UEFA Champions League Matchday Three preview


The Champions League gets back underway this week following the international break with several sides in desperate need of victories to spark their European campaign into life.

Group A

Napoli will travel to Amsterdam looking to maintain their perfect start against an Ajax side smarting from their late defeat against Liverpool. The Italians have arguably been the standout side in the competition so far and can take a giant leap towards qualification with a victory in the Dutch capital.

Elsewhere it will be a first ever meeting of Liverpool and Rangers at Anfield with both sides needing wins for different reasons. Liverpool will look to Europe to gain some form after stuttering in the league while Rangers are yet to get off the mark in their return to the top table.

Group B

Club Brugge have arguably been the biggest surprise package in the tournament so far and will look to claim another scalp when they host Atletico Madrid.

The Belgians have made a perfect start and another victory would open a big gap between themselves and third place in the group.

Porto will be aiming to get off the mark after two defeats in their first two games when they host Bayer Leverkusen. The Germans are struggling domestically but did defeat Atletico last time out so they’ll have some belief travelling to Portugal.

Group C

Bayern Munich have once more made an impressive start to a Champions League group stage and will get the action underway on Tuesday when they host Viktoria Plzen in the early kickoff.

The German champions defeated their two biggest group rivals in September and will be expecting to dispatch of their Czech visitors to maintain their lead in the group.

Inter Milan meanwhile will host Barcelona in what is the biggest game of the week.

Both sides came up short when facing Bayern and both defeated Plzen so they’ll view these two upcoming games as the key to deciding who will follow Julien Nagelsmann’s side into the last 16.

Group D

Sporting are another side who have impressed, taking six points in what looked the most open group on paper.

They travel to Marseille on Tuesday who desperately need a win if they are to stand any hope of reaching the next round. The French side have started well in the league but have struggled badly in Europe in recent years and will be desperate to give the home support something to cheer.

Tottenham will visit Eintracht Frankfurt in the other Group D clash looking to bounce back from their weekend defeat to bitter rivals Arsenal and take steps towards qualification. It will be far from easy against the Europa League winners who will also have their sights on the latter stages.

Group E 

AC Milan head what has been a very tight and unpredictable Group E and will host Chelsea on Wednesday night with injuries to key players disrupting their preparation.

French pair Mike Maignan and Theo Hernandez will miss the clash against Graham Potter’s men who needs points themselves having stuttered in their opening two games.

Salzburg are unbeaten thus far but have also yet to win but a victory over Dinamo Zagreb at home would put them in good stead heading into the turn in the group. The Croatians will be aiming for another surprise victory having stunned Chelsea last month.

Group F

Holders Real Madrid have made a serene start to their title defence and host Shakhtar on Wednesday looking to maintain their 100% record.

The visitors have also made a good start to the group and look favourites to join their hosts in the next round.

Celtic will travel to Leipzig looking to build on their credible draw against Shakhtar last time out and will need to get something to keep their qualification hopes alive as will the bottom side from East Germany.

Group G

Erling Haaland has been in utterly sensational form this season with 17 goals so far and the visit of FC Copenhagen will offer the Norwegian another chance to add to his tally.

The Danes picked up a draw against Sevilla three weeks ago but will be up against a Manchester City side brimming with confidence after sticking six goals past their local rivals Manchester United.

Sevilla have made a terrible start in La Liga and need to get something at home to Borussia Dortmund to avoid being cut adrift in terms of qualification. Victory for the Germans will see them move five points clear of their hosts with just three games to play.

Group H

Benfica have been another surprise outfit this season, winning nine of ten games in all competitions and two 100% records will go head to head in this group when they host PSG.

The Lisbon side claimed a stunning victory away at Juventus last time out and even a point here at home to the French champions will boost their chances of repeating what they did last year when they knocked Barcelona out in the group stages.

Juventus will be looking to avoid the same fate as the Spaniards and nothing less than three points against Maccabi Haifa in Turin will do, with manager Max Allegri under all sorts of pressure.

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