The Champions League is back! There are some great games on Matchday One and I am very excited.
Borussia Dortmund 1 v 1 Barcelona – Tuesday 17 September – Champions League – Both Teams to Score (1.45)
This should be a very entertaining game. Both teams recorded big wins at the weekend and are doing well in their domestic leagues. It’s fair to say that Dortmund have underperformed in the Champions League in recent seasons. They’ve only won four of their last ten games in the competition. However, they’ve lost three of their last 18 home games in the group stage. Barcelona will likely be without Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele, although Luis Suarez made a goalscoring return to the team against Valencia and 16-year-old Ansu Fati has scored in his last two games. I’m going for a Draw here.
Napoli 1 v 2 Liverpool – Tuesday – Tuesday 17 September – Champions League – Both Teams to Score (1.55)
Judging by their games so far this season, we can expect plenty of goals when Napoli take on Liverpool. These sides met in the group stage last season, when Napoli went out on goal difference while Liverpool went on to lift the trophy. Napoli have only won three of their last ten games in the Champions League. In contrast, Liverpool have won six of their last ten in the competition and they have started the season very strongly. They have won all five of their league games and I expect them to take three points here too.
Olympiakos 0 v 1 Tottenham – Wednesday 18 September – Champions League – Tottenham Win (1.85)
Tottenham go again after reaching the final in June. They’ve drawn both of their away games this season, although those were at Manchester City and Arsenal, and they warmed up for this game with a 4-0 win against Crystal Palace. Olympiakos have been strong in qualifying with five wins and one draw to reach the group stage. However, they lost five of their six games when they were last in the group stage two seasons ago. Tottenham’s away record in the competition isn’t that impressive, but they should be too strong for the hosts here.
Atletico Madrid 1 v 1 Juventus – Wednesday 18 September – Champions League – Under 2.5 Goals (1.55)
These sides played one another in the knockout stages last season, when Juventus came back from a 2-0 defeat to win 3-2 on aggregate. Since then Atletico have beaten the Old Lady 2-1 in a summer friendly as they cruised through pre-season. However, defeat at the weekend was a major setback to Los Rojiblancos. Juventus also failed to win on Saturday, drawing 0-0 at Fiorentina, and the aim here for both teams will be to avoid defeat. Atletico have won their last five home games in the Champions League, conceding just once. Juventus have the stronger squad though, so I’ll go for a Draw.
PSG 2 v 1 Real Madrid – – Wednesday 18 September – Champions League – Both Teams to Score (1.50)
PSG have started the season strongly and Neymar returned to the team with a last minute winner against Strasbourg at the weekend. Real Madrid, on the other hand, have been inconsistent and had to hold on for a win against Levante. After last season’s disappointing campaign in Europe, Zinedine Zidane is back at the club. He was in charge when Real last played PSG in the 2017/18 season, overseeing wins in both legs. However, this squad is worse than the one he managed then, and I think that PSG can get the win.