Champions League Group Stage 2 (Wednesday): Barcelona Host Inter In The Group Of Death

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Another day of Champions League excitement as Wag is here to give you the winners before you turn on the television for Wednesday’s fixtures!

Wednesday’s games strike eye-candy for our viewing pleasure as the group of death, Group F, will have Barcelona at home against Serie A leaders Inter Milan. Liverpool looks for their first Champions League points against a fiery Salzburg team, and Valencia looks to transfer their momentum from Stamford Bridge into a visiting Ajax team in their second fixture of the Champions League. Here are your lines.

One of the best things about the Champions League is how the competition is played during the week. What is even better about that is we get two days full of football in the middle of the week. For us football fanatics, the weekend just isn’t enough and now that Uefa will introduce a third European competition makes my pants grow. Football just keeps getting better.

Lille vs. Chelsea

PREVIEW
Lille and Chelsea suffered defeats in their first group fixture making this matchup more meaningful. Valencia came into Stamford Bridge and stunned the Blues with a 1-0 defeat that saw Chelsea struggling in front of net. 22 shots were taken as none found the net compared to Valencia’s 8 shots. It’s safe to say Chelsea is looking to murder the french team of Lille who had no answer when they traveled to Ajax. Lille was out possessed against Ajax but looked very strong when Ajax lost possession of the ball, running down Ajax throats. But Lille pushed too far up in the second half which cost them a 3-0 defeat against the Dutch champions.

KEY STATS

  • Chelsea won 7 of last 12 away CL group matches
  • Lille are winless in 8 home CL matches
  • Chelsea have never lost 3 CL matches in a row

PREDICTION

Lille has scored a goal in their last 3 fixtures since losing to Ajax 3-0, but only see one of those games to a victory. Chelsea had a strong showing against Liverpool after suffering their defeat to Valencia and have cruised through their other two fixtures heading to prepare them heading into Lille. I love the Chelsea money line in this because Chelsea has never lost 3 champions league fixtures consecutively. Lille having home struggles in the Champions League puts the cherry on top!

Zenit vs. Benfica

PREVIEW
Benfica looks to bounce back against Zenit after losing to a hot RB Leipzig side. Although it was an evenly contested fixture, Timo Werner is unstoppable once he scores a goal. Clearly, this is for every player, but when Werner scores a goal he turns into a different kind of beast that is hard to tame. Hence why Benfica conceded two goals within 10 minutes by Werner. Zenit tied their fixture with Lyon which the Russian side could deem as a moral victory because Lyon was all over Zenit. Zenit’s keeper Lunyov had a night to remember but wishes that night could be capped off with 3 points if he saved Lyon’s penalty.

KEY STATS

  • There has never been a draw between these two clubs (6 fixtures, 3 wins each)
  • Zenit won 4 of last 5 CL home matches
  • Benfica lost 6 of last 7 CL away matches

PREDICTION
This game is a doozy to predict, but the home teams found more success in the first set of games of the group stages. They are teams that I do not have a full understanding of as of yet. The Over has been very popular in the Champions League, and I’m looking for another high scoring week from all teams. But for this game, in particular, the Over is a winning bet.

Barcelona vs. Inter Milan

PREVIEW
Struggling Barcelona are playing at home as surprising Serie A leaders Inter Milan are coming into Catalan territory. Barcelona held their own against a Dortmund team poised to get a result at home, but Ter Stegen came to the rescue saving a Reus penalty in the second half. Dortmund was offensively more dangerous recording 13 shots and looked more creative than Barcelona. Messi’s groin injury can’t be pointed at fault if the Catalans struggle against Inter who also struggled against Slavia Prague. The struggle bus is full in this matchup. Prague almost squeaked a result away at Inter until a 93rd-minute goal from Barella saved Inter from total embarrassment.

KEY STATS

  • Barcelona lost 1 of last 9 CL matches vs. Inter
  • Barcelona won 29 of last 32 CL matches at home
  • Inter lost last 2 away CL matches

PREDICTION
Barcelona, Barcelona, Barcelona, Barcelona, Barcelona. This is one of those fixtures where the personnel don’t really matter. It’s two historic clubs going at it and the history clearly favors the Catalans. Even though Messi is absent, they still have ‘the next best thing’ in Ansu Fati. Either way, Barcelona, Barcelona, Barcelona, Barcelona.

Valencia vs. Ajax

PREVIEW
The Dutchmen of Ajax travel south to visit a Valencia team who is poised to take charge of Group H. Valencia traveled to Chelsea where they were dominated but were able to expose Chelsea at their weakest point, set pieces. Rodrigo scored the lone goal. Co-group leaders Ajax scrunched up Lille and put them in their back pocket with an easy 3-0 win. Ajax looks more like Barcelona the more they play, and with some key players missing from last year’s run, Ajax is looking strong and are sticking to their philosophy.

KEY STATS

  • Third total meeting between the 2 clubs (1-1 draw in each match)
  • Valencia has never lost to a Dutch team in CL
  • Ajax lost 11 of last 13 CL matches vs. Spanish teams

PREDICTION
I gotta say I love Ajax in this game. They are on the road to becoming one of those teams that provide impressive football game in and game out. Valencia has not been the cleanest looking team in the La Liga as of late tying last-place Leganes and Getafe CF, but squeaked out a result against Bilbao. It’s safe to say that Ajax is the winner in this matchup!

RB Leipzig vs. Lyon

PREVIEW
In form Timo Werner and his Leipzig team host the french footballers of Lyon as they go head-to-head in their second Champions League fixture. Leipzig had a strong showing against Benfica in their first Champions League match. With the help of Timo Werner’s brace, Leipzig is on top of Group G. Lyon had Zenit come over as they played out to a 1-1 draw. There wasn’t really much to the game besides the fact that Lyon was more dominant controlling the speed of play, but was trigger happy. Meaning they were shooting the ball with a low probability of hitting the target. It proved ineffective as the lone goal Lyon scored was a penalty kick.

KEY STATS

  • When Leipzig plays a French team, 3.8 goals are scored per match
  • Lyon won 1 in last 8 matches vs. German teams
  • Lyon are unbeaten in last 5 away games in CL Group stage

PREDICTION
Leipzig is on my radar for this fixture. Their recent form in the Bundesliga is showing their dominance, besides losing to Schalke at home 3-1 over the weekend. However, in the Europa cup last year Leipzig struggled to get goals on the board. they even lost 3-2 at home against sister club Red Bull Salzburg. I’m confident Leipzig is going to win this game, but in case of a draw pick the Under.

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