The Champions League returns to day with some teams already facing must wins games. Here is a preview of this weeks games.
Outlook: When the draw was made, Chelsea and Roma were favorites to qualify from this group. Chelsea were impressive in sweeping aside Bordeaux in Match Day 1, but Roma were upset by Cluj at home. That makes this weeks game away to Bordeaux so critical for Roma. Roma need a win as they face Chelsea away in Match Day 3 and they cannot hope to qualify for the group stages if they have no points after three games. Problem is I don’t think they can win in France.
CFR 1907 Cluj v Chelsea
Yes Cluj won in Rome against Roma, but Chelsea is one of the best teams in Europe and they should win this one comfortably.
Group A – Girondins Bordeaux v AS Roma
This is a game that both teams would like to win, and neither can afford to lose. That usually means a draw and that is what I expect here.
Outlook: Inter were just horrible in the Milan derby this weekend so it will be interesting to see how they bounce back against a Bremen side that was held to a draw at home by Famagusta on Match Day 1. Inter are by far the best team in this group and I expect them to consolidate their place at the top of this group with a win.
Anorthosis Famagusta – Panathinaikos
This will be an interesting game as Anorthosis Famagusta play their first ever Champions League game at home. Having beaten Greek champions Olympiacos CFP to reach the group stage, they welcome Panathinaikos FC to Nicosia.The emotions will be running high here and I expect Panathinaikos to sneak a win
Group B – Internazionale – Werder Bremen
The special one was brought in to win the European Cup and this just another step in that journey. Inter win this one.
Outlook: Tough trip for Barcelona who travel to FC Shakhtar Donetsk for a third time, and will be looking to secure a first away victory over the Ukrainian side. The other game in this group matches two teams who lost in match Day 1 and who cannot afford to drop any more points.
Sporting CP – FC Basel
FC Basel were really disappointing in Match Day 1 and I expect their troubles to continue inn Portugal as Sporting grab all three points..
Group C – Shakhtar Donetsk – FC Barcelona
Barcelona are starting to reach the form they showed in the pre-season, but Shakhtar is a place that they have never won. I expect both teams to share the points in this one.
Outlook: Liverpool and Atletico appear to be the class in this group and I expect them both to get comfortable home wins here
Liverpool – PSV
Liverpool are much too good for a PSV side that got hammered by Atletico in Match Day 1.
Group D – Atlético Madrid – Olympique Marseille
Outlook: Everyone is all tied here on points after both games on Match Day 1 ended up in draws. Manchester United an Villarreal are the class of this group and I expect both of them to win this week.
After drawing Villarreal in the opener, Man Utd. will want to secure three road points against the underdogs from Denmark. Villarreal is especially tough at home and should handle a Celtic squad that has been less than impressive. All four teams took a point from the first game, but you have to feel like Celtic needs the road point this week after dropping points at home to Aalborg.
AaB – Manchester United
Aab got a great point at Celtic, but this would be a massive shock if United do not get all three points.
Group E – Villarreal CF – Celtic
Celtic have an absolutely horrible record away from home and I cannot see then getting anything from this game. Villarreal win this game comfortably.
Outlook: It has been a tough start to the season for both Fiorentina and Bayern Munich and Lyon and Steaua might fancy their chances to both get big wins.
Group F – Bayern München – Olympique Lyon
This is a big match between the champions of Germany and France. This is the fifth time these two teams have met, with Bayern only winning one of them. This game has upset potential and I think that Lyon will go into Munch and shock Bayern here./
Group F – Fiorentina – Steaua Bucuresti
This will be a really tough game for Fiorentina and one that they need to win if they have any hope of advancing to the group stages. Fiorentina have not been that impressive this season and I am looking for Steaua to go in and grab all three points here.
Outlook: Two teams, Arsenal and Fenerbahçe both have impressive home record. Porto might have the only win so far in this group, but Arsenal will be looking to rebound after a terrible home loss in the Premier League. Kyiv face a daunting task against a Fenerbahçe team that has not lost at home in three years in the Champions League
Group G – Arsenal – FC Porto
Arsenal rebound back to form after a shocking home loss to Hull City over the weekend by defeating Porto at the Emirates. Porto have lost on nine of ten previous visits to England, including a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal in September 2006, and I don’t expect that record to improve here. Arsenal win this one.
Group G – Fenerbahçe – Dynamo Kyiv
Porto took apart Fenerbahce on Match Day 1, but Fenerbahce at home is a very different team. They have won their last eight Champions League games at home and I cannot see Kyiv getting anything from this match. I expect Fenerbahce to get all three points here.
Outlook: This is my favorite group as I expect that whoever comes in third will challenge AC Milan for the UEFA Cup.
Group H – BATE Borisov – Juventus
This is a tough game on the road for Juventus, but I expect them to grab all three points here.
Group H – Zenit St. Petersburg – Real Madrid
This is the most intriguing game of Match Day 2. If Zenit is going to qualify from this group it needs to win its home games are they are facing a Madrid side that does not travel well. Real have not won away in the Champions League in two years and I don’t expect that record to end here. Zenit wins this one at home in a cracking game.