Matchday 2 of the Champions League group stage will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
After last week’s 16 enthralling matches kicked off the premier club tournament, there will be more on the line this time around.
Two losses could very well be deadly for several teams, while others will want to take advantage of an ideal start.
Before we get to this week’s action, here is a review as to what went on in the first round of play.
Champions League headaches for Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter, Leipzig
The biggest shock of the first round came in Croatia as Dinamo Zagreb defeated Chelsea 1-0. The 2020-21 champions now have their backs against the wall and the stunning result proved to be the last straw for Thomas Tuchel as the German was sacked upon returning to London.
Later that Tuesday, Leipzig was also humbled as Shakhtar Donetsk put four past the German side in a 4-1 win. Like Chelsea, the result spelled the end for their coach, Domenico Tedesco. After guiding the club to their first major silverware last season, he got the ax for the poor start.
As for the other Tuesday games, Juventus dropped their opener 2-1 to PSG in France, the Bianconeri far from convincing in their tie. The other match in Group H saw Benfica defeat Maccabi Haifa 2-0, propelling the Portuguese club to an early lead in the section.
Borussia Dortmund had a convincing 3-0 win at home to FC København with relatively no trouble. The same could be said for Manchester City, who piled further misery on Sevilla with a 4-0 pummeling in Andalusia.
AC Milan and Salzburg played out to a 1-1 draw in the other game in Chelsea’s group, while defending champions Real Madrid got off to the perfect start with a 3-0 success at Celtic.
Inter could not have asked for a worse start as they were beaten 2-0 at home to Bayern in the repeat of the 2009-10 final. Barcelona was more than comfortable in their 5-1 thrashing of Viktoria Plzen in the other Group C encounter.
Club Brugge got the better of Bayer Leverkusen with a 1-0 success at home. Drama unfolded in the other Group B game, as Atletico Madrid and Porto scored all of their goals in second half stoppage time, the former claiming a 2-1 victory courtesy of a 101st-minute winner.
Sporting CP made light work of Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt, taking three goals and three points back to Portugal in the 3-0 win. Group D’s round of fixtures was completed with a 2-0 Spurs win at the expense of 10-man Olympique Marseille.
Last season’s finalists Liverpool were well beaten in a 4-1 drubbing in Italy against an energetic Napoli side. The Partenopei certainly sent shockwaves across Europe with that result. The earlier game in that group saw Ajax give Rangers a 4-0 beating in Amsterdam.
Lewandowski, Haaland, Di Maria set for reunions with old clubs
Of the 16 ties in this round, three of them will see a pair of former winners going at it. Maybe the most underrated of the three would be the tie between Ajax and Liverpool.
With the Reds off to a poor start for their standards, a win at home to the Eredivisie pacesetters is a must. The other game in the group was pushed to Wednesday due to unforeseen circumstances as Rangers will host Napoli. The Glaswegians will need to pick up the slack from the embarrassment of the first game.
Group B will see Porto welcome Club Brugge. The Belgian champions will look to capitalize on their first game and take a commanding position in the group. The same can be said for Atletico Madrid who will head to Germany to battle Bayer Leverkusen. Die Werkself has had a sluggish start to their season and defeat at the BayArena could make it incredibly difficult for them to have any hopes at moving on from the section.
The headlines in Munich will be the return of Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker will face off against his former employers for the first time since leaving the club in the summer. Lewy’s Barcelona will look for a better outcome than their last three outings against the German giants, which included an 8-2 thrashing during the pandemic season.
In the other game in that group, Inter heads to Czechia to face Viktoria Plzen, both sides looking for a more positive result.
Group D will have Marseille host Eintracht Frankfurt in what should be an interesting encounter. The French side’s reverse last week was the only defeat of their season so far as they have looked impressive. They will surely be favourites.
Sporting CP hosts Spurs in the other match of the group, the Portuguese team’s last Champions League home game was the 5-0 humiliation they received at the expense of Manchester City earlier this year in last season’s Round of 16.
AC Milan and Dinamo Zagreb will face off at the San Siro, the Croatian champions trying to do the unthinkable and pull off two incredible scalps. The Scudetto winners have not won a Champions League home game in almost a decade and will want to change that on Wednesday night.
In the other group game, Chelsea hosts Salzburg in Graham Potter’s first game in the dugout. He will need to turn fortunes around in this game otherwise the Blues will be under siege in hopes in progressing.
Shakhtar Donetsk, shock winners last week, host Celtic with a chance to go two wins from two. The Scottish champs’ last win in the Champions League proper came in a group in the 2017-18 season, away to Anderlecht. Can they reproduce that magic once more?
Real Madrid hosts Leipzig in the other game. The Germans are unbeaten against Spanish clubs in Europe (2-1-0) though it will take a big effort to keep that record going.
Erling Haaland will reunite with his former Borussia Dortmund teammates and coaches as the German club heads to Manchester to face an in-form City. Pep Guardiola’s men are on a mission to finally add the Champions League to their trophy cabinet and are already off to a flying start.
In the other game, two struggling sides go at it as Sevilla travels to Denmark to face FC København. This could be the battle for third, so three points would go a long way for both clubs.
Another reunion will take place for Angel Di Maria as his Juventus side hosts the first European club he played for, Benfica. Given the sides’ contrasting starts to the season, it would not be unheard of should the Lisbon-based team claims three points.
PSG heads to Israel to face Maccabi Haifa, who will have to do well to avoid a proper beating against the likes of Neymar, Lionel Messi, and Kylian Mbappe.