So finally, here we are, about to close out the group stages of the 2009-10 UEFA Champions League. Eight matches await today in Groups E, F, G, and H.
In Group E, Fiorentina and Lyon are in the running for top honors, while both will advance to the knockout rounds. Advantage Lyon perhaps today, as they host Debrecen. Fiorentina hits the road to a Liverpool side that has disappointed on many levels this season.
There’s a ton to play for, however, in Group F, where Barcelona leads with just 8 points, but Inter and Kazan stand only two points back. Inter will host a match today between the later two, Barcelona visits last-place Kiev. Kiev aren’t out of the race, either, despite being last with 5 points. If Barcelona fail to win today (they have two draws in their group stage travels so far), no team in the group will even reach 10 points.
Group G finds Unirea Urziceni with 8 points and in second place, visiting Stuttgart today. The hosts are in third with 6 points, and I think today’s most intriguing storyline will be to see if Unirea can get the result it needs to advance. Sevilla lead the group on 10 points and are assured of advancing, and since they are hosting Rangers today, they are probably assured of three more points, too, and the group title.
Arsenal have run away with Group H, but there still is a battle for second, where Standard Liege need to beat AZ Alkmaar today and hope that Olympiakos falls at home to the Gunners. If so, both would have 7 points, but Liege holds a goal difference edge (+1) over Olympiakos head to head.
My picks are below. Remember, it’s 10 points for a winner and exact score; 5 points for win and correct margin of victory; and 2 points just to have the winner. You also get 10 for forecasting a draw and nailing the score; and 5 for forecasting a draw but having it come in with a different score.
Hopefully, we all do better than yesterday!
* Liverpool v. Fiorentina (There’s little reason to believe in the hosts at this point … FIO 2-1)
* Lyon v. Debrecen (Lyon takes care of business … 3-1)
* Kiev v. Barcelona (There’s no reason to believe Barca won’t win on the road here, except that they haven’t … 1-1 DRAW)
* Inter v. Kazan (I believe!!! … 1-0 KAZAN)
* Sevilla v. Rangers (Rangers should forfeit, the score would be lower … SEV 5-0)
* Stuttgart v. Unirea (They’ve come this far, so why wouldn’t Unirea get what they need? … 1-1 DRAW)
* Olympiakos v. Arsenal (Grudgingly going with the Gunners … 2-1 ARSL)
* Liege v. Alkmaar (2-1 LIEGE)
All of today’s games are scheduled to kickoff at 2:45 p.m. Eastern, so there’s your deadline. Post picks in the Comments section below.