Manchester City know that victory in Dortmund on Tuesday night will see them into Europe’s secondary club competition, although whether Roberto Mancini actually wants to be involved in this tournament is another matter.
Meanwhile, Arsenal will be playing in the last sixteen although Arsene Wenger is feeling the pressure at the Emirates Stadium following Saturday’s 2-0 home reverse against Swansea and he will perhaps rest key players for the team’s trip to Greece.
Borussia Dortmund v Manchester City 19.45
It’s back to the drawing board for City who have been unable to win any of their three Group D games at the Etihad this season and those trio of home draws have essentially prevented the Citizens from reaching the last sixteen for the second season running.
The Manchester club are rock bottom of their section although trail Ajax by just a point and have a chance to book their place in the last 32 of the Europa League by winning at Signal Iduna Park, although it remains to be seen what team Mancini will field for what he might see as a dead rubber.
City are an 11/5 chance (bet365) to claim their first and last Champions League victory of the season, with Mancini likely to be more concerned about Sunday’s match against Manchester United which could see the champions of England draw level with their arch-rivals.
That could mean Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli are fielded in attack after the pair were on the bench for Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Everton, with Aguero available at 8/1 to score the first goal of the game.
As for Dortmund, they might also look to rest players considering they are through to the knockout stage and the difference between finishing top and second might be negligible, especially as they are guaranteed to miss Real Madrid at the last sixteen phase.
Ladbrokes go 6/5 that the German side claim victory and they played City off the park in the reverse fixture before the scoreline finished 1-1, with Jürgen Klopp’s team having drawn 1-1 at Bayern Munich on Saturday in a pulsating match between the top two teams in the Bundesliga.
Olympiakos v Arsenal 19.45
The Gunners are into the knockout stage of the Champions League once again, although all is not well at the Emirates Stadium, with the natives making their feelings known on Saturday after Arsenal served up a miserable performance that saw them lose 2-0 to a better Swansea team.
Arsene Wenger has achieved a great deal for this football club, although it’s now getting to the stage where the majority of supporters would like to see a change in management and it will be interesting to see whether the Frenchman gives first team players for this trip to Greece.
Arsenal are the 6/4 favourites (bet365 £200 free bets) to win at the Karaiskakis Stadium although their mid-table position in the Premier League is clearly unacceptable to the majority of fans and Saturday’s game at West Brom has taken on added importance.
Olivier Giroud, Tomas Rosicky and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all likely to be included in the starting line-up after appearing as second-half subs at the weekend, with Giroud having scored eight goals since arriving from Montpellier and he’s 8/1 to score the first goal of the game.
Olympiakos are guaranteed to be playing in the last 32 of the Europa League after beating Montpellier home and away, while they were close to securing a point away to Schalke in their last match having lost 3-1 at the Emirates back in September.
Leonardo Jardim’s team are 2/1 to claim victory and dent the confidence of their opponents even further, although Arsene Wenger will be glad to see the back of the Champions League until February and ensure that his team can regroup on the domestic front in the meantime.