In this post betting tips and previews of the fifth round of Champions League group stage matches. Groups A and B:
Shakhtar Donetsk - Real Madrid, Malmo - PSG, Astana - Benfica and Porto - Dynamo Kyiv.
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SHAKHTAR DONETSK - REAL
- Shakhtar are without key defenders Olexandr Kucher and Darijo Srna for the welcome of Real Madrid, with Ivan Ordets and Vasili Kobin expected to deputise in their absence.
- Maksym Malyshev is a doubt for the Ukrainian outfit, though is their only injury concern.
- Sergio Ramos and Marcelo both miss out for the Spanish side here, with Pepe and Alvaro Arbeloa tipped to come into the starting XI.
- Casemiro may also start, with Rafa Benitez keen to avoid another upset following the 4-0 defeat to Barcelona.
- Karim Benzema could drop out of the XI as a result, with Cristiano Ronaldo spearheading the Madrid offensive.
Real Madrid have kept a clean sheet in 11 of their last 14 matches in the Champions League (including qualifiers).
Real Madrid are undefeated in 27 of their last 30 matches in the Champions League (including qualifiers).
There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Real Madrid's last 3 games in the Champions League (including qualifiers).
- Shakhtar need a win this one if they are to improve their chances of progressing to the next round of the Champions League. They will be keen to avenge the 4-0 thumping receieved at the Bernabeu earlier in the Champions League campaign.
- Madrid will be looking to bounce back following back-to-back league defeats. Saturday's defeat at the hands of Barcelona should provide enough motivation to return to winning ways in Ukraine.
- Shakhtar are unlikely to bend over backwards for their Spanish counterparts, but Madrid have the quality to secure the win.
AWAY WIN (1.95 Matchbook)
OVER 2.5 (1.60 Matchbook)
REAL MADRID DOUBLE CHANCE + OVER 1.5 (1.36 Matchbook)
MALMO - PARIS SAINT GERMAIN
- Kari Arnason is suspended for the hosts, meaning Felipe Carvalho should start at centre-back for Malmo.
- Zlatan Azinovic and Guillermo Molins will both miss out through injury.
- Nikola Djurdic and Pa Konate are about doubts for the home side in this one.
- David Luiz is suspended for PSG, meaning Marquinhos will likely partner Thiago Silva at the heart of the defence.
- The French side are without injured quartet Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore, Serge Aurier and Marco Verratti, with Gregory Van der Wiel and Adrien Rabiot set to come into the side.
- Edinson Cavani and Angel De Maria should flank Zlatan Ibrahimovic in attack.
- Malmo currently foot Group A and need a win in this one if they are harbour any hopes of securing a place in the next round of the Champions League. The Swedish side lost just 2-0 in Paris in the first meeting between these two in the group.
- PSG need only to avoid defeat in this one and to hope Shakhtar slip up against Real Madrid for them to progress to the last-16 stages of the competition. However, Laurent Blanc will be keen to oversee a win in their quest to progress as group winners.
- The French side battled to a 2-1 win at the weekend and they may have to do similar here.
AWAY WIN + OVER 1.5 (1.40, Sporting Bet)
OVER 2.5 (1.70, Sporting Bet)
ASTANA - BENFICA
- Baurzhan Dzolchiev is suspended for the home side, with Aleksey Shchetkin expected to start in his absence.
- Nemanja Maksimovic is a doubt as Astana, but should be fit to start.
- Nicolas Gaitain misses out for Benfica here following his red card against Galatasaray last time out, with Eduardo Salvio likely to come into the starting XI.
- Nelsinho and Luisao are both sidelined for the Portuguese team, with Silvio and Lisandro Lopez expected to feature in their absence.
There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Benfica's last 3 games in the Champions League (including qualifiers).
FC Astana have failed to win their last 5 matches in the Champions League (including qualifiers).
- Astana have failed to win any of their opening four Champions League matches and need a win here in order to keep their hopes of progressing to the knockout stages alive. The two points they have gained have come in front of their own fans, however, so should be confident of a positive result in this one.
- Benfica currently top Group C having taken nine points from a possible 12 so far. Their only defeat came away at Galatasaray, but they secured a win at Atletico Madrid earlier in the campaign and they have what it takes to secure all the spoils.
- The hosts will press early on in the hope of upsetting the odds, but benfica should win here.
AWAY WIN (1.65, PaddyPower)
PORTO - DYNAMO KYIV
- Porto also have a clean bill of health for this fixture and will name their strongest XI.
- Danilo and Maxi Pereira are a booking away from a ban.
- Dynamo Kiev still have a chance of progressing through to the next stage of the competition and can field their strongest XI here.
- Vitorino Antunes and Vitaliy Buyalskiy will incur a suspension with their next bookings.
Porto are undefeated in 15 of their last 16 matches in the Champions League (including qualifiers).
There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 6 of Porto's last 7 games in the Champions League (including qualifiers).
Porto have scored at least 2 goals in 6 of their last 7 matches in the Champions League (including qualifiers).
- Porto are 20 games unbeaten in all competitions since losing to Bayern in the Champions League last season and are favourites to top the group. They hold a three point lead over Chelsea with two games remaining and will meet the Premier League champions in their final outing.
- Dynamo Kiev have kept a clean sheet in 16 of their 22 games in all competitions this season so they will be no pushovers here. They can still overtake Chelsea into second place, but they will realistically have to triumph here. They drew 2-2 with Porto in the reverse fixture, but could struggle against them here.
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