City need just a point to top the group thanks to Sergio Aguero’s late equaliser in France in matchday five.
Group F has proved to be an absolute goalfest and is the highest scoring group in this season’s competition by quite a distance. Every game has produced over 2.5 goals and only Manchester City have managed to keep a clean sheet.
That trend should continue on Wednesday night as City look to recover from their first league defeat of the season. The Citizens have scored the most goals in the Champions League this season and have largely benefited from their opponents’ willingness to play attacking football.
On the large playing surface of the Etihad, Hoffenheim will struggle to repel wave after wave of City attacks and they should clear the two-goal handicap without breaking sweat.
Lyon are in the peculiar situation of finding themselves unbeaten after five games, including a win away to Manchester City, but still sitting in second place on just seven points.
Draws have badly hampered Lyon in Europe this year and they still have work to do to ensure their qualification.
Late goals have conspired against the French side, who conceded late equalisers against Manchester City and Hoffenheim (twice) to reel them back closer to the chasing pack. Shakhtar Donetsk’s last-minute winner away to Hoffenheim in match-day five also prevented Lyon from qualifying last time out and they now face a tricky trip to the Ukraine where they must avoid defeat.
Luckily for Lyon, Shakhtar are not the daunting side they once were. The Ukrainians have conceded 15 goals in five Champions League matches, the joint-worst record in the competition. Yes, nine of those goals came against a free scoring Manchester City, but they have still conceded at least two goals in every game they’ve played.
Lyon’s lethal attack of Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay and Maxwel Cornet should be in dreamland against such a porous defence and they really should have too much for their Ukrainian opponents.
However, Lyon’s record of drawing games they should win, coupled with the fact that this is a game they do not actually need to win, leads us to err on the side on caution and back Lyon and draw.
Young Boys have only scored against one team in this season’s Champions League, while Juventus have only conceded in one game in the competition. Logic dictates that both trends will continue when the sides meet on Wednesday night.
The Swiss champions have been workmanlike in their five games in Europe this season and made life difficult for Manchester United last time out. They also avoided the embarrassment of finishing the group stages without a point thanks to a home draw with Valencia.
Juventus, on the other hand, have looked formidable and look like one of the favourites to win the competition.
The Italian giants have won four of their five games in Europe to nil this season and but for a freak Manchester United comeback they would have won all five of their games. That blip has not proved to be disastrous as Juventus still sit atop group H, but they need a win here to ensure they finish top.
Young Boys lack the firepower to hurt a genuinely world class back four, and Juventus possess enough class and guile in the forward areas to get the job done without too much hassle.