UCL Wednesday: A Look Ahead

Aguero (Reuters Pictures)

If the results from two weeks ago are any indication, Wednesday's UEFA Champions League matches will be must-see TV.

Whether it was Manchester United squeaking past little-known Otelul Galati, Manchester City dramatically taking three points off Villarreal with Sergio Aguero's stoppage-time goal, Real Madrid putting on an attacking clinic against Lyon or Bayern Munich and Napoli taking each others' best shots and settling for a draw, the last round of UCL games provided plenty of entertainment.

With the clubs shifting to different sites, all of those matchups will be happening again as part of the day's full slate of action.

Here's a closer look at Wednesday's UCL matches:

Manchester United vs. Otelul Galati (3:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel)

The Red Devils escaped their last meeting against upstart Otelul Galati with Wayne Rooney tallying twice from the penalty spot, and they'll need to rely on their depth to come away with the full three points at Old Trafford. Nemanja Vidic is suspended for the red card he received in that last match, and Ryan Giggs, Ashley Young, Tom Cleverley and Chris Smalling are all out with injuries.

Villarreal vs. Manchester City (3:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Plus/FoxSoccer.tv)

Sergio Aguero played hero when the two clubs met a couple of weeks ago, and with City trailing Bayern Munich and Napoli in Group A, the visitors will be looking for Aguero to strike again in Spain, where he starred for Atletico Madrid prior to transferring to England. Villarreal is without the injured Giuseppe Rossi, which could make keeping pace with City's potent attack a much more difficult task.

Lyon vs. Real Madrid (3:45 p.m., Fox Deportes/FoxSoccer.tv)

Madrid made quick work of Lyon in their last meeting, putting the club's traditional struggles against the French power in the past with a thorough 4-0 beating. A win would clinch a spot in the knockout round for Madrid, which will be without the injured Kaka, Marcelo and Alvaro Arbeloa for the meeting.

Bayern Munich vs. Napoli (3:45 p.m., FoxSoccer.tv/DirecTV)

There should be plenty of fireworks in Germany as the top two teams in the Group of Death and two of the more lethal attacking clubs in the world square off with high stakes on the line. The clubs played to a spirited 1-1 draw in their recent meeting in Italy, with Napoli recovering from a slow start to equalize and hold the German power.

Inter Milan vs. Lille (3:45 p.m., FoxSoccer.tv/DirecTV)

For all of Inter's struggles this season, the club can put one foot in the knockout stage with a home victory over Lille, which has recovered from a slow start to get back into the think of things in Ligue 1. Things aren't going as well for the French champions in UCL play though, where the club has garnered just two points from its first three games and faces at the very least a must-draw situation on the road.

Trabzonspor vs. CSKA Moscow (3:45 p.m., FoxSoccer.tv/DirecTV)

Aside from APOEL Nicosia, Trabzonspor has been the story of the Champions League. Only in the tournament because Fenerbahce was banned because of a match-fixing scandal, Trabzonspor can cement a spot in second place (and could potentially take first with a with an Inter loss) with a win over its Russian opposition. Both are level on four points, but CSKA Moscow holds the edge in goal differential.

Benfica vs. FC Basel (3:45 p.m., FoxSoccer.tv/DirecTV)

The Portuguese side controls its own destiny as it sits two points clear of United atop the Group C table. Benfica took a 2-0 result off Basel in Switzerland in their last meeting and can deal a detrimental blow to Basel's hopes of advancing with a similar showing at the Estadio da Luz on Wednesday.

Ajax vs. Dinamo Zagreb (3:45 p.m., FoxSoccer.tv/DirecTV)

Ajax is in a great position, playing against a point-less opponent while its chief competition for second place, Lyon, goes up against Real Madrid. The Dutch power needs to take all three points from this matchup to feel secure about its chances to advance. If it slips up at home, then the remaining matches against Lyon and Madrid become all the more pressure-packed.

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How do you see Wednesday's UCL matches playing out? Do you think Trabzonspor will advance to the knockout stage? See any big upsets happening?

Share your thoughts below. 

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9 Responses to UCL Wednesday: A Look Ahead

  1. Judging Amy says:

    Damn you Google ads and your accurate targeting. You know I’m at work, you know I love pizza and you know I’m cheap. Hence the $5 carryout lunch deal from Dominos that ends at 2.

  2. ryan says:

    Fox Soccer continues to pick the worst game of the day to show.

  3. Kevin_Amold says:

    Agreed. I would have that FSC would jump to broadcast either Bayern-Napoli or Villarreal-City. Guess not.

  4. NATO says:

    I wanna see Clint Dempsey on a CL team come next summer. Is Napoli or PSG or Schalke still interested in him?

  5. SackofwinE says:

    Seriously..Otelul Galati? Only Galati I know is Sunil. This game means nothing to me. And the Comcast network in Philly is showing Real vs. Lyon too which probably won’t be bad but I’d rather see the City match. They have been the funnest team to watch this year for me.

  6. bryan says:

    i love it when the company i work for has an ad pop up. yeah, no sh!t google ads!

  7. NATO says:

    is it just me or is Community the funniest show on tv?

  8. RK says:

    More bad news for Villarreal; Bruno out because of “gastroenteritis vĂ­rica” (I’m sure you can translate). Replaced by a B team player.

  9. RK says:

    And the starting forward, Joselu, is also from the B team. VCF is going to get ripped.