Last week, the best 32 teams in Europe kicked off their Champions League campaign. Only half of the elites would make it to the knockouts — the pre-quarter-finals — and inch closer to the “Ol’ Big Ears.”
Most of the favourites managed to get three points on board in the first Gameweek. The ones who stumbled would look to do better, this week. And here are the five games you shouldn’t miss, this Tuesday and Wednesday.
#5 Istanbul Basaksehir vs PSG — Wednesday
Wednesday night’s encounter will see the champions of Turkey welcoming the kings of France. Both teams are coming into the match on the back of disappointing defeats on the first Matchday and are eager to return to winning ways as soon as possible.
On paper, PSG are the better team, by a landslide. However, their knack for bottling in the most crucial stage can’t be taken for granted.
When charged, Istanbul Basaksehir are capable of doing some serious damage, especially at home. Given the venue, PSG’s psychological fragility, and the desperation at play, we expect a topsy-turvy encounter.
#4 Atalanta vs Ajax — Tuesday
Juventus have been ruling Italy for the better part of a decade now. However, when it comes to producing engaging football, the Bianconeri tend to fall embarrassingly short. That crown of exhilaration falls safely to Italian high-flyers, Atalanta.
The Lombardy-based powerhouse kicked off their Champions League journey in astounding fashion, recording a massive 4-0 win over Danish outfit FC Midtjylland. They didn’t allow Midtjylland to get a foothold and cruised to an easy win.
They’ll, of course, carry the confidence to the next group stage encounter against Ajax. The Dutch side fell to a 1-0 defeat against Liverpool, but they had plenty of promise going forward. We anticipate a gripping session of football.
#3 Borussia Monchengladbach vs Real Madrid — Tuesday
Having played out a 2-2 draw against Italian giants — Inter Milan — in their Champions League opener, Monchengladbach would welcome 13-time champions, Real Madrid to town on Tuesday.
The German outfit has plenty of ideas going forward and would look to dazzle Los Blancos with them.
Zinedine Zidane’s men would come into the match on the back of a massive 3-1 win over Barcelona at the Camp Nou. Their Champions League journey didn’t get off to a great start in the last match day, of course — falling to a 3-2 home defeat against Shakhtar Donetsk.
This week, infused with the Clasico confidence, they’d look to set the record straight and put three points on the European board.
#2 Manchester United vs RB Leipzig — Wednesday
Despite their misfortunes in the English Premier League, Manchester United still somehow managed to get a 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain, away from home, on Champions League Matchday 01.
Last week’s win should get them enough confidence to take on RB Leipzig — the current table-toppers — head on.
Leipzig, of course, are in good shape, both domestically and in Europe. Their at the top of the table in Germany and would look extend their winning run in Europe.
Even without Timo Werner, they always seem to find an abundance of influence in the final-third, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must prepare his team for the inevitable bombardment.
#1 Juventus vs Barcelona — Wednesday
Champions League has a reputation for pitting the biggest European clubs against one another, even in the group stages. This year, it’s given us the opportunity to see Lionel Messi face Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League, probably for one last time.
And very few things can eclipse the aura these two superstars bring to the table. Ronaldo, despite being COVID positive currently, could feature against the Blaugrana.
In the Champions League, Juventus and Barcelona both got off to a winning start, last week. Domestically, however, both giants have struggled quite noticeably. They need a win to get their groove back, and a win on Wednesday is guaranteed to go a long way.