UEFA Champions League: 6 out of 8 games mean something

Scott Heavey

After a pointless Tuesday of Champions League play, there's a lot at stake, and therefore a lot of potential drama, on Wednesday evening.

Considering the snoozefest that was Tuesday's Champions League slate, Wednesday's schedule is extremely refreshing. There's only one truly intriguing group, but at least two more actually have places up for grabs. Six out of eight total games have some bearing on who will qualify for the knockout stage.

The highlight of the day is the match between Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk -- or at least it should be. Shakhtar can potentially knock out Juventus with a win if Chelsea beat Nordsjaelland, but there's the possibility of a draw that results from over-conservative play. Juventus and Shakhtar both go through and eliminate Chelsea if they draw.

Benfica is tied on points with Celtic, and faces an uphill climb to qualify from Group G. They go away to Barcelona, while Celtic host struggling Spartak Moscow. The good news for Benfica is that the Blaugrana will not play their strongest team. The bad news is that there are a handful of Barcelona B player who could play for Benfica (Nolito waves).

In Group H, Cluj need a result at Old Trafford in a similar situation to Benfica's. They're tied with Galatasaray, and will be up against a weakened United side. Don't be shocked if Alex Ferguson plays literally the weakest team he can possibly field, which will open up the door for Cluj. Gala plays away to Braga, and the Portuguese side have nothing to play for but pride.

Schedule (all times ET)

Chelsea vs. FC Nordsjaelland - 2:45 p.m. ET
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Juventus - 2:45 p.m. ET
Bayern Munich vs. BATE Borisov - 2:45 p.m. ET
Lille vs. Valencia - 2:45 p.m. ET
Barcelona vs. Benfica - 2:45 p.m. ET
Celtic vs. Spartak Moscow - 2:45 p.m. ET
Braga vs. Galatasaray - 2:45 p.m. ET
Manchester United vs. CFR Cluj - 2:45 p.m. ET

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