Football: UEFA Champions League Preview

Football: UEFA Champions League Preview

The UEFA Champions League enters matchday 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday and various clubs will be seeking to consolidate their positions with victories, qualifying for the second round in the process.

Here is a preview of some of the matches involving the top teams:

RED STAR BELGRADE VS LIVERPOOL

Liverpool will be looking to consolidate their position at the top of Champions League Group C when they take on Red Star Belgrade in Serbia on Tuesday night.

Last season’s runners-up currently sit one point clear at the top of a fiercely contested group and will know that dropped points could prove costly with Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli still to come.

Tuesday night offers Red Star the chance to get a measure of revenge on Liverpool for the 4-0 drubbing they received at Anfield a fortnight before, and it is at home where they will expect to give their more illustrious opponents a bigger test.

It has certainly been that way so far, with Napoli – Liverpool’s conquerors on matchday two – only managing a goalless draw on their visit to Belgrade as Red Star got their campaign off to a positive start.

 

ATLETICO MADRID VS BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Borussia Dortmund is sitting pretty at the top of Group A as they head to the Spanish capital to face Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night.

Dortmund shocked Atletico in Germany in matchday 3 with a 4-0 rout of Diego Simeone’s men – a result which leaves BVB with maximum points from three group games so far.

With six points, Atletico is unlikely to miss out on the knockout stages with group rivals AS Monaco and Club Brugge stuck on a point apiece. Still, Simeone will want revenge for a hammering in Dortmund and restore some faith in a shaken defence.

The last time the two sides met was in matchday 3, with Dortmund winning 4-0 courtesy of goals from Axel Witsel, Raphael Guerrero (two) and English prospect Jadon Sancho.

Dortmund has gotten the better of Atletico historically, with three wins from their five meetings and just one defeat.

 

TOTTENHAM VS PSV

Tottenham’s Champions League hopes could come to an end as early as matchday 4, with Tuesday night’s meeting against PSV Eindhoven already a must-win clash.

Spurs have picked up just one point from their opening three Group B games, with a 2-2 draw against PSV last time out particularly damaging as they sit five points behind second-placed Inter Milan and eight behind Barcelona in the top spot.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men must realistically win their remaining three games and hope results go their way elsewhere, and nothing less than three points will do against Mark van Bommel’s Dutch champions at Wembley.

 

NAPOLI VS PSG

Neymar of PSG

Napoli host Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, with the pair battling in Group C.

Liverpool leads the standings at the halfway point in the group stage, and a defeat for either Napoli or PSG could end up proving harmful as they chase qualification for the knockouts.

The sides drew the corresponding fixture 2-2 in Paris, with PSG fighting back to take a point in stoppage time.

 

INTER MILAN VS BARCELONA

Inter Milan and Barcelona meet at the San Siro on Tuesday night knowing qualification is all-but sealed in Group B.

Perisic of Inter; Coutinho of Barcelona

The hosts can confirm Tottenham’s early elimination with a win after Mauricio Pochettino’s men failed to win any of their opening three games.

Barcelona would guarantee first place in the group with victory at the San Siro and Inter will still fancy their chances of making it through to the knockout stages should they lose.

 

CSKA MOSCOW VS AS ROMA

CSKA Moscow could not follow up on a huge victory over the reigning champions Real Madrid as they went on to lose two and draw one of the following three games across competitions.

They host Roma in what could be the crucial match in the battle for the last 16 round on Wednesday evening at Stadion Luzhniki in Moscow.

Can Armeitsy bounce back from recent failures and take another big scalp here?

Anything less than a three-pointer would seriously halt their push for the knockout stage given they are two points short on both Roma and Real Madrid at the top of the Group G standings after three rounds.

 

MANCHESTER CITY VS SHAKHTAR DONETSK

Manchester City head into their Champions League encounter with Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night looking for the victory which would put Pep Guardiola’s side on the brink of qualification for the knockout stages.

The Ukrainian outfit makes the trip to the Etihad Stadium without a win in three matches, and Paulo Fonseca’s team cannot afford to suffer defeat in the North-West of England.

 

PLZEN VS REAL MADRID

Defending champions Real Madrid head to Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League this week, aiming to keep pace at the top of Group G.

The three-time holders got their European campaign back on track with a 2-1 win against Plzen a fortnight ago, but they have since changed managers and are not yet assured of a place in the last 16.

The Czech champions are running out of time to make an impact in their third Champions League campaign, as they have yet to pick up a win from their three matches.

 

JUVENTUS VS REAL MADRID

Cristiano Ronaldo will get another chance to score against his former club as Juventus and Manchester United face off in Turin on Wednesday night.

Ronaldo of Juventus

Juve star Ronaldo could not find the net on his Old Trafford return in matchday 3, but Paulo Dybala’s goal handed the Italian champions a richly deserved 1-0 victory in Manchester to take control of Group H.

With Juve almost certain to top the group, Jose Mourinho knows United – second in the table with four points (two ahead of Valencia) – are playing for the runners-up spot.

Although a defeat could see the Red Devils slip out of the qualification spots with two games to play, United still have a last-16 spot in their hands at this point.

 

BAYERN MUNICH VS AEK ATHENS

Bayern Munich is not achieving their usual tip-top standards so far this season but should have no problems repeating the victory against AEK Athens they recorded two weeks ago.

The German champions won 2-0 in the Greek capital with goals from Javi Martinez and Robert Lewandowski, but they are not in control of Group E for they are level with Ajax in all categories after being held 1-1 at home by the Dutch side.

Greek champions AEK Athens look a little out of their depth in among Europe’s elite and have lost all of their three group games so far, their other road trip resulting in a 3-0 defeat against Ajax.

The one bright spot for AEK is that since their defeat at home to Bayern they have kept three consecutive domestic clean sheets, and that defensive improvement could prevent them from suffering a heavy loss against a team that should again be comfortably too good for them.

 

 

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