United and Barca look to secure qualification

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Updated: November 6, 2012

Barcelona and Manchester United need only a point when they come off the field after Wednesday nights games, in order to qualify for the next stage of the Champions League. Wednesday night sees groups E-H take to the field with big names like Valencia, Bayern, Chelsea and Juventus all looking to scrap out wins, and enhance their chances of reaching the knock out stages.

In Group E, Chelsea face Shakhtar, looking for revenge following their loss to the Ukrainian champions. Chelsea only managed a share of the points domestically this weekend against Swansea, and with United winning they no longer occupy top spot in the Premiership. Shakhtar continue on a rich vein of form with another win in their domestic league. They current sit top of not only Group E, but also of the Ukrainian League with maximum points from 14 games. Also in the same group, Juventus are at home in Turin against Nordsjaelland. The Serie A Champions will be disappointed that they lost their 49 match unbeaten run to Inter Milan on the weekend, and following 9 consecutive draws in Europe, to stand any chance of advancing to the knock out stages, they must win.

In Group F, Lille remain pointless, much like their play, while Valencia, BATE and Bayern are all locked on 6 points in a tight group. BATE are in Valencia, knowing that their record in Spain is shocking. They have lost all 7 encounters in Spain, failing to score in the last 6, and also conceding 17 goals. It would be unfair to compare them with those stats, as they have performed well above expectations so far this season. Valencia will be in a confident mood following their demolition of an in form Athletico Madrid on the weekend, Saldado again finding the back of the net. Bayern host Lille already having beaten them 1-0 in France. The Bavarians are in top form following only 1 loss in the Bundesliga so far this season. This weekend they thrashed in form Hamburg 3-0, and are in prime touch coming into the game on Wednesday.

Group G, features unbeaten Barcelona at Celtic and Moscow at Benfica. Celtic put on a brave performance at the Camp Nou in the last round, and should have come away with the draw if it wasn’t for a Jordi Alba 94th minute goal. Benfica are bottom of the group with only a point, a win for the Portuguese and a loss for Celtic will make the group very interesting.

Group H, sees United at Braga, a tricky tie for the former champions. They had to come from behind at Old Trafford to get the points with Hernandez to thank for that. A point will be sufficient for Manchester to progress, an achievement that eluded them last year. Bottom of the table Galatasaray are away to second placed Cluj. The Turkish champions have not taken three points on their travels in the competition since September 2002, when they prevailed 2-0 at PFC Lokomotiv Moskva. Since then they have lost 8 of 9 away games, a record they will want to put right tonight. If they manage it, they will remain alive.

Here are the odds for Wednesday nights games.

Chelsea 11/12 v Shakhtar Donetsk 11/4

Juventus 1/7 v Nordsjaelland 16/1

Valencia 1/4 v BATE 11/1

Bayern Munich 2/11 v Lille 14/1

Celtic 17/2 v Barcelona 3/10

Benfica 5/9 v Spartak Moscow 5/1