That was good, wasn’t it? The Champions League was back with a bang and now it’s time for Matchday 2.
The last round of fixtures didn’t give us too many shocks, perhaps the fact that Dortmund and Barcelona managed to play out a goalless draw being the biggest shock of the lot.
Given the nature of Europe’s elite club competition, every match day throws up a tie that makes you go “ooooh”. Let’s take a look at some of them here.
Liverpool v Salzburg
The defending champions of this competition were given a bloody nose in their opening clash against Napoli, The Reds were beaten 2-0 in Naples but won’t see that as much of a problem given that they lost all their away games in last years group too.
Their opponents, Salzburg ran riot as they beat Genk 6-2 in their opening group game, a first half hat-trick from Norwegian teenager Erling Braut Haland putting them firmly at the top of Group E. It’s always mentioned what effect European nights at Anfield can do to teams and I expect this to be a key factor in the result.
You can count on one hand the amount of times Liverpool have been beaten at home in the last few years and with the potential return of Alisson Becker in goal, I can’t see anything beyond a Liverpool win.
Tottenham v Bayern Munich
Tricky one for Spurs here, they face a Bayern Munich side who beat Crvena Zvezda 3-0 in their opening fixture. Bayern are still unbeaten in the Bundesliga, despite being two points behind leaders RB Leipzig and will look to extend that run.
Tottenham meanwhile look like they haven’t quite recovered from their escapades last year, reaching the final of this competition and finishing fourth in the Premier League. Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says “the fans are right to criticise” after their poor start to the season but a win in this fixture could be a springboard to better things.
Robert Lewandowski and Harry Kane are the obvious goal threats here and while Kane has been his usual prolific self, Lewandowski has 10 goals in all competitions so far this season.
Depending on which Spurs show up, I can see them getting a result against a Bayern side who proved to be a bit vulnerable to pace last season, but it will be a tough test for the North London outfit who have struggled a bit so far this term.
Barcelona v Inter
With all four teams in Group F drawing in match day 1, you could say this group is wide open. Inter left it late to rescue a point against perceived minnows Slavia Prague and will be hoping to land a blow on a Barcelona side who find themselves 4 points off the pace in La Liga.
It’s a return to the Camp Nou for Alexis Sanchez though whether he plays or not is up for debate. Romelu Lukaku will hope to continue his good scoring form for I Nerazzurri and will be encouraged by Barca’s lack of clean sheets this season, they’ve only managed 3 all season.
There is of course the Messi factor and after only playing half an hour in the opening fixture will be raring to go in the competition. He’s got tonnes of quality around him, not that he needs it and Antoine Griezemann, Luis Suarez et al will provide a constant threat to the Milan goal.
Man City v Dinamo Zagreb
Business as usual for City in match day 1, they travelled to Shakhtar and won 3-0 without much trouble at all. They’re back in front of their own fans for this one and Zagreb, while they won impressively in their last fixture, shouldn’t offer much trouble to the Premier League champions.
Early betting show’s Zagreb at 33/1 and above, at the time of writing, so for any sort of value, I’d be looking at Man City in the handicap market.
Real Madrid v Club Brugge
Zinedine Zidane’s men lost their opening fixture against Paris St Germain, forcing his win ratio below 50% since his return to the club at the end of last season.
This game should give them an opportunity to get some points on the board against a Brugge side who laboured to a 0-0 draw against Galatasaray. Los Galacticos have been unbeaten since that night in Paris and haven’t conceded a goal either.
SKarim Benzema should add to his 5 goals this season, I’d expect former Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to have a busy night in the Spanish capital.
FOUR TO SCORE