It’s do or die for some teams as clubs lay it all on the line to earn qualification to the knockout phase. Here’s our best picks for Matchday 11 of the UCL.
Benfica v Basel
Swiss champions Basel have proven in the past their ability to play above their weight in Europe and they’ve done it again this season, with a win on the final day assuring them qualification to the knockout phase.
As for their opponents, well, there’s no way around it, Benfica have been atrocious this UCL campaign. They have lost all five of their matches, scoring just one goal and conceding 12. Basel should walk into the Estadio de Luz full of confidence, not only because of the home side’s poor record, but the ease of which they took them apart in the reverse fixture (5-0).
Basel do have a few injury concerns but they get inspirational midfielder Taulant Xhaka back from suspension. The Swiss side are undefeated in their past seven away matches and have remarkably scored four goals in each of their last two away matches.
Back Basel to add to the hapless Benfica’s woes and secure their passage to the next round.
Prediction: Basel to win @ $2.40
Celtic v Anderlecht
Anderlecht head to Glasgow with one task in mind – beat Celtic by more than three goals.
That is certainly easier said than done given they’ve lost all five their UCL matches this campaign including a 3-0 hammering at the hands of Celtic in Belgium.
To make matters worse for the Belgium champions, they haven’t won away in Europe in their past 13 matches and this campaign they are yet to register a goal on their travels.
Celtic were destroyed by PSG in their last outing in this competition but their last home match they performed very admirably in their narrow 2-1 loss to Bayern.
Anderlecht’s need to score goals in order to snatch that final Europa League spot will leave them vulnerable at the back and that will play straight into the hands of the home side, who in Leigh Griffiths and the speedy Moussa Dembele, have the players to hurt the away side on the counter.
Prediction: Celtic to win @ $1.85