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Champions League preview - Wednesday's games

After Tuesday’s misfiring Mancunians the Champions League focus switches to the capital as Chelsea and Arsenal make their bids to reach the knock out stages, plus there’s a big game to look forward to in Italy.

Group E – Bayer Leverkusen vs Chelsea:

Having made life difficult for themselves with a disappointing draw at Genk the Blues will be hoping for no more slip ups in Germany.

The task will be tough though and Leverkusen can draw level on points with a victory. Chelsea are at full strength minus long term absentee Michael Essien, a win will see them through, any sort of result would probably be very welcome given their recent run of form.

Group E’s other game is Valencia vs Genk, the home side will put themselves in with a good chance of qualification should they prevail.

Group F – Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund:

It looks a little more straightforward for the Gunners. Just a point will be enough for them to take their place in the knock out stages against the German champions, who have so far flattered to deceive in this year’s competition. But they can’t be underestimated especially after defeating Bayern Munich at the weekend.

The on form home side still have defensive injury worries but can finally welcome back Abou Diaby to the engine room, the prolific Robin van Persie will definitely start.

Elsewhere, Marseille will be expecting to seal their spot in the last 16 with a win at home to bottom side Olympiacos.

Best of the rest: Group H – AC Milan vs Barcelona:

This titanic tussle could change a lot regarding the destiny of this season’s Champions League.

Both teams have already qualified but Milan’s last minute equaliser in Barcelona means that a home win here will relegate the champions to the runners up spot in the group and a potentially mouth watering last 16 clash against a possibly English group winner.

Barca are without Andres Iniesta, Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be relishing the chance to put one over on his old club.

The group’s other clash is a Europa League decider between Bate Borisov and Viktoria Plzen.

Group G has been turned on its head so far. Favourites Porto are struggling for their Champions League future and along with tomorrow’s opponents Shakhtar Donetsk are powerless to do anything if the form of surprise leaders APOEL Nicosia and second placed Zenit St Petersburg is maintained.

By Phil Nicholas

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