Preview: PSG, Chelsea look to advance in Champions League

AP , Monday 24 Oct 2022

A look at what's happening in the Champions League on Tuesday:

PSG s Neymar, centre, celebrates with Lionel Messi, left, and Kylian Mbappe, right, after scoring the opening goal during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille at the Parc des Princes in Paris, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022. AP


Chelsea hasn't failed to advance to the knockout stage since the 2012-13 season - when it was the defending champion - and would make it through to the last 16 again with a win at Salzburg. The Austrian champions are in second place, a point behind Chelsea, and can qualify themselves by beating the London club and if AC Milan fails to beat Dinamo Zagreb in the other match in the group taking place in the Croatian capital.


Already through to the round of 16, Real Madrid will be without some of its regular starters when it visits second-place Leipzig. Luka Modric, Karim Benzema and Federico Valverde were not included by coach Carlo Ancelotti to the squad making the trip to Germany. The defending champions, who can secure first place in the group, have won their last four away games in the group stage of the Champions League, all without conceding any goals. In the other group match, last-place Celtic hosts third-place Shakhtar Donetsk, which is one point behind Leipzig. Celtic has lost seven consecutive home games in the group stage, scoring only once in that stint.


Manchester City is already sure of advancing and just needs to avoid defeat at Borussia Dortmund, which is three points back in second place, to go through as group winner. A win would guarantee Dortmund a top-two finish and keep the race for first place alive heading into the final group games. Erling Haaland makes his return to his former club, as do Ilkay Gundogan and Manuel Akanji. Sevilla and FC Copenhagen are five points further back ahead of their meeting in Spain and both need to win to stand a chance of advancing. Sevilla has won only one of its last nine matches in all competitions. Copenhagen has failed to score in seven of its last eight Champions League matches.


On eight points each atop the group, Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica can both qualify for the knockout stage if they win their respective games. PSG hosts Maccabi Haifa without stalwart midfielder Marco Verratti, who is suspended, and injured midfielder Danilo Pereira. After back-to-back draws against Benfica, coach Christophe Galtier has switched to a different system _ a 4-3-1-2 formation _ for PSG's last two games. The change has helped the team's forwards play with more freedom of movement in their favorite zone, with Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi combining three times last week in the 3-0 win against Ajaccio. Benfica, which hosts Juventus, is coming off a win at rival Porto in the Portuguese league and is unbeaten in 19 matches in all competitions this season. It has won all three of its previous home games against Juventus, scoring twice in each of them.

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