The past 12 months saw another Juventus title in Serie A, but 2020 comes to a close with Milan back in the trophy hunt at the top of the table.

Although the Rossoneri have not won the Scudetto since 2011, they lead the way through 14 matches heading into the new year.

Rivals Inter are a point further back, while Juve are back in sixth after losing their unbeaten record last time out against Fiorentina.

To mark the end of an intriguing year, Opta calculated a 'Top XI' for Serie A in 2020, including a host of big names - but notably missing one superstar.

GOALKEEPER: MARCO SILVESTRI

Hellas Verona have conceded just 14 goals so far this season and, across the year as a whole, Silvestri saved 74 per cent of the shots he faced, trailing only Juan Musso among keepers with at least 10 appearances.

DEFENDER: JUAN CUADRADO

Juventus' converted winger Cuadrado continues to display his attacking qualities from right-back. Among all defenders in 2020, he played the most passes into the opposition half (1,044) and trailed only Cristiano Biraghi (eight) for assists with a haul of seven.

DEFENDER: MATTHIJS DE LIGT

Lining up next to his Bianconeri team-mate, De Ligt has played a huge role in Juve's continued success. They won 65 per cent of their Serie A matches and conceded 1.0 goals per game with the Dutchman in the side in 2020, coming out on top just 36 per cent of the time while conceding 1.4 goals on average when he was missing.

DEFENDER: FRANCESCO ACERBI

Lazio's form has fallen away a little this season, but Acerbi is certainly not to blame. He recovered the ball 177 times in the league in 2020; Rafael Toloi (179) was the only centre-back to do so on more occasions.

DEFENDER: THEO HERNANDEZ

The first Milan entry unsurprisingly belongs to left-back Hernandez. He was directly involved in 11 goals (six goals, five assists) in 2020 and also completed the most successful dribbles in the competition (57).

MIDFIELDER: RODRIGO DE PAUL

De Paul has been linked with a host of clubs, including Inter, where another player in this list would surely thrive on his service. The Udinese midfielder played more accurate crosses (36) than anyone else in Serie A this year.

MIDFIELDER: FRANCK KESSIE

A key part of Milan's climb up the table, Kessie has been a dominant force in the middle of midfield. He recovered the ball 246 times in 2020, the most of any outfield player in the league.

MIDFIELDER: HAKAN CALHANOGLU

Once Kessie wins the ball, it is over to Calhanoglu to get Milan on the attack. He created 99 chances and provided 14 assists in 2020, both league highs.

FORWARD: ALEJANDRO GOMEZ

Talisman Papu Gomez looks set to leave Atalanta in January but starred again in what may prove to be his final full year in Bergamo. Complementing his creative talents, he led the press by winning possession 28 times in the final third of the pitch - ranking third in this regard.

FORWARD: ROMELU LUKAKU

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been outstanding back at Milan, but he does not make the cut. Nor does Ciro Immobile. It is Inter striker Lukaku who leads the line after scoring 22 times in 2020, the most of any player to attempt fewer than 100 shots. Sixteen were from open play, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Immobile (both 17).

FORWARD: CRISTIANO RONALDO

Who else? Aged 35, Ronaldo scored 33 times in the league for Juve in 2020. Only Felice Borel (41 in 1933) and Gunnar Nordahl (36 in 1950) have ever topped that mark in Serie A.

Not content just to lead the Italian top flight, Ronaldo has the edge over Robert Lewandowski (32) across Europe's 'top five' leagues heading into the final matches of 2020. He scored the most goals across the continent in five calendar years between 2011 and 2019.

Stefano Pioli says his Milan players have a "fire burning inside" after they ensured they would end 2020 at the Serie A summit with a last-gasp 3-2 win over Lazio.

Ante Rebic's header and a penalty from Hakan Calhanoglu put the Rossoneri 2-0 up inside 17 minutes at San Siro, but the visitors roared back with goals from Luis Alberto and Ciro Immobile, who had a penalty saved prior to the Spaniard's goal.

Theo Hernandez powered home a header in stoppage time, though, restoring Milan's one-point lead at the top after neighbours Inter had temporarily leapfrogged them following a 2-1 win over Hellas Verona earlier on Wednesday.

The win was the Rossoneri's 10th in 14 league games this season and Pioli does not want his side to relent when they return to action after the mid-season break.

"We'll keep the same passion and determination," he told DAZN. "There are many young players who have room for improvement.

"We have reached our targets this year, we are the league leaders. We have a fire burning inside and we need to leave it on.

"They are all aware of their qualities and I expect to see the same things in 2021. We are not perfect. There are many things we need to solve. We can't always dominate games, it's normal. When we don't do it, we must be compact and suffer.

"We always try to win games, we did it and I am really happy. I am proud of my team, they are doing something incredible.

"Lazio have great qualities and physical skills, but we had the chances to win the game and we did it.

"They were very aggressive, our midfielders played an intense game, it was what we needed in such a difficult game."

The result means Lazio have won just once in their past 31 away games versus Milan, with boss Simone Inzaghi left frustrated by his side's inability to hold on for at least a point.

"The result is not fair, I am angry," he said. "We came here with some problems, we had a few players out of action. We deserved more. It must serve as a lesson for the future.

"We are sorry for the result. We controlled the game.

"After the equaliser, we should have paid more attention. There must be a reason why Milan haven't lost a game for a long time. The guys must take the positive aspects of this game, not the result, but we dominated.

"We should have done more to avoid Theo's goal. Luis Alberto left him too much space. I am sorry for the guys, they didn't deserve to lose."

Milan maintained ensured they will end 2020 atop Serie A as Theo Hernandez's stoppage-time goal secured a 3-2 win over Lazio at San Siro on Wednesday.

Stefano Pioli's side wasted little time stamping their authority on the game, racing into a two-goal lead inside 17 minutes courtesy of Ante Rebic's header and Hakan Calhanoglu's penalty.

Luis Alberto and Ciro Immobile – who had a spot-kick saved prior to the Spaniard's goal – restored parity by finding the net either side of the interval, but Hernandez powered home from a corner in the 92nd minute to dramatically seal the three points for the Rossoneri.

The result restored Milan's one-point lead at the Serie A summit after neighbours Inter had temporarily leapfrogged them following a 2-1 win over Hellas Verona earlier in the day.

 

Stefano Pioli insisted there is still more to come from his Milan side as he targeted a winning end to an impressive 2020.

Milan enter their final fixture of the year against Lazio sitting top of the Serie A standings, one point better off than bitter rivals Inter and four in front of reigning champions Juventus.

The Rossoneri are the only unbeaten side in Europe's top five leagues in 2020-21, winning nine and drawing four of their 13 matches.

Going further back, meanwhile, no team in Serie A has accrued more wins (22) or lost fewer games than Milan (two) this calendar year.

Another victory for Milan at home to Lazio on Wednesday will make certain of top spot at Christmas and Pioli is desperate to end 2020 on a high.

"It's important that we give our all to win this game, without thinking about the standings and where we currently are," he said at a pre-match news conference on Tuesday.

"We have to play for 95 minutes with absolute conviction. We still have room for improvement and are not focused on others like Juve and Inter."

Milan's extraordinary year, albeit one that will end without a trophy to show for their efforts, is in stark contrast to a dire 2019 that ended with a crushing 5-0 loss to Atalanta.

That was Milan's heaviest defeat for more than 21 years and Pioli considers that to be a turning point, a transition helped by the arrival of free signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic the following month.

"Sometimes defeats teach you more than victories," he said. "It was a humiliating defeat for everyone involved, but that was the first stone on which we build this Milan.

"From that point on we understood what was needed, and in January the club made some excellent purchases."

While Ibrahimovic has been key to Milan's form over the past 12 months with 20 goals - only Cristiano Ronaldo (33), Ciro Immobile (27) and Romelu Lukaku (22) have scored more - others have also stepped up at important times.

Rafael Leao has benefited from Ibrahimovic's recent spell on the sidelines, starting seven league games this term and scoring Serie A's quickest ever goal inside six seconds in last weekend's 2-1 win over Sassuolo. 

He is the youngest player in the top five European leagues to have scored at least three times in the last three seasons, but Pioli has told the 21-year-old to add more goals to his game.

"Nobody at the age of 21 can think they have reached full football maturity," Pioli said. "Leao has to think more about scoring goals and do more as a forward.

"All young players can still improve. That goes for all the squad - a talented group that can grow a lot. They are taking steps forward and it is important to continue like that."

Alexis Saelemaekers was also on target last time to double his goals tally for the Serie A campaign in a game that saw Pioli field a team with an average age of 22 years and 313 days - Milan's second youngest line-up since 2004-05.

"He is a player who is working every day to grow and improve," Pioli said. "He is learning to be less frenetic when he is on the ball in full swing. 

"I didn't previously know about him as a player but his name was suggested by the scouts and we then watched him together.

"The performances of all my players make me understand that I have a strong and youthful squad. Now I hope to have more players back from the treatment room when we return."

Cristiano Ronaldo became only the fourth player score at least 33 Serie A goals in a calendar year by bagging a brace in Juventus' 4-0 win over Parma.

The 35-year-old scored in each half as Juve cruised to a victory that moved them level on points with Inter and one adrift of leaders Milan, both of whom play their game in hand on Sunday.

Ronaldo equalled former Juventus forward Omar Sivori's goal haul from 1961 - the joint-third most in a single year behind Gunnar Nordahl (36 in 1950) and Felice Borel (41 in 1933).

He could move further up the list as Juventus have one more league match to play in 2020 - a home meeting with Fiorentina on Tuesday.

Ronaldo's 33 goals have come from 174 attempts - at least 67 more than any other player - giving him a shot conversion rate of 27.73, which compares to 28.26 for Ciro Immobile, who is the next highest scorer this year in Serie A with 26 for Lazio.

The Portugal international has scored 27 with his stronger right foot, four with his left and two via his head.

Robert Lewandowski, named The Best FIFA Men's Player of the Year on Thursday, has 32 Bundesliga goals for Bayern Munich since January 1, while Barcelona star Lionel Messi has just 18 in LaLiga in the same timeframe.

Is Lionel Messi set to swap Spain for France?

Paris Saint-Germain have been among the clubs linked with Messi.

And rumours suggest PSG believe they will land the Barcelona superstar.

 

TOP STORY – PSG POISED TO SIGN MESSI?

Paris Saint-Germain are preparing to announce the signing of Lionel Messi, according to FootballTransfers.

Messi, who is out of contract at the end of the season, tried to leave Barcelona at the start of 2020-21 but the six-time Ballon d'Or winner opted to remain at Camp Nou.

Now, Ligue 1 champions PSG are growing increasingly confident of luring Messi to Paris on a free transfer, having told their stores around the French capital to brace themselves for a high demand of shirt sales.

The Daily Star, however, claims Pep Guardiola's Manchester City remain optimistic of signing Messi.

 

ROUND-UP

- Premier League champions Liverpool are set to offer star defender Virgil van Dijk a new blockbuster five-year contract, reports Fabrizio Romano.

Bayern Munich are in pole position to sign RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano but the Bundesliga champions are still undecided on outlaying such a significant sum amid the coronavirus pandemic, says Sport Bild. Upamecano has been heavily linked with Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.

- According to Corriere della Sera, Inter and Milan are the main contenders to sign Atalanta star Papu Gomez. The captain and Atalanta head coach Gian Piero Gasperini have fallen out, leading to widespread reports Gomez will leave in January. Inter are the favourites to sign Gomez as they could reportedly offer Christian Eriksen in exchange. The likes of PSG, Lazio and Napoli have also emerged as possible destinations.

Hakan Calhanoglu is set to stay at Milan, reports Calciomercato. United have been linked with a move for the soon-to-be free agent.

- Romano says Sergio Ramos is likely to continue at Madrid beyond the 2020-21 season. Los Blancos captain Ramos is nearing the end of his contract, leading to links with the likes of PSG, Juventus and United.

Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain will do battle in a repeat of their memorable Champions League last-16 tie from three years ago, while holders Bayern Munich were drawn against Lazio in Nyon on Monday.

LaLiga giants Barca became the first team in the competition's history to overturn a 4-0 first-leg deficit when they famously defeated PSG 6-1 in the return tie at the same stage in the 2016-17 season.

Neymar scored twice and assisted Sergi Roberto's last-gasp winner on that occasion but his status to face his former club with PSG may be in doubt after the Brazil superstar sustained a serious-looking ankle injury in Sunday's 1-0 loss at Lyon.

Barca also defeated PSG in the quarter-finals en route to treble glory in 2014-15 and in the last eight in the 2012-13 campaign.

PSG were runners-up in a competition delayed by the coronavirus pandemic last term, and their conquerors Bayern were paired against Serie A side Lazio.

Is a blockbuster swap deal on the horizon?

Paul Pogba is unhappy at Manchester United, and Juventus are believed to be keen on re-signing the Frenchman.

Juve's Paulo Dybala could be used as a makeweight to prise Pogba back to Turin, where he played between 2012 and 2016.

 

TOP STORY – DYBALA OUT, POGBA IN AT JUVE?

Juventus want to swap Paulo Dybala for wantaway Manchester United star Paul Pogba, according to Tuttomercatoweb journalist Tancredi Palmeri.

Pogba appears set to leave United after his agent stated the star midfielder's time at Old Trafford was "over" prior to Tuesday's Champions League defeat to RB Leipzig.

The World Cup-winning France international has been heavily linked with a return to Juve, while LaLiga champions Real Madrid are long-term admirers.

But Juve – looking to re-sign Pogba without paying a transfer fee in January – hope to tempt United with attacker Dybala, who has also been linked to Inter, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS claims Madrid are set to choose between Pogba and Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga. Los Blancos head coach Zinedine Zidane prefers Pogba, while president Florentino Perez would rather Camavinga move to the Santiago Bernabeu due to the difference in salary demands. United and PSG are also believed to be eyeing Camavinga.

Juventus, Milan and Atletico Madrid are looking to sign Lazio's Joaquin Correa, reports Calciomercato. It will reportedly take between €50m-€55million to prise Correa away from the Italian capital.

- According to Calciomercato, Serie A duo Milan and Juve are battling Barcelona to sign Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger.

There is still lots to play for on matchday six as the Champions League group stage draws to its conclusion.

Barcelona and Juventus are already through but Tuesday should see Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo face off once again, the latter looking to end a dry spell in front of goal against the Catalans.

Kylian Mbappe is another star enduring a comparatively rotten run when it comes to goalscoring, but Istanbul Basaksehir could represent ideal opponents for the Paris Saint-Germain forward.

Elsewhere in a finely poised Group H, RB Leipzig host Manchester United in a critical game for both – and one where Marcus Rashford could earn a slice of history.

Barcelona v Juventus: Can Ronaldo end barren run against Catalans?

This match will be the sixth time Messi and Ronaldo have met in the Champions League and the first since May 2011, the former leading 3-0 in terms of goals scored in those contests.

Indeed, while he has hit 15 goals in his past 20 appearances against Barca in all competitions, Ronaldo has played more Champions League matches (five) against the Catalans without scoring than he has against any other opponent.

Barca, who need only avoid defeat to make sure they win the group, are unbeaten in four Champions League meetings with Juve and have not lost at home to the Bianconeri since April 2003.

In fact, Juve have gone four games without scoring against Ronald Koeman's side. Since Giorgio Chiellini's goal in a 3-0 victory back in April 2017, they have gone 395 minutes without finding the net against Barca.

 

Chelsea v Krasnodar: Why Lampard's side are so hard to beat

With first place in Group E already secure, Frank Lampard will have the luxury of rotating his line-up for the visit of Krasnodar to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea have won all five previous games against Russian teams in the Champions League by an aggregate score of 13-1, and if they can continue that 100 per cent record, they will record their highest points tally (16) for a single group stage.

The Blues have proven seriously tricky opponents to breach this term. They are the only side yet to face an Opta-defined 'Direct Attack' in the 2020-21 Champions League – a sequence that starts in a team's own half and finishes with either a shot or a touch inside the box, with at least 50 per cent of the movement going towards the opposition goal. They also boast a goalkeeper in Edouard Mendy who has the best save percentage (93.8) of any keeper to play in at least three games in this season's competition.

Having scored four goals against Sevilla last time out, Olivier Giroud could well be given another chance to impress. The striker has five goals from six shots on target this term and has scored at least 10 more goals than any team-mate since the start of 2018-19 (16 goals in total). Only Didier Drogba (36) and Frank Lampard (25) have got more for the club in European competition outside of qualifying rounds.

Paris Saint-Germain v Istanbul Basaksehir: Mbappe desperate to end goal drought

Their 3-1 win at Manchester United last time out means Paris Saint-Germain know a win over Istanbul Basaksehir will see them finish top of a seriously competitive Group H.

They have won five of their previous six home games in the competition and kept a clean sheet in all those victories, so Thomas Tuchel will surely fancy his side's chances, especially since Basaksehir could become just the ninth side in history to concede at least four goals in three games running.

Mbappe will certainly hope to be on the scoresheet. The striker, who reached 100 goals in all competitions for PSG at the weekend, has failed to score in his past nine Champions League games, attempting 27 shots in that run with an Expected Goals total of just 3.9.

PSG will need to be wary of Edin Visca, though. The winger has carried the ball 1,264 metres in the group stage, second only to Bayern Munich's David Alaba (1,465).

RB Leipzig v Manchester United: Rashford could unlock pressing machine

Manchester United thrashed RB Leipzig 5-0 at Old Trafford but they have lost their previous two Champions League away games against German sides, going down 3-1 to Bayern Munich in April 2014 and 3-2 to Wolfsburg five years ago.

With Leipzig having won three home games in a row in Europe with just one goal conceded, they will feel confident of avenging that previous loss and inflicting upon Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a sixth defeat in 11 Champions League games, which would represent the worst return for a manager of an English club.

Leipzig's pressing intensity is renowned: they have allowed opponents an average of 8.4 passes before a defensive intervention, the lowest number of any team in 2020-21.

Still, they must beware the United counter-attack and, in particular, Marcus Rashford. The England star has scored three goals following a ball carry this season, the most of any player, and is attempting to become the first Englishman to hit six goals in a single Champions League group stage.

 

Other fixtures:

Lazio v Club Brugge

1  – If Lazio avoid defeat, they will remain unbeaten in a Champions League group stage for the first time since 1999-00, while this will also be the first time they have reached the knockout stages of the competition since that campaign.

3  – Club Brugge are looking to win consecutive Champions League games for the first time since November 2005. However, they have never won three games in a single Champions League group stage before.

 

Dynamo Kiev v Ferencvaros

16  – Dynamo Kiev (13) and Ferencvaros (12.4) have the largest Expected Goals Against figures amongst the sides in the Champions League this season, with Ferencvaros conceding more goals than any other team (16).

13.9  –  Ferencvaros' opponents have kept the ball for 13.9 seconds per sequence on average in the Champions League this season, the longest of any side's opponents this season.

 

Rennes v Sevilla

0  – Sevilla have never lost their final Champions League group-stage game (W3 D2). In the history of the competition, they have played more matchday-six group-stage games without defeat than any other side (including the second group phase).

90  –  Only Barcelona (92) have had more shots than Sevilla in the Champions League this season (90), though Sevilla have converted just 6.7 per cent of their shots in the competition this term (six goals).

 

Zenit v Borussia Dortmund

10  – No side has had fewer shots on target in the Champions League this season than Zenit (10), with the Russian side failing to register a single effort on target in two of their five games this season (including the reverse fixture versus Borussia Dortmund).

0 – Dortmund are seeking consecutive away wins for the first time since October 2016. They have won their previous two games on matchday six of the group stage and could make it three such victories in a row for the first time.

It is crunch time in the Champions League as the group stage enters the penultimate round of fixtures.

Sevilla and Chelsea are already assured of football in Europe's top club competition in the new year, as are Juventus and Barcelona, but there is still plenty to be decided as teams jostle for position and players – including Cristiano Ronaldo – chase down individual records.

Paris Saint-Germain are among those whose fate hangs in the balance, while matchday five opponents Manchester United are still in need of a point.

We break down Wednesday's key matchday fixtures with the use of Opta data.

 

Manchester United v Paris Saint-Germain: Tuchel's men seeking win at fortress Old Trafford

PSG are in desperate need of a positive result at Old Trafford and the omens are good for Thomas Tuchel's charges, with the away team winning all three previous European games between the sides.

However, Group H leaders United have won their last seven home matches in continental competiiton, scoring 24 goals and conceding only two – their best return since a run of 12 wins in a row ending in April 2008.

Ligue 1 champions PSG scored in 38 of their 39 matches since the start of 2016-17, netting an average of 2.4 goals per game, with Bayern Munich the only team to stop them scoring during that run in last season's final.

Sevilla v Chelsea: Blues out to end Spain pain

Sevilla and Chelsea have already qualified for the last 16 but a win for one of these sides will see them secure top spot in Group E. The hosts have not advanced as group winners since 2009-10 while Chelsea last did so in 2015-16.

Frank Lampard's side have won only one of their last 10 games against Spanish opponents in the Champions League and are winless in six such matches. Sevilla, meanwhile, are unbeaten in seven against English sides in European competition – they beat United in the Europa League semi-finals last term.

Sevilla are also without defeat after four group matches for the third time in the Champions League, having previously done so in 2009-10 and 2016-17, but never before have they begun a campaign with five unbeaten games.

 

Borussia Dortmund v Lazio: Sancho seeking another European goal

Anything other than defeat will send Dortmund through to the knockouts and history suggests there is a good chance of that happening.

In the three previous encounters between these sides in major European competition, the home side has always come out on top.

Lazio have won only one of their previous seven encounters away to German opposition – a 2-0 win against Stuttgart in the 2012-13 Europa League – while Dortmund are unbeaten in their last eight home Champions League group games.

Jadon Sancho has scored in his last two Champions League games and, at the age of 20 years and 252 days, he could become the second-youngest Englishman to score in three successive games in the competition after Alan Smith with Leeds United in 2000-01 (20y, 158d).

Ferencvaros v Barcelona: Koeman's men hungry for a clean sweep

A place in the last 16 already assured, Barcelona are now seeking a fifth straight win to begin a group-stage campaign for the first time since 2002-03, when they won six from six.

Barca have won all five of their previous encounters with Hungarian opposition, including a 5-1 victory in the reverse fixture, which was notable for being the only Champions League match ever to see two players aged under 18 to score (Ansu Fati and Pedri).

Fati has since been ruled out with a long-term injury, though Martin Braithwaite profited with two goals on his first start in the competition against Dynamo Kiev – not since David Villa in 2010 has a Barca player scored in their first two Champions League starts.

 

Juventus v Dynamo Kiev: Down-and-out Dynamo out to avoid Ronaldo repeat

Third place is the best Dynamo can hope for and they enter this match with just one win to their name in 12 Champions League games, losing the last two of those. Not since 2007-08 have they lost three or more on the spin.

Juve are battling with Barca for top spot and have lost only two of their 26 home group-stage matches, albeit with that defeat coming against the Catalan giants in October.

Ronaldo has scored three goals in two previous meetings with Dynamo in UEFA's flagship competition.

Should he score on Wednesday it will be 13 years and 25 days after his last goal against them, in 2007 – the longest gap between goals for one player against a single side.

Other fixtures:

Krasnodar v Rennes

1 – This will be Rennes' first away game against Russian opponents in European competition. Krasnodar have hosted French side twice previously, drawing 1-1 with Lille and beating Nice 5-2, both in the Europa League.

24 – The visitors have used 24 different players in the Champions League this season – only Barca (25) have used more – yet only one of them has registered a goal in their first four matches.


Club Brugge v Zenit

2 – Brugge won the reverse fixture against Zenit 2-1 but have only won home and away against the same opponent twice before in the group stage – against CSKA Moscow in 1992-93 and Rapid Vienna in 2005-06.

12 – The Belgian side are winless in their last 12 Champions League home games. Only Basel, who have failed to win any of their last 13, have a worse such record.


Istanbul Basaksehir v RB Leipzig 

1 – German teams have lost only one of their last 14 games against Turkish opposition in major European competition. However, that solitary loss was inflicted on Leipzig by Besiktas in their only previous such match in the Champions League.

5 – Leipzig have been awarded five penalties in the competition since the start of last season, behind only Chelsea (7). All five have been converted.

All eyes are on a finely poised Group H as the Champions League returns this week following the international break.

Paris Saint-Germain, finalists last season, are in trouble after defeats to Manchester United and RB Leipzig, who they face again on Tuesday.

United's fine early European form took a hit when they lost to Istanbul Basaksehir, however, meaning all four teams are separated by just three points.

Elsewhere, Barcelona will hope their impressive Champions League results continue to provide an effective distraction after their latest LaLiga setback.

Juventus, Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund are all also in action as we break down Tuesday's key matchday four fixtures with Opta data.
 

Paris Saint-Germain v RB Leipzig: Milestone in sight for misfiring Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe netted a brace in PSG's 3-2 defeat at Monaco last week and his next goal will be his 100th for the capital club. However, the World Cup winner has not scored in the Champions League in 2020, enduring a seven-game, 529-minute drought in the competition since scoring against Galatasaray last December.

Neymar is set to be fit to start alongside Mbappe, and PSG will need their star pair on form to avoid suffering a second consecutive home defeat in the Champions League for the first time.

Leipzig, who were unbeaten in five away Champions League games before losing 5-0 at United, got the better of PSG last time out, meaning the Ligue 1 side have lost four of their previous six matches against German opposition in the competition - including the 2019-20 final to Bayern Munich.

Manchester United v Istanbul Basaksehir: Martial a man in form

Fresh from enjoying their first home Premier League win of the season, United will look to maintain their strong European run at Old Trafford, where they have six straight victories by a combined scoreline of 20-1.

Anthony Martial scored in the win against Leipzig and the defeat to Basaksehir and could become the first United player to score in three consecutive Champions League appearances since Wayne Rooney in 2010.

But Demba Ba also netted in the sides' previous meeting and has made four previous appearances at Old Trafford, scoring for Newcastle United in a 1-1 draw in 2011. United have lost three of their past four games against Turkish opposition.

Dynamo Kiev v Barcelona: No Leo against luckless Lucescu

Barca are looking to win their first four Champions League group-stage matches for just the second time (also 2002-03), despite this being the fourth occasion in five years they have started the campaign with three victories in a row.

The Blaugrana will welcome the sight of Mircea Lucescu in the home dugout. He has lost six Champions League matches against Barca, a miserable tally against a single opponent only topped by Arsene Wenger (eight defeats v Barca, seven v Bayern).

The Catalan club, who will have to cope without Lionel Messi, have three straight Champions League wins in Ukraine and Lucescu has been the opposition coach for two of them, both with Shakhtar Donetsk.

Juventus v Ferencvaros: Loan man Morata making strides

Cristiano Ronaldo is the man in form in Serie A, but Alvaro Morata has made an outstanding start to the Champions League campaign for Juve. He has four goals in three games, as many as he had netted in his previous 17 appearances across spells with Chelsea and Atletico Madrid.

Expect Ronaldo to be in the thick of the action, too, though, as he aims to nudge ahead of Messi as the competition's leading home goalscorer. He has 69 goals in home games, one behind the Barca man's 70.

Ferencvaros are visiting Italy for a European match for the first time since their 1968 Fairs Cup draw with Bologna. They are winless in three European Cup or Champions League games against Serie A opposition, shipping four goals in both of their defeats (4-0 v Inter in 1966, 4-1 v Juve this season).

 

Other fixtures:

Krasnodar v Sevilla

3 - In the sides' previous meeting on matchday three, Sevilla became only the third team in Champions League history to win a match after having a man sent off when they were losing (also Hamburg against CSKA Moscow in December 2006, Manchester City against Schalke in February 2019).

4 - Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui has only lost four of his 22 Champions League matches (W13 D5), although his last defeat in the competition was away in Russia, losing with Real Madrid at CSKA in October 2018.

Rennes v Chelsea

5 - It is five years since Chelsea won three consecutive Champions League matches, while they are looking to win three in a row without conceding for the first time since November 2013.

1 - Rennes have given at least one teenager a Champions League debut in each of their three games in the campaign so far. They have used five teenagers in all (Eduardo Camavinga, Jeremy Doku, Adrien Truffert, Brandon Soppy, Yann Gboho), two more than any other club.

Borussia Dortmund v Club Brugge

12 - Erling Haaland was the joint-fastest player to score five Champions goals (three games, level with Didier Drogba), the fastest to score 10 goals (seven games) and will be the fastest to 15 goals if he scores in this game - his 12th appearance. The record is held by Ruud van Nistelrooy and Roberto Soldado (19 games).

20 - Lucien Favre will become the second coach to take charge of 20 Champions League matches with Borussia Dortmund after Jurgen Klopp (37). Favre's win rate of 53 per cent (P19 W10 D2 L7) is the third-best for Dortmund in the competition, behind Nevio Scala (60 per cent) and Ottmar Hitzfeld (58 per cent).

Lazio v Zenit

3 - Lazio have avoided defeat in their opening three Champions League group-stage matches (W1 D2) for the first time since 1999-00, when they went on to top the table unbeaten.

13 - Including qualifiers, Zenit are winless in 13 away European matches (D3 L10) since a 3-1 victory at Real Sociedad in December 2017 in the Europa League.

Manchester City will reportedly opt against making a move for Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

Messi, 33, sensationally requested to leave Barca during the close season, but ended up staying with the LaLiga giants.

Still, talk about his future continues, with City the most strongly linked.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY WON'T TRY TO SIGN MESSI

Manchester City will not try to sign Barcelona star Messi, Spanish football expert Semra Hunter told Sky Sports News.

The report says Messi's age and wage demands are a major reason the Premier League giants will not pursue him.

Messi, a six-time Ballon d'Or winner, is out of contract at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Are Real Madrid looking for a replacement for 35-year-old midfielder Luka Modric? Fichajes.net reports Madrid see Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic as the ideal replacement for Croatia star Modric.

- Barcelona will try to sign Manchester City defender Eric Garcia in January amid an injury crisis in defence, according to Sport. Gerard Pique (knee) and Sergi Roberto (thigh) are both set for spells on the sidelines. Meanwhile, Marca says Barcelona are set for a meeting to decide whether they should sign a replacement for Pique.

- Fabian Ruiz has impressed for Napoli, leading to interest from elsewhere. CalcioMercato reports Paris Saint-Germain are still targeting the midfielder.

- Amid uncertainty over his future at Inter, Christian Eriksen is linked with a return to the Premier League. Corriere dello Sport reports Manchester United and Arsenal are considering the former Tottenham star.

- With Memphis Depay and Moussa Dembele linked with moves, Lyon may be eyeing replacements. Le 10 Sport says Reims and Senegal forward Boulaye Dia and Leicester City forward Islam Slimani are both targets.

The son of former Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro has signed for Lazio.

Andrea Cannavaro, 16, has joined the Biancocelesti's Under-17 side, coached by Marco Alboni.

The youngster had been at Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, where his father has been head coach since 2017.

Former Inter, Juventus and Real Madrid defender Fabio Cannavaro spent most of his career in Italy's top flight, although he never won the Serie A title.

He captained Italy to their World Cup triumph in 2006, his displays helping him to win the Ballon d'Or later that year.

He has enjoyed success as a coach in China, winning the League One title with Tianjin Quanjian in 2016 and the Super League with Guangzhou last year.

Piotr Zielinski is an extraordinary player who should be playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona, according to Pepe Reina.

Napoli midfielder Zielinski has thrived for the Partenopei since joining from Empoli in 2016.

Only forwards Jose Callejon (63) and Lorenzo Insigne (86) created more chances in Serie A last season for the club than Zielinski (53), while he completed more passes than any team-mate except for Fabian Ruiz and Giovanni Di Lorenzo.

Toni Kroos (60) was the only midfielder for Barca or Madrid in 2019-20 who created more goalscoring opportunities than the Poland international.

Reina, a team-mate of Zielinski for two years in Naples, has no doubt the player is good enough for one Spain's biggest two clubs.

"I have a crush on Zielinski!" he told Cadena SER. "He's a Real Madrid or Barcelona player. He is out of the ordinary."

Reina, who was on loan at Aston Villa from Milan last season, is now with Lazio as he continues a senior career in football spanning 20 years.

The 38-year-old thinks Manchester United's David de Gea is presently the best option for Luis Enrique's Spain side, but he believes there is an unfair prejudice towards older players compared to the attitude in Italy.

"The one with the most playing consistency is De Gea and it has to be that way, for me," Reina said.

"Luis Enrique has a choice of young goalkeepers or more expert, 38-year-old goalkeepers.

"David has experience that will for sure make him the most prepared. Kepa [Arrizabalaga] is going through a worse time due to the signing of Mendy. There's also [Sergio] Asenjo, [Fernando] Pacheco... there are a lot of names.

"The culture in Spain is that a 38-year-old player is seen as much older than he is in Italy. Here, respect is different. In Spain, they see you as an older player."

Andrea Pirlo backed Paulo Dybala, defending the playmaker's attitude after Juventus were held by Lazio.

Dybala came off the bench as Juve were pegged back late in a 1-1 Serie A draw at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo had put Pirlo's men ahead, but Felipe Caicedo scored a 95th-minute equaliser after a tremendous run by Joaquin Correa.

Pirlo said he had no complaints about Dybala's attitude, with the forward ruled out of Argentina's upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

"I think his attitude is not wrong. He was willing to do well and wanted to help the team," the Juve head coach told a news conference.

"Sometimes it happens not to be in the best physical condition as he is now.

"He needs to work and play, we just need to manage these situations in the final moments of the games if we want to clinch the victory."

Juve sit fifth in the Serie A table, four points adrift of leaders Milan.

They were on track for victory before Caicedo's goal, and since last season, the Ecuadorian has scored five goals from the 90th minute in Serie A – the most of any player.

"When you concede one goal it is not because of the individual but the whole team. We win and lose as a team," Pirlo said.

"We must manage these situations in a better way, being hungry to achieve the result until the very last second."

Juve return to action at home to Cagliari on November 21.

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