Friday, March 24, 2023

UEFA Champions League Is Back, PSG, Juve Clashes And Other Fixtures, And Prediction

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The UEFA Champions League is back and day one sees fixtures of great European clubs clash.

Introduced in 1955 as the Coupe des Clubs Champions Européens (French for European Champion Clubs’ Cup), and commonly known as the European Cup, it was initially a straight knockout tournament open only to the champions of Europe’s domestic leagues, with its winner reckoned as the European club champion.

Champions League took on its current name in 1992, adding a round-robin group stage in 1991 and allowing multiple entrants from certain countries since the 1997–98 season.

Fixtures for 6th Sept. 2022.

D. Zagreb vs Chelsea (17:45): Despite Chelsea’s exit at the quarter-finals last season, the 2020/21 winners suffered just two defeats in last year’s edition and are being heavily backed to progress out of the group with ease, especially given they’ve managed to do so in 17 of their last 18 appearances at this stage.

Prediction: 0-2

Champions League

Dortmund vs FC Copenhagen(17:45): Borussia Dortmund returns to UEFA Champions League (UCL) action in search of bettering their group stage exit from last season. Looking to end that unbeaten run is Copenhagen, the Danish record holders for Champions League group stage appearances (five) despite this being their first since 2016/17.

Prediction: 1-0

READ ALSO: Phil Jones Kicked Out Of Manchester United’s Dressing Room

Benfica vs Maccabi Haifa(20:00): The current Liga Portugal leaders were victorious in all four of their UCL qualifiers, scoring 12 goals in the process, whilst their domestic form makes them the only side in Portugal’s top-flight to win their opening five league games. Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa are making their first UCL appearance since losing all six of their group stage fixtures in 2009 – a group which incidentally also included Juventus.

Prediction: 3-0

Celtic vs Madrid(20:00): Celtic captain Callum McGregor said he wanted Real Madrid so he’s got his wish as they open their European campaign against the reigning champions. Even though Madrid has made a perfect start to their league campaign (W4), manager Carlo Ancelotti expects a tricky time in Glasgow. Calling it the “most important game of the first part of the season.” He expects Celtic to make life “very difficult” for them.

Prediction: 0-2

Paris SG vs Juventus(20:00): We could be in for a quick start if recent seasons are anything to go by too, as either a PSG or Juventus player scored the very first goal of the new Champions League campaign in three of the last seven seasons, with both of PSG’s goals in that run being scored at home within five minutes.

Prediction: 3-1

RB Leipzig vs Shakhtar Donetsk(20:00): Leipzig’s slow start to the season was beginning to show signs of resurgence courtesy of ten goals across back-to-back victories against Wolfsburg (W 2-0) and fourth-tier club Teutonia Ottensen (W 8-0). Donetsk had an extra day to freshen up for this trip after consecutive 1-0 domestic victories, but could still be short of match practice owing to the late start of Ukraine’s Premier League.

Prediction: 3-0

Salzburg vs AC Milan(20:00): Salzburg are in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stage for the fourth time in a row. This year’s draw has been somewhat unkind though, with the Austrian champions set to face two multi-UCL winners. AC Milan will arrive full of confidence after securing an impressive 3-2 victory over bitter rivals Inter on Saturday, giving them their best five-game start to a Serie A title defence this century (W3, D2).

Prediction: 1-1

Sevilla vs Man City(20:00): last weekend’s 3-0 defeat to Barcelona will have been disappointing to Sevillistas, but it was also the first time they’ve conceded more than two goals in a competitive contest since April. Sevilla has faltered when hosting games in this competition, however, losing four of their last eight Champions League home matches (W3, D1). Some will wonder how City are still yet to lay their hands on ‘Big Ears’, but another UCL campaign begins with the Sky Blues entering as favourites for the trophy once more.

Prediction: 1-4

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Photo Credit: Getty

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