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Sometimes the early stages of the Champions League don’t prove to be all that interesting in the grand scheme of things. Even the matches between the biggest teams in the world don’t turn out to be all that important, knowing that both teams usually get through to the knockout rounds of this competition in fine form. That said, it’s always a real thrill when we get the chance to see two of the best in the world on the pitch together, and we’re going to see that on Wednesday night at the Parc des Princes when PSG hosts Bayern Munich.
A legitimate case could be made that these are two of the best teams in the world squaring off with one another. The Parisian side will, of course, have the names to compete with anyone on the planet after adding Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the August transfer window. That said, is the club really set to be an odds-on favorite at home against Bayern Munich?
The Reds aren’t going to mind the result in this match; they know that bigger fixtures are ahead in February in the knockout rounds. That said, if they can win this fixture, they can probably avoid finishing second to PSG in this group and set themselves up for a date in the Round of 16 against a second place finisher instead of a group winner.
Can you imagine seeing Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in the Round of 16? It’s entirely possible and would be even more likely if Bayern was to go on the road and punt all three points in Paris.
The drama is otherwise fairly low in the Champions League this week. The biggest thing to keep an eye on is whether the teams that should be putting groups away early on manage to do so.
Manchester United has the ability to do that if it can beat CSKA Moscow on the road. A victory would leave the Red Devils three clear of the rest of the field whilst they would already have three points in their hardest road match of the three to be played in Group A.
The same could be said for Chelsea if it can go to Spanish soil and beat Atletico Madrid. AS Roma would be just two points back after snaring all three at Qarabag (presumably). That said, in the next round of fixtures in October, Roma has to come to Stamford Bridge, a place where the Blues aren’t likely to be coughing up points.
Group E was perhaps the most interesting in the opening round of fixtures, as all four teams finished with just a point to show for their efforts. It wasn’t a result that was anywhere near good enough for Spartak Moscow or Maribor, as both probably needed six points against the other to have any real hopes of advancing. Now, the two minnows have to face Liverpool and Sevilla respectively. If either one pulls off this upset, it will toss this group straight into the fire with four fixtures left to play.
The team on the hottest seat heading into the second match day of the UCL is clearly Borussia Dortmund. BVB was beaten 3-1 by Tottenham to start this competition. Now, it has to play against Real Madrid at home. You hate to say that this is a match where a team absolutely has to get a result to stay alive, but Tottenham isn’t backing down against APOEL. If Real and Spurs are on six points through two matches before Dortmund gets off to mark, it could be all over before it gets started. One of these three teams has to drop into the Europa League, and BVB already has the inside track to being that unfortunate team if it can’t hold serve at home against Real.
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