The conclusion of the fifth week of Copa Libertadores group stage play saw all teams complete their third game of this stage. We're halfway to the knockout stages, which begin during the first week of May. In Group 5 and Group 6, the favorites play the reverse fixture of their massive matches from last week.
Emelec vs. Lanus
Tuesday, 7:15 p.m. ET
Emelec lost away to Lanus in their last Copa match and they're bottom of Group 2, the tightest group in the competition. Only two points separates them from group leaders Flamengo. Lanus are in a terrible spell in the Argentine Primera, while Emelec are coming off a domestic win. At home, they're favorites based on Lanus' form.
Bolívar vs. Atletico Junior
Tuesday, 9:30 p.m. ET
Junior lost at home when these teams first met and they have been average domestically, so Bolívar have to be considered slight favorites in this one. Junior are the much more talented side, but teams always struggle in La Paz and the Colombian side is playing poorly at the moment.
The Strongest vs. Internacional
Wednesday, 6:45 p.m. ET
Inter absolutely slaughtered The Strongest at home last week and will like their chances of getting a win again this week. The teams are tied on six points along with Santos FC, while Juan Aurich is on zero points. This match will likely decide who goes through and who does not, though a Santos choke isn't completely out of the question.
Vasco da Gama vs. Libertad
Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET
After last week's 1-1 draw in Paraguay, Vasco needs a win on Wednesday to put themselves in a position to win Group 5. Libertad are three points ahead of them and will like their chances of winning the group if they can nick a draw. Both teams had players sent off in the last game; José Núñez is suspended for Libertad, while Diego Souza is suspended for Vasco. Souza is the bigger loss, but Vasco will get Juninho back, and he will take up some of those creative duties from Diego Souza.
Corinthians vs. Cruz Azul
Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET
Corinthians and Cruz Azul played a boring game, save for a couple of good shots and saves in their 0-0 draw last week. Corinthians are likely to be a little more ambitious at home, and another 0-0 seems unlikely. Then again, the two teams are well in control of Group 6 and could play to a handshake draw.
Vélez Sársfield vs. Deportivo Quito
Thursday. 6:45 p.m. ET
Deportivo Quito thrashed Vélez in Ecuador when the two teams met a couple of weeks ago, and the shaky league play of Vélez hasn't been encouraging. They lead Group 7 in the Libertadores by two points, but Deportivo Quito can jump them and go into first with a win. This group is a tight one, and both Chivas and Defensor Sporting will be watching this game closely.
Santos FC vs. Juan Aurich
Thursday, 9:00 p.m. ET
In the Copa Libertadores, whenever a game is written off as uninteresting or a lock for one team, the complete opposite happens. Even in the Libertadores, it would be stunning to see Juan Aurich challenge Santos in Brazil. They should walk to a win even if they bench Neymar.
Atlético Nacional vs. Godoy Cruz
Thursday, 9 p.m. ET
Universidad de Chile sit on four points in Group 8 and will probably do better than that during the second round of games. Therefore, this match is extremely important for both Atlético Nacional and Godoy Cruz. Atlético sits on seven points and can grab a stranglehold on a knockout stage place with a victory. Godoy Cruz need to draw to keep their hopes of going through within reasonable reach.