Champions League preview

03 November 2009 11:10
// A bit of a hack but it works// The article snippet is wrapped onto a second line, even when #article-sub is emptyif( $("div#article-sub").children().length == 0 ) {$("div#article-sub").remove();} Chelsea and Manchester United can book their place in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League with victories on Tuesday night.

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Chelsea travel to Atletico Madrid with one foot already in the next phase having continued their 100 per cent start to their Group D campaign with a 4-0 home victory over the Spanish side last time out.

That heavy defeat proved to be the final straw for under-pressure boss Abel Resino after a dismal start in domestic and continental competition, with the axe falling just days later and Quique Sanchez Flores appointed in his place.

Flores faces a tall order if he is to prolong Atletico's involvement in the tournament as they have just one point from their opening three games and are yet to trouble the scorers, while Chelsea's defence is still to be breached.

Porto are the favourites to join Carlo Ancelotti's men in the last 16 of the tournament ahead of their trip to Cyprus to tackle APOEL Nicosia, with the Portuguese club easing to a 2-1 home success over their opponents two weeks ago.

CrucialManchester United have secured single-goal victories in all three of their Group B outings and would accept a similar margin of success as CSKA Moscow travel to Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson's men, who lifted the trophy in 2008 and were beaten finalists in 2009, know another three-point haul will see them secure progress with two games to spare.

And with Sunday's crucial Premier League tussle at Chelsea looming large on the horizon, both Ferguson and Ancelotti will be eager to be able to switch their focus to domestic matters immediately after their midweek outings.

Second place in Group B remains up for grabs, with German champions Wolfsburg currently in pole position as they prepare for their reverse fixture against bottom club Besiktas, having drawn 0-0 at home to the Turkish club two weeks ago.

AC Milan's home meeting with Real Madrid is the headline encounter in Group C as the two most successful sides in the history of Europe's premier club competition go head-to-head once again.

Leonardo's men stunned Santiago Bernabeu as Pato's brace, which included the winner two minutes from time, saw the Serie A side overtake Manuel Pellegrini's men at the top of the standings with a thrilling 3-2 success.

AbsentCristiano Ronaldo is again absent through injury but team-mate Kaka will be the centre of attention on his return to the San Siro following his big-money summer switch to Spain.

Marseille play host to Swiss side FC Zurich in Group C's other fixture with both sides retaining hopes of edging out one of the European heavyweights to sneak through, with the French club edging a 1-0 success over Tuesday night's rivals in their recent clash.

Bordeaux will book their place in the knockout stage if they can secure back-to-back successes over Bayern Munich following their eventful 2-1 triumph against the German heavyweights, in a match which saw two red cards for the visitors and two missed penalties from the hosts.

Defeat at home for Bayern would leave them on the brink of an early exit from the competition with second-placed Juventus travelling to Group A whipping boys Maccabi Haifa.

The Israeli outfit have nothing to show from their opening three fixtures and are yet to find the net in a testing European campaign to date, with Juve's defence having been breached just once, although they have been less than prolific themselves.

Source: SKY_Sports