The best club tournament in the world returns this week, as Real Madrid will begin defence of their Champions League trophy on Tuesday.
The competition kicks off with an array of enticing fixtures, including Arsenal’s trip to Borussia Dortmund, the first of three showdowns between the Premier League and Bundesliga, as Manchester City also play Bayern Munich and Chelsea meet Schalke.
Benfica- Zenit St Petersburg
Match of the day: Real Madrid-Basel, Group B, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
The storm clouds are surrounding Carlo Ancelotti and Real Madrid as the sale of Xabi Alonso and Angel Di Maria has disruption the team’s balance. New signings Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez are struggling to live up to expectations and the pressure is on the champs after they lost two of their opening three Liga fixtures, including Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Atletico Madrid. Should the shaky start continue at the Santiago Bernabeu, Marco Streller and Co will need no invitation to take advantage for Basel.
Games between Arsenal and Dortmund are fast becoming a Champions League staple, with the ambitious outsiders set to meet for the seventh time overall after being drawn together for the third time in four seasons at this stage. The Gunners go into their latest meeting with a slight advantage in terms of past results, thanks to a record of three wins, one draw and two defeats.