The Champions League group matches are often tepid affairs, with few surprises and too many small teams that have no chance of winning a game. But that this not the case this week as we have two massive games; Real Madrid v Manchester City and Chelsea v Juventus.
Here is a look at the matchday one games this week.
Group A (Dinamo Zagreb v Porto; Paris Saint-Germain v Dynamo Kyiv)
While PSG have struggled a little getting their domestic campaign of the ground, they big spending French side outspent everyone this summer because they wanted to compete with the biggest clubs in Europe. Dinamo and Porto have met four times – and on each occasion the home team claimed victory, their last contests coming in the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League.
Group B (Montpellier v Arsenal FC; Olympiacos v Schalke)
It a reunion for Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud who left Montpellier for Arsenal this summer in a £12million move. Giroud has struggled to settle in at the Emirates and Arsene Wenger will be hoping that a return to a familiar ground will kick start Giroud’s season.
Group C (Málaga v FC Zenit St Petersburg; AC Milan v Anderlecht)
This group probably has the most questions marks. How quickly can Zenit (who lost over the weekend) bed in its new tansfer window signings? Milan revamped their squad this summer and look a shadow of their former self and how will Malaga’s off the field financial problems impact the teams performance?
Group D (Borussia Dortmund v AFC Ajax; Real Madrid v Manchester City)
The “Group of Champions” throws up a mouth watering meeting between the nouveau riche of Manchester City and footballing royalty in Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Group E (Shakhtar Donetsk v Nordsjælland; Chelsea v Juventus)
The European Champions begin defence of their title at home to Italian giants Juventus in the pick of the Wednesday’s games. For all their trophies and history, England has not been a happy destination for Juve, who have won just two of 18 away games in England.
Group F (Lille v BATE Borisov; Bayern München v Valencia)
The Bayern Munich v Valencia game is a repeat of the 2001 final which Bayern won in a penalty shoot-out, something they could not replicate in May at home to Chelsea in the Champions League Final. With two defeats in the last three Champions League Finals, can Bayern go one step further this year and lift the trophy?
Group G (Barcelona v Spartak Moskva; Celtic v Benfica)
Barcelona have not missed a step this summer when Tito Vilanova took over for Pep Guardiola, and Tito will be looking for his first European win as Barca manager. The other three sides are all playing for second place in this group.
Group H (Manchester United v Galatasaray; Braga v Cluj)
On paper this should be an easy group for Manchester United to top, but then I said that twelve months ago and they shockingly failed to make it out of the group stages. Will Turkish giants Galatasaray be able to turn their passionate home support into enough points to advance to the knockout stages?
What games are you looking forward to this week?