UEFA Champions League: Chelsea travels to Ukraine on Tuesday

Michael Steele

Shakhtar Donetsk and Chelsea battle for control of Group E while BATE, Cluj and Celtic attempt to keep up the momentum created by their strong starts.

On Tuesday, the UEFA Champions League's three big in-form underdogs each have a chance to firmly establish themselves as knockout stage favorites halfway through the group stage. They're likely to enjoy extremely mixed results.

The best match of the day takes place in Ukraine, with Shakhtar Donetsk hosting Chelsea. The Blues joined Shakhtar in comfortably beating FC Nordsjaelland last round, while the reigning champions of Ukraine impressed in a draw against Juventus. Shakhtar have continued to play well since then, winning their last two league games, including a 2-0 road victory over Europa League participants Metalist Kharkiv.

In Group F, BATE Borisov attempt to maintain their perfect record at home against Valencia. They upset Bayern Munich in their last Champions League match and currently sit top of the group. It's going to be a tough task, thanks to Valencia's suddenly clean bill of health. Midfielders Ever Banego and David Albelda have returned, and Los Che is suddenly loaded with quality depth in the center.

Celtic is the impressive underdog with the smallest chance of continuing their strong run on Tuesday. They head to the Camp Nou, where they're probably going to struggle to provide much resistance to FC Barcelona.

Cluj has also been impressive thus far in Champions League, and will need at least a draw in Istanbul against Galatasaray to consider themselves favorites for a knockout stage place. In Group H's other match, Manchester United takes on Braga.

Schedule (all times ET)

Spartak Moscow vs. Benfica - 12 p.m.
Barcelona vs. Celtic - 2:45 p.m.
FC Nordsjaelland vs. Juventus - 2:45 p.m.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Chelsea - 2:45 p.m.
BATE Borisov vs. Valencia - 2:45 p.m.
Lille vs. Bayern Munich - 2:45 p.m.
Galatasaray vs. CFR Cluj - 2:45 p.m.
Manchester United vs. Braga - 2:45 p.m.

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