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Last week, on Matchday 2 of the UEFA Champions League, we were graced with more goals, more drama, and more unpredictable encounters.
Most of the big teams managed to produce impressive results, giving us a glimpse of what to expect in the most decorated cup competition of Europe. Giant killers, too, were impressive in bits and pieces — managing to infuse a dose of unpredictability we all crave.
The third Matchday promises to add to the excitement of last week. It will also give us an idea of how the table might look like at the end of the group stage. Predictability or surprises? Let’s look at the top five fixtures of Matchday 03 of the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League.
#5 Lokomotiv Moscow vs Atletico Madrid – Tuesday
When Atletico Madrid were pitted in the same Champions League group as the defending champions, Bayern Munich, not many expected Diego Simeone’s men to take the fight to the Bavarians.
So far, that’s exactly how the story has panned out. Despite their quality, they failed to put pressure on Bayern on the opening Matchday and are now scouring for a second-place finish.
In all honesty, Lokomotiv Moscow aren’t exactly in the same league as Atletico Madrid, but their unabashed underdog persona is hard to miss.
It’s highly unlikely, but a win would allow the Russian outfit to leapfrog Atletico in league standings, and they’d give their all to make that dream a reality.
#4 Club Brugge vs Borussia Dortmund – Wednesday
Beaten to the bunch by Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga last season, Borussia Dortmund promised to make a name for themselves in the Champions League in the present campaign.
They have an abundance of quality, of course, but the results have not been very favourable. They recovered from the defeat against Lazio with a win over Zenit, last week, but it’s unlikely to be as straightforward at Brugge.
The Belgian Pro League outfit have presented a healthy mix of attack and defence, this season, and would feel confident to get all three points on the board against an out-of-sorts Dortmund outfit. A win is of paramount importance.
#3 Atalanta vs Liverpool — Wednesday
Despite their humble history, Atalanta have won the right to dine at the big boys’ table in Europe. The team aren’t as illustrious as some of the other names in the Champions League, of course, but their football is certainly praise-worthy.
They have picked up four points so far in the Champions League and would look to get into a comfortable position with a victory on Tuesday.
Their rivals, of course, are none other than the 2018/19 Champions League winners — Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s men have picked up two wins from as many outings and would love to keep their winning streak going.
Atalanta and Liverpool who have scored six and three goals, respectively, are bound to take us on a rollercoaster on Matchday 3.
#2 RB Leipzig vs PSG – Wednesday
When the draw was made over a month ago, many dubbed it as the Champions League’s group of death — especially for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United.
RB Leipzig and PSG, thanks to their domestic supremacy, started as favourites to book the top two spots. Now, hours before the third matchday, the German and French outfits find themselves in an uncomfortable situation.
Having lost to Manchester United, both Leipzig and PSG are in dire need to get a win on Wednesday. Both teams possess plenty of firepower and quality, which makes this a difficult one to call.
Don’t be surprised to see a goal-fest at the Red Bull Arena.
#1 Real Madrid vs Inter Milan — Tuesday
13-time European champions, Real Madrid, went to Borussia Monchengladbach with a spring in their steps. Their massive Clasico win over Barcelona should’ve helped them ease past a struggling Monchengladbach, but the reality was quite the opposite.
Los Blancos needed two clinical match-saving strikes in the dying minutes of the match to salvage a point — which saw them move down to the bottom of the table after the opening two rounds of fixtures.
This week, they’ll take on Inter Milan, who are also desperate for a win after the stalemate against Shakhtar Donetsk, last week.
With Eden Hazard back and firing on all cylinders, Real Madrid would be hoping to bag three points, and it’d be interesting to see how Inter respond to the threat.