in sight.
Wednesday: Barcelona against Dortmund
In ten words: Could the UEFA Europa League really be on the horizon for Barcelona?
Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen stopped at half-time and full time to congratulate the Slavia goalkeeper Ondřej Kolář Kolář for the extraordinary performance that allowed his team to draw 0-0 on Matchday 4, but if the Spanish media were not impressed, the situation could have been worse. A victory against Dortmund would erase any bad memories and allow the hosts to reserve their annual place in the final draw for the Round of 16. However, a draw or defeat combined with an Internazionale win could trigger a disaster scenario in San Siro on day 6. Barcelona have not missed the knockout phase since Lionel Messi joined the first team in 2004/05.
Wednesday: Genk v. Salzburg
In ten words: Can Haaland do more wonders and keep Salzburg in the running?
Salzburg coach Jesse Marsch described Erling Braut Haaland as « positive, energetic and electrifying » after the 19-year-old scored a hat-trick in the UEFA Champions League against Genk on the first day of the match. But the striker’s dream of making Salzburg « the new Ajax » and starting the competition this season could well come true if he does not win in Belgium. Liverpool host Naples in the other Group E match. If Salzburg loses points, both clubs are eliminated; if the Austrian defending champion wins, there may be even more suspense when he receives the European champion on Matchday 6.