Champions League Preview: All to Play For on Matchday 4

Celtic – Bayern Munich (Tuesday, October 31 at 19:45 BST)

A win for Bayern on Tuesday combined with Paris St. Germain avoiding defeat to Anderlecht will see the Bavarians qualify from Group B with two games to spare and go some way to wiping the disappointment of their loss in Paris on match day 2 from their minds.

They travel to Glasgow on the back of two very satisfying games with rivals RB Leipzig. They beat them in the DFB Pokal midweek and followed that with a 2-0 win Saturday to go top of the Bundesliga table for the first time this season.

Two weeks ago at the Allianz Arena, Bayern were able to stroll past the Hoops with a 3-0 win courtesy of goals from Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels, and Joshua Kimmich. The two sides have met in Scotland just once before, playing a 0-0 draw in the Champions League back in 2003, with Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić in the line-up that night.

Bayern will be without Robert Lewandowski, as he is being rested with a slight injury concern. With Kwasi Okyere Wriedt ineligible in the Champions League and Thomas Müller also injured, Bayern’s only known striker will be 18-year-old Manuel Wintzheimer.

Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic equaled their own British record of 62 domestic games without defeat when they drew at home to Kilmarnock at the weekend, but they look set to be without key winger Patrick Roberts, who limped out of that match with a hamstring injury.

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One to watch: Scott Sinclair

Signed by Manchester City in 2012, the winger’s career didn’t really take off there, but at Celtic he is getting back to the sort of form that made him one of the Premier League’s hottest properties a few years ago. He has the pace to trouble Bayern and has goals in him (he scored 21 in the league last season). Expect to see him pushing high up the field at Celtic Park to support striker Leigh Griffiths.

Porto – RB Leipzig (Wednesday, November 1 at 19:45 BST)

Leipzig’s debut Champions League win last time out at home to Porto has handed them a lifeline in Group G after opening with a draw and a loss. They know that a positive result at the Estádio do Dragão will keep them ahead of the Portuguese in the standings.

The Roten Bullen have suffered two successive defeats to Bayern Munich in league and cup and face a tough assignment away on Wednesday. Leipzig’s first Champions League away game saw them defeated in Turkey by Besiktas, who currently lead the group.

Sérgio Conceição’s side are unbeaten in ten Liga NOS games to start the season, winning nine. At the weekend, they notched-up a rather straightforward 3-0 away win at Boavista. They showed enough evidence on match day 3 that they could trouble the RB back line, so Ralph Hasenhüttl will have to get his tactics just right.

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One to watch: Vincent Aboubakar

Like Timo Werner at Leipzig, the 25-year-old Cameroon international striker has begun the season in fine form and already has eight league goals to his name. He scored in the return game at the Red Bull Arena taking his Champions League tally to three.

He’s powerful, yet athletic, intelligent in his hold-up play, and showing that perhaps this season will be the one where he finally delivers on the great promise he has shown.

Borussia Dortmund v APOEL (Wednesday, November 1 at 19:45 BST)

There was no shame, just a lot of disappointment in Dortmund’s opening group losses to Tottenham and Real Madrid, but the last game against APOEL was supposed to the one to get them going. The fact they left Cyprus with just one point was a massive let-down and means they really need to pull off something special if they are to make it to the knock-out stages.

The Schwarzgelben find themselves in a mini-slump right now. They lost at the weekend to Hannover conceding four goals in the process. It is almost unthinkable that they won’t emerge with all three points on Wednesday.

APOEL’s most-recent league match saw them held to a 1-1 draw away at Ethnikos Achnas, leaving them 8th in the league and a full eleven points adrift of leaders AEK Larnaca.

APOEL coach Giorgos Donis is the father of VfB Stuttgart striker Anastasios.

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One to watch: Efstathios Aloneftis

The left-sided attacker is an inventive player, who has the flair and touch to trouble opposition defences if he hits top form. His pace and technique are his top qualities and German football fans may remember him from the season he played with Energie Cottbus back in 2007-08.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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