This week the UEFA Champions League group fixtures see some familiar faces renew hostilities, with plenty at stake already. Here is a pick of the best games to come:
Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid – 4:45am (AEDT), Wednesday, September 27 @ BVB Stadion, Dortmund
On matchday one Dortmund were exposed for being too aggressive against Tottenham, with centre-backs Sokratis and Omer Toprak constantly undone by South Korean winger Heung-Min Son and superstar striker Harry Kane, who scored an amazing goal after dribbling on the left wing from halfway.
Dortmund won’t be making the same mistake this time, however, with Real Madrid expected to have plenty of possession in front of a deep zone-defence.
These two have an eventful recent history in the competition, with the clubs playing each other in last season’s group stage. Both encounters finished 2-2, so expect to see goals on the menu on Wednesday morning.
Dortmund & Real Madrid meet again.👌
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) September 25, 2017
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk – 4:45am (AEDT), Wednesday, September 27 @ City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester
Manchester City come into this game in fine form, scoring 22 goals in the last five games played in all competitions and conceding just one. This is in no part due to experienced star striker Sergio Aguero and rising Brazilian talent Gabriel Jesus having the opportunity to play together as two strikers.
Aguero and Jesus have combined for 10 goals in all competitions so far this season, so they will be looking to keep the goals coming. Both are extremely quick and have also capitalised on the great work of winger Raheem Sterling and midfielder David Silva so far this season.
However, Shakhtar can be tricky customers – as Napoli found out on in a 2-1 loss to the Ukrainian heavyweights on matchday one. They have a few talents themselves, including Brazilian trio Bernard, Fred and Taison. City will need to tread carefully about how quick they advance up the pitch, as these three can be lethal.
— Lanka Thilina (@lankathilina) September 25, 2017
Paris SG v Bayern Munich – 4:45am (AEDT), Thursday, September 28 @ Parc des Princes, Paris
The first test of Paris-SG’s new era will begin on Thursday morning when they host experienced campaigners Bayern Munich in the match of the round. The winner of this is likely to top the group – ensuring an easier passage in the knockout stage.
While the Neymar-led era has started smoothly, Paris will be expected to not only match it with the big boys, but come out on top as the previous years of underachievement in this competition won’t be tolerated anymore.
Bayern have suffered a blow, with captain and the world’s best goalkeeper in Manuel Neuer ruled out until January. Back-up keeper Sven Ulreich has had to fill in and hasn’t been in great touch. Paris-SG should expect to continue on their rampaging run of form.
— fraulenne (@imperat06532124) September 25, 2017
Atletico Madrid v Chelsea – 4:45am (AEDT), Thursday, September 28 @ Estadio Metropolitano, Madrid
Atletico Madrid host its first Champions League game at its brand new stadium in a rematch of the 2014 semi-final against English champions Chelsea. And while Atletico have been in fantastic form with its tight defence only conceding one goal in their last five games in all competitions, they will need to watch out for former Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata.
Morata has been settling in to his role as Chelsea’s new hitman, and he has been warming up with his first hat-trick for his new side.
Meanwhile, Belgium wizard Eden Hazard is slowly making a return from his ankle injury suffered earlier this year and looks set to play some part. Hazard can be one of the world’s best wingers on his day, so his return to the side will be welcomed.
Eden Hazard in contention for Chelsea start ahead of Champions League trip to Atletico Madrid https://t.co/AZtfr7VWBx
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) September 25, 2017