Sporting Lisbon v Tottenham
Could there be a better indication of Sporting Lisbon’s progress than three consecutive wins across two competitions, each with an increasingly larger margin? Whilst a 5-0 defeat of Tottenham to better their weekend league conquest of Portimonense (4-0) is significantly unlikely, pumping out nine goals to nought with 15 different starters will ensure no UEFA Champions League (UCL) Group D opposition will take them lightly. One player almost certain to start here is Sporting’s Marcus Edwards, who along with Tottenham’s Eric Dier both made their professional debuts with the opposing club!
Liverpool v Ajax
So often on the right side of history on the continental stage, Liverpool found themselves on the wrong side last time out, with a humiliating 4-1 defeat to Napoli in their Group A opener equalling their biggest ever UCL loss. Now needing to play catchup if they’re to top their UCL group for a fourth consecutive season, manager Jürgen Klopp will be hoping the extended rest period will serve his injury-hit squad well, after claiming his side need to improve in “pretty much everything”.
Bayern Munich v Barcelona
Just nine months on from last season’s final UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stage game when Bayern Munich condemned Barcelona to a first group stage exit from the tournament since 2000/01 (W3-0), Bayern will now seek to assert their dominance yet again. The big storyline in this fixture is Robert Lewandowski’s swift return to the Allianz Arena following his move to Barça, and he actually contributed to three goals in this H2H last season in Bayern colours (G2, A1).
AC Milan v Dinamo Zagreb
AC Milan’s latest attempt to win the UEFA Champions League (UCL), and do so as Italian champions for the first time since 1994, got off to a disappointing start with a 1-1 draw at Salzburg. Coach Stefano Pioli described the performance as “positive” but identified shortcomings, as Milan made it just one clean sheet across their last nine UCL outings.
Man City v Dortmund
Last season’s UEFA Champions League (UCL) semi-finalists Manchester City got their latest quest for European glory off to a perfect start when they crushed Sevilla 4-0 at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium last week. That result was in keeping with the free-scoring start the Citizens have made to their season, netting 24 goals across seven unbeaten fixtures in all competitions, with five of those contests seeing four or more goals scored.
Chelsea v RB Salzburg
Chelsea have been in the headlines of the footballing world recently, after a UEFA Champions League (UCL) matchday one loss to Dinamo Zagreb last week brought about the end of Thomas Tuchel’s 100-game tenure at the club. Graham Potter has now been thrust into the hot seat, and his first assignment – and first taste of managing in Europe’s elite club competition – involves trying to stop Chelsea from avoiding losing their opening two matches of a UCL campaign for the very first time.
Juventus v Benfica
Matchday one of this UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stage saw Juventus belatedly recover to lose only 2-1 against French champions PSG, when all early signs pointed to humiliation. However, they carried the worst habits of that game into a shock 2-2 weekend draw vs Serie A (SA) minnows Salernitana, clawing back after a disastrous start before an explosive finale saw three players and Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri receive a red card in injury time!
Real Madrid v RB Leipzig
Despite going a goal down to Mallorca, Real Madrid hit back to win 4-1 on Sunday, their second straight victory by a three-goal margin after opening their UEFA Champions League (UCL) campaign by impressively dispatching Celtic 3-0. Madrid are becoming used to battling adversity, recording seven straight wins this term despite losing Karim Benzema and Éder Militão to injury and selling Casemiro to Manchester United.