Tottenham Hotspur welcome Spanish champions Barcelona to Wembley on this crucial match day for the Londoners who have big aspiration in this tournament. Manchester City need to respond positively after their surprise home defeat to Lyon on Match Day 1 and last season finalist, Liverpool travel to Naples to face Napoli in a mouthwatering fixture. Jose Mourinho and Manchester United need to focus their attention on another important game in the group when Valencia come calling at Old Trafford.
Here is our preview of some matches across the eight groups.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND v AS MONACO – WED. 03 OCT 2018, 20.00HRS
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Dortmund face Monaco for the first time since their quarter finals meeting two seasons ago when the German team suffered a terror attack on their team bus and the French team won both legs. Die Schwarzgelben scrapped an away win in Beligum in the opening round of the group stage while Les Monégasques lost at home to Atletico Madrid. Lucien Favre team are performing well domestically and will aim to carry on such form to the continent against an out-of-sorts Monaco whose wheels look to be coming off really bad this season. The French club are not as strong as the team that play Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park two seasons ago even if the coach is the same.
VERDICT – Monaco have the better head-to-head record (2-0) in their previous meetings but Lucien Favre OGC Nice team defeated AS Monaco twice in the French Ligue 1 when he was still in France. BVB are unbeaten in their last eight matches winning six and securing two draws. ASM are on a bad patch with three draws and five defeats in their last eight matches. With everything considered, it is highly unlikely that Les Rouges et Blancs to get anything from this game. Our prediction is a home win.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v BARCELONA – WED. 03 OCT 2018, 20.00HRS
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This isn’t a better time for Spurs to play Barca who seem to have hit a slump; they are winless in their last three league matches since their opening day victory over PSV in the Champions League. Mauricio Pochettino men suffered a late collapse and heart break in Milan two weeks ago losing to Internazionale having controlled the game for a large period. The margin for error in this competition is slim which means a second defeat to the Londoners could be disastrous. The Spanish champions need to turn the corner having hit a bad patch with the pressure building. Ernesto Valverde’s team are not playing at their full potential and will be wary of a rampant Spurs who need this vital victory to keep their chances alive in the group
VERDICT – Spurs defeated last season champions Real Madrid and should have similar belief to do same to the Catalan giants when they face each other in Wembley. Harry Kane is back in scoring form which is a boost for his team but Lionel Messi has a fantastic record against English opponents and he would be the man to lead Los Cules attack. We anticipate a game with good football with both teams aiming to outdo each other and we believe there would be goals in it. Over 2.5 goals is our prediction.
NAPOLI v LIVERPOOL – WED. 03 OCT 2018, 20.00HRS
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Napoli welcome Liverpool to Stadio San Paolo for in an important game for the home team who failed to get a victory against Crvena zvezda. Last season finalist Liverpool secured an opening day victory at home against Paris Saint-Germain and will aim to consolidate by ensuring they do not lose in Italy. Napoli will need to win this game if they hope to progress to the next round with their next two matches against PSG home and away. Carlo Ancelotti has had good and bad results but his last meeting with the Reds ended in two group stage wins for Real Madrid when he was still in charge. Liverpool’s strong start to the season is a clear indication of how far they have come under Jurgen Klopp and they need to be considered as a force in this competition either at home or away.
VERDICT – These two teams have met in the 2010/11 Europa League group stages with the Reds winning one and drawing the other in Italy. Liverpool will likely adopt their attacking approach in search of a victory but the Partenopei are tough to beat at home. Both teams love to play on the front foot so we are guaranteed goals in Naples. Both teams to get on the score sheet is our prediction.
BAYERN MUNICH v AJAX AFC – TUE. 02 OCT 2018, 20.00HRS
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Ajax coach Erik teg Hag returns to Bayern for this first time since he left the club in 2015 when he was the reserve team coach leading Dutch giants Ajax to the Allianz Arena for this Group E Champions League match. Bayern Munich and Ajax Amsterdam won their opening group matches which means the winner on Tuesday night will automatically be the leader in the group going into Match Day 3. Bayern are winless in their last two Bundesliga matches and the performance at the Olympic stadium in Berlin against Hertha was tepid. Nico Kovac is calling this a game between two great clubs, we hope the game would provide football it deserves.
VERDICT – Bayern have won their last 12 group stage home matches. Both teams met at this stage of the competition in the 2004/05 season with the German giants crushing Ajax 4-0 at home and earning a draw away. Die Roten will target this game as a perfect opportunity to improve their current fortunes while Ajax have stuttered on the road this season including losing 3-0 to PSV. The home team are the favorites and will be too strong for the visitor. Our prediction is a home win and over 2.5 goals to be scored.
HOFFENHEIM v MANCHESTER CITY – TUE. 02 OCT 2018, 17.55HRS
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Manchester City home loss to Olympique Lyonnais was one of the surprise result of the Match Day 1. Hoffenheim got a good result away at Shakhtar in their Champions League debut. The English champions moved to the top of the log in the Premier League this weekend and as Pep Guardiola stated, they have five finals left in this competition if they are to qualify to the next round. Hoffenheim have made an inconsistent start to the Bundesliga season but will need to brave plan if they are to earn any result against the Citizens.
VERDICT – This is the first competitive meeting between these two clubs. City home loss to Lyon made it four consecutive defeats in the Champions League; a rot Pep Guardiola will want to stop. Hoffenheim unbeaten run at home came to an end this weekend against Leipzig and the German club have been shipping in goals lately. Against a free scoring Manchester who are favorites, it is unlikely the home team can secure a victory in front of their fans. An away victory is on the cards.
MANCHESTER UNITED v VALENCIA – TUE. 02 OCT 2018, 20.00HRS
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It has been a difficult week at Manchester United both on the pitch and off it to the extent that Jose Mourinho’s future is already been discussed. The start to the season has been less than ideal for the Red Devils but their opening day victory over Young Boys means they can face Los Che without pressure before the double header against Juventus. Valencia have had a poor start to the season too including a 2-0 home loss to Juventus on Match Day 1. Marcelino team have struggled for form but winning just two of their last eight matches ahead of their trip to Old Trafford. Without any point on board, the Spanish club will aim to exploit the dressing disharmony in United camp whey they play Man United on Tuesday evening.
VERDICT – Manchester United have the better head-to-head record against their Spanish opponent having never lost to their visitors in eight previous meetings (4W, 4D). Neither side are in good form at the moment but Manchester United look to have more problems with the manager not on good terms with Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez dropped last weekend. It is difficult predicting this game as we do not know what to expect for either team so we are going for a conservative prediction here. Over 1.5 goals is our safe bet.
This wraps us our Match day 2 Focus. The UEFA Champions League preview returns in a fortnight. Predict and win big in this money spinning competition by visiting our Sports shop Babaijebu.ng for mouthwatering offers for all UCL matches.