Brought to you by
The UEFA Champions League returned with a bang last week with a feast of dramatic goals and shock results during the first round of the 2020/21 group stages.
Reigning champions Bayern Munich made an immediate statement with an impressive result against Atlético Madrid while Shakhtar Donetsk produced the result of the round with a shock 3-2 win over Real Madrid.
It’s all to play for across the eight groups as we head into week two. All eyes are sure to be on the Allianz Stadium in Turin on Wednesday night when Juventus welcome Barcelona for a heavy-weight tie in Group B and it promises to be the clash of the round.
To get you in the mood for the second-round of the group stages, we have devised a tricky test of your Champions League trivia knowledge.
If the quiz isn’t displaying for you properly, click here.
Let’s take a look at the state of play in the different groups as we get ready for a pivotal second round of fixtures.
Bayern took firm control of Group A last week following their fine performance against Atlético, walking away from the Allianz Arena with all three points. Kingsley Coman’s double, as well as strikes from Leon Goretzka and Corentin Tolisso, subjected the Spanish side to their joint-heaviest UEFA Champions League defeat.
Madrid lie at the bottom of Group A on zero points while Salzburg and Lokomotiv Moskva shared the spoils in Austria with a 2-2 draw. Atlético will be hoping to bounce back against Salzburg when they welcome them to the Metropolitano on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, Bayern will travel to face Lokomotiv hoping to extend their dominance at the top of the table.
Group B is shaping up very interestingly following Real Madrid’s surprise loss to Shakhtar last week. The youthful Ukrainian side, which included seven starters aged 21 or under, managed to drill three goals past Zinedine Zidane’s side in the first half thanks to Tetê and Manor Solomon while Raphaël Varane added to Real’s woes with an own goal. Luka Modrić and Vinícius Júnior managed to reduce the goal difference in the second period but it leaves the Spanish outfit in a precarious situation as they travel to second-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, table-toppers Shakhtar will show no fear as they welcome Inter Milan to Kiev. Romelu Lukaku was the hero for Inter in the first week as his 90th-minute strike, adding to his first-half goal, denied the visitors a famous victory in Milan.
While Porto took an early lead in Manchester; Sergio Aguero, İlkay Gündoğan and Ferrán Torres ensured Manchester City took a tentative grasp atop Group C last week though Olympiacos are hot on their tail. The Greek side recorded a 1-0 victory over Marseille and will be hopeful of putting more pressure on City when they travel to take on bottom of the table Porto on Tuesday evening. Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola’s side face a tough task away to Marseille.
Premier League champions Liverpool will be hopeful of a strong result when they welcome Midtjylland to Anfield on Tuesday. Jurgen Klopp’s side had to rely on an own goal from Nicolás Tagliafico to secure the win and three points against Ajax last week. It was a very fortunate win for the Reds with Dušan Tadić and Davy Klaassen piling on the pressure until the end.
However, despite that victory, it is Atalanta who sit top of Group D on goal difference following their 0-4 win away to Midtjylland. They welcome Ajax to Italy this week in what could be a decisive fixture in the battle for control of the group.
It’s all to play for in Group E following two stalemates last week. Krasnodar provisionally sit top of the table following their 1-1 draw away to Rennes, however, Chelsea will be hoping to boost themselves from their bottom of the table standing following their underwhelming 0-0 result against Sevilla, although Édouard Mendy made a promising Champions League debut in goal for the Blues. They travel to Russia on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Sevilla host Rennes at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán on the same evening with kick-off set for 8pm.
Club Brugge and Lazio are currently battling it out for control of Group F and that culminates in a Wednesday evening battle in Belgium. Lazio made an immediate impact on their return to the Champions League last week with an impressive 3-1 defeat of Borussia Dortmund with ex-Dortmund man Ciro Immobile among their scorers. Lucien Favre’s side produced a disappointing performance and will need to beat Zenit on Wednesday to remain in the chase.
The most highly anticipated game of the round takes place in Group G on Wednesday when Juventus host Barcelona in Turin. The Spanish side have a slight advantage over their Italian counterparts when it comes to previous head-to-head battles but Andrea Pirlo’s side will have no fear on their home turf and come into the game off the back of a 0-2 win over Dynamo Kyiv. In the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, it was Álvaro Morata who shone, netting both goals.
Barcelona also got their campaign off to a positive start with a 5-1 victory against Ferencváros despite being down to 10-men following the dismissal of Gerard Piqué. That result sees them lead the way in the group table but Juventus are following closely behind with only goal difference separating the sides. In the group’s other fixture, Ferencváros welcome Kyiv to Budapest on Wednesday.
Manchester United have found themselves in the ‘group of death’, otherwise known as Group H, but so far they have managed to more than hold their own against last season’s beaten finalists Paris Saint-Germain, beaten semi-finalists RB Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side opened up their campaign with a 2-1 win over PSG with Marcus Rashford scoring the winner after Anthony Martial conceded an own goal from Neymar’s corner.
United now face a huge battle against Leipzig at Old Trafford on Wednesday. The German side are currently top of the table following their 2-0 win over Basaksehir but that could all change this week with PSG looking to bounce back in Turkey.
For a full list of this week’s Champions League fixtures, click here.
Follow Pepsi Max!