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Champions League Wednesday

Chelsea, Bayern and Arsenal could secure qualification for second round while Milan and Madrid prepare to duke it out.

Milan v Real Madrid

It’s José’s return to Milan, and the Rossoneri are on a bad patch of form, having lost their first league match of the season at the weekend against Juventus. Massimo Oddo is injured for Milan. Real, though, have never won at the San Siro and Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri says that tonight will be a tough battle for Real. “Madrid always had good teams,” says Allegri, “but never won here. It’s because it’s difficult: simple as that. But I’m sure that Milan are worried”

Mourinho seemed to be more keen to play down the importance of the tie, also saying that he believes Milan can bounce back from Saturday’s defeat. “When a top team loses, they rarely lose two in a row so I think they will be stronger than Saturday. They will be more focused, and there’s more pressure on them, but not that much as this game is not decisive.”

Chelsea v Spartak Moscow

Chelsea could seal their progression to the second round of the Champions League with a win at Stamford Bridge tonight, but are missing on-form Florent Malouda along with Jose Bosingwa and Yossi Benayoun. The Blues will welcome back Didier Drogba though- the Ivorian striker is poised to make his first appearance in this year’s competition. Ramires could also feature after recovering from an ankle injury.

Spartak have their own injury problems, with star striker Ari out. The Brazilian is suffering from a thigh injury, meaning that much of the creative side of the Russian side will depend on the performance of Aiden McGeady.

Shakhtar Donetsk v Arsenal

A hamstring injury means Arsenal are without Cesc Fabregas for tonight’s away tie against Ukrainian Champions  Shakhtar Donetsk. Alex Song, Andrei Arshavin and Denilson are all also unavailable. Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott should both be available, but Arsenal’s problems don’t end with injuries. Shakhtar manager Mircea Lucescu claims that the Gunners benefited from biased refereeing during their 5-1 win over the Ukrainians in the Emirates last month.

“We have been waiting impatiently to play Arsenal at home. That final score [in London] was not fair” said former Romanian international Lucescu. Arsenal have never won in Ukraine, losing three and drawing one of their previous matches there. A win would ensure progression from Group H.

CFR Cluj v Bayern Munich

Bayern are another side who could qualify for the next round with a win tonight after winning all six of their fixtures in group six so far. Cluj need a win though- they are level on points with Roma and Basel. Bayern manager Louis Van Gaal was understandably optimistic ahead of the match, saying “we are very confident – we’re not even considering the possibility of losing.”

The match has been somewhat overshadowed though, by a feud between Van Gaal and club president Uli Hoeness. Hoeness went on German TV on Saturday night and attacked Van Gaal’s managerial skills. Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummennigge added admitted that the situation was proving increasingly difficfult to diffuse.

Louis van Gaal is not very happy as you can imagine. I hope that a solution can be found to end the dispute. We will deal with it promptly. The important thing is that you keep talking to each other, instead of about each other.


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