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2019-20 UEFA Champions League Preview – (Match Day 2)

The UEFA Champions League returns this week; debutant Atalanta entertain Shakhtar Donetsk as both teams go in search of their first win in the group stage. Last season finalist, Tottenham Hotspur host one of Europe’s powerhouse Bayern Munich in the biggest game of Group B and in Catalonia, Barcelona without inspirational leader Leo Messi welcome Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan to the Camp Nou in another Group F mouthwatering encounter.

Here is our preview of some matches across the eight groups.

Group B;

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Tottenham have made a poor start to the season. Spurs have lost at home and on the road in the league just seven games into the new season; they haven’t impressed so far, managing to win only three matches in their last nine fixtures in all competitions. Bayern are back to the top of the Bundesliga; they haven’t been imperious either but Nico Kovac’s men have got the job done including opening Group B with a victory against Crvena Zvezda at home. Philippe Coutinho is settling into his new environment in Bavaria and his knowledge of opponent whom he played against several times during his time at Liverpool will be valuable to FC Hollywood.

VERDICT – Tottenham and Bayern Munich are meeting for the first time in more than 35 years in Europe despite having experienced contrasting fortunes in the first round of Group B games. However, they have met in 2019 Audi Cup Semi-Final and Spurs won 3-2 in penalties after extra time. This is an important game for the host but their current form doesn’t inspire confidence. Both teams to score

Group C;

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Atalanta’s dream debut turned into a nightmare a fortnight ago at Stadion Maksimir, their host Dinamo Zagreb crushed them and walked away with the three points. Shakhtar suffered a home loss to Manchester City as well which makes this an important game for both teams who have eyes on second spot behind the English champions. La Dea have recovered after the disaster of Zagreb in the Serie A with two away victories against Roma and Sassuolo. Shakhtar travel to the San Siro in confidence with two domestic victories after the City’s loss at home.

VERDICT – This is the sides’ first meeting, and Atalanta’s first match against a Ukrainian club. Atalanta are unbeaten in 12 European home matches (6W, 6D); Shakhtar have won only one of their 11 games in Italy (1W, 2D, 8L). Gian Piero Gasperini’s team have managed just one clean sheet in the last six matches and that should give the visitors some joy that they can get a goal or more in Milan. We anticipate an exciting game with goals. Over 2.5 goals

Group D;

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Italian champions Juventus missed a golden opportunity to start the group phase with a victory in Madrid. The Old Lady lost a two-goal lead against Atletico Madrid to settle for a draw. Bayer Leverkusen suffered their own disappointment going down 2-1 at home to Lokomotiv Moscow in the group game on Match Day 1. The Germans haven’t found Italy a good hunting ground over the years; their last trip to Turin to face Juventus was in 2001-02 season where they were thumped four nil. Juventus have won three straight league matches after the draw in Madrid while Leverkusen have recovered from the Lokomotiv game with two victories in the Bundesliga.

VERDICT – Juve have lost only four of their 38 European matches at the Juventus Stadium (22W, 12D), although three of those defeats have come in their last six matches. The last German team to win was Bayern Munich in 2013. Die Werkself have lost only two of their last 11 European away games (4W, 5D), racking up ten goals on the road in last season’s UEFA Europa League group stage. Maurizio Sarri’s troops are still undefeated this season in all competitions (5W, 2D). They have enough in them to secure a win at home.

Group F;

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It is the second group stage meeting between Spanish champions Barcelona and Italian giants Inter in consecutive seasons. The Italians make the trip to the Camp Nou aiming to end their poor record of failing to score in Catalonia after four visits. Interestingly, every member of this group has one point after Match Day 1. Barcelona left Dortmund with a point thanks to the heroics of Marc-André ter Stegen in goal while Inter had to rally for a draw against Slavia Prague at home. With the group widely open, both sides will have a go for maximum points in this game.

VERDICT – Barcelona are unbeaten in 32 UEFA Champions League home matches, a run that started in September 2013 (29W, 3D). Inter are without a victory in their last five UEFA Champions League matches (3D, 2L), scoring just three goals. The Nerazzurris need to improve their form in this competition; they are enjoying an impeccable run in the domestic league. Leo Messi is a doubt for this game but Barca brilliant home form gives them the edge and they should deliver.

(Photo credit: SASCHA SCHUERMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

Group G;

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Leipzig suffered a shock home defeat in the Bundesliga before French outfit Lyon arrive at the Red Bull Arena for Wednesday clash. Les Gones early season form has deserted them, no victory in the last seven matches in all competitions. Nantes victory at the Groupama stadium has increased pressure on rookie manager Slyvinho whose future is being considered. Leipzig kicked off Group G with a victory in Lisbon and will look to make it two wins on the spin against an out of form Lyon who were held at home against Zenit Saint Petersburg.

VERDICT – Leipzig have won seven of their 12 home European matches (2D, 3L). RBL’s first European home game was a 1-1 draw against another French side, Monaco, on matchday one two years ago. Lyon have lost only two of their last nine European away fixtures (4W, 3D). They picked up five points away from home in the 2018-19 group stage. This is a tricky game for Leipzig considering last weekend’s result and Lyon’s away form in this competition. Over 2.5 goals 

Group H;

LILLE OSC v CHELSEA – WED. 02 OCT 2019, 20.00HRS
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LOSC Lille and Chelsea will both look to kick-start their respective Champions League campaigns as they meet at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in the second round of games. Both teams suffered opening day defeats; they need three points to get back in contention in Group H. Lille suffered a heavy defeat in Amsterdam against Ajax on opening night while the Blues failed to take any point at home against Valencia. Both teams warmed up with convincing victories in their domestic leagues against Racing Strasbourg and Brighton.

VERDICT – This is the first meeting between these two teams. LOSC have won two of their six games against English visitors (2W, 3D, 1L). Chelsea are undefeated in seven European away matches (5W, 2D), and have won ten of their last 19 European away fixtures (5D, 4L). LOSC have won all four home matches in 2019-20, scoring nine goals and conceding two. The Blues have won two of their last three matches on the road and managed their first clean sheet of the season against Brighton. Both teams to score.

This wraps us our Match Day 2 Focus; predict and win big in this money-spinning competition by visiting our Sports shop for mouthwatering offers in all 16 matches for Match Day 2. The UEFA Champions League preview returns in a fortnight.

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