The UEFA Champions League will see another top match between two European giants this week: Bayern Munich will face Xavi’s Barcelona on Wednesday.
Chelsea will be looking to secure top spot in UEFA Champions League Group H when they take on Zenit St. Petersburg.
Zenit St. Petersburg played to a 1-1 draw in their last Champions League match and have gone straight into the UEFA Europa League after the group stage. This is the third time in a row that the Russians have been eliminated in the group stage of Europe’s most elite competition.
Zenit is currently unbeaten in its last five matches in all competitions. In recent Russian Premier League matches, there was a 2-0 win against CSKA Moscow and a 2-2 draw against FC Rostov.
Zenit are top of the table and face second-placed Dynamo Moscow on Sunday. Sergei Semak’s men want to pull away from the chasing pack.
But first they want to make life as difficult for Chelsea FC as they did in the first Group H game at Stamford Bridge. Romelu Lukaku scored the winning goal for the Blues, but it could have been a very frustrating evening for Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Chelsea looked a little shaky in recent weeks. Some glaring individual mistakes have caused them to falter. In their last Premier League game against London rivals West Ham, they gave away a one-goal lead and lost 3-2 on Saturday.
They led 2-1 at halftime, but the Hammers hit back and Chelsea were simply overwhelmed in the second 45 minutes. Tuchel is hoping for a reaction from his team, which has slipped to third place in the Premier League table.
Zenit St Petersburg vs Chelsea Head-to-Head and Key Numbers
- Zenit St Petersburg and Chelsea have clashed just once so far and that was in the corresponding fixture this season. Chelsea won the game 1-0.
- Zenit St Petersburg have won both of their home games against English opponents so far. They beat Bradford City 1-0 in 2000 in the Intertoto Cup and Liverpool 2-0 in the 2012-13 UEFA Europa League.
- Chelsea have played three away games against Russian opponents. They have won and kept cleansheets in all three of those games.
- The game against Chelsea will be Zenit St Petersburg’s 200th European game. They will become the only second Russian club to reach the milestone after Spartak Moscow.
Zenit St. Petersburg vs Chelsea prediction
For Chelsea, there is more at stake here. For Zenit, nothing is at stake as they will enter the Europa League regardless of the result. The Blues are looking to finish first in their group. Tuchel will also expect a reaction from his players after the 3-2 defeat to West Ham United at the weekend.
Chelsea will enter with a strong team and will most likely take home all three points.
Prediction: Zenit St. Petersburg 1-2 Chelsea
Bayern Munich vs. Barcelona preview
FC Bayern Munich is currently at the top of the Bundesliga table and also top of their group in the Champions League. Bayern managed to beat arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in their last match and will probably spare some of their key players on Wednesday.
Barcelona, on the other hand, have had a difficult season so far and need a win against Bayern Munich to secure a place in the round of 16. The Blaugrana suffered a crushing defeat against Real Betis at the weekend and cannot afford another debacle in this match.
Bayern Munich vs Barcelona Head-to-Head and Key Numbers
- Bayern Munich have an excellent record against Barcelona and have won nine out of 14 matches played between the two teams, as opposed to the Catalans’ paltry three victories.
- Bayern Munich have scored an astonishing 14 goals in their last three games against Barcelona and have been fairly ruthless in this fixture.
- Bayern Munich are unbeaten in their last five home games against Barcelona in all competitions.
- If Barcelona suffer defeat this week, the 2021-22 Champions League campaign will be their worst in 23 years.
- Bayern Munich have scored five goals apiece in the two home games in the UEFA Champions League so far this season.
- Barcelona, on the other hand, have scored only four goals in their last eight Champions League matches.
- Thomas Muller has scored seven goals in six appearances against Barcelona and has been more prolific against the Catalans than any other player in the history of the Champions League.
- Barcelona’s 8-2 debacle against Bayern Munich in 2020 remains the worst defeat in the history of the club.
Bayern Munich vs Barcelona Prediction
Barcelona have improved in some aspects of the game under Xavi, but still have a mountain to climb this season. The Catalans returned to their old ways in La Liga at the weekend and cannot afford to slip up in one of the most important games of the season so far.
Bayern Munich has some injury worries at the moment and is unlikely to field a full strength squad. Barcelona will give their all in this must-win match, but it is unlikely that they will be able to beat Bayern in front of their home crowd.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-2 Barcelona