UEFA Champions League Preview: Matchday 2

UEFA Champions League Preview: Matchday 2

  • Posted by Geoff Reid
  • On September 15, 2010
  • 2010/11 UCL

UEFA Champions League

By Geoff Reid

After some interesting results in the first opening group matches on Tuesday, Wednesday promises to bring us more of the same. Here’s what’s happening on Day two of match day one:

Group E
Bayern Munchen vs Roma from the Allianz Arena, Munich
The two favorites from this group face off from Bavaria in what will be an interesting match up. Bayern have been inconsistent at the start of their domestic season, but will be determined to reach the final of this competition once again this season. The Romans on the other hand will be targeting to get out of this group which on paper they should do. Claudio Ranieri is an experienced manager in this competition with mixed results so only time will tell how far the Italians can go. Expect a draw in this encounter.

CFR Cluj vs Basel from the Stadionul Dr Constantin Radulescu, Cluj-Napoca
In what should be a battle between both sides realistically trying to finish third in the group to qualify for the latter stages of the Europa League, both clubs have had recent experience in the Champions League in recent years. CFR did not do themselves any favors though by changing managers 48 hours before kickoff which will make things interesting. Basel have been in and out of the competition in the past decade, and built up a loyal support in Switzerland. This one won’t grab the headlines or get many neutrals attention, but both teams have made things interesting in the past and they both could play spoiler in this group.

Group F
Marseille vs Spartak Moskva from the Stade Velodrome, Marseille
In what could be the two clubs vying for second place in the group behind Chelsea, matches against each other become all the more important, according to Marseille captain STEVE Mandanda. The French side will probably be favorites in this tie, but in recent years clubs from Russia have proven themselves very capable of competing against Europe’s best. Spartak haven’t been involved in the competition since the 2006/07 season, and are fully confident they’ll have success in the tournament.

Zilina vs Chelsea from the Stadion MSK Zilina, Zilina
The one tie from match day one that really is a David vs Goliath clash. On paper, it should be a walkthrough for the west London side, who have ambitions to go all the way and win the trophy for the very first time in the club’s history. After all, it’s what owner Roman Abramovich wants more then anything else. This is the best Zilina team in history, and the Slovakian champions have nothing to lose and should play without fear.

Group G
Real Madrid vs Ajax from the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
In what should be the most exciting tie of the day, we see the all star studded galacticos managed by Jose Mourinho making his debut as Real head coach in the competition against the famous Dutch club who have been away from the tournament in recent years. One of the reasons to why Ajax have struggled the last few seasons has been because of the lack of youth talent to come through their world famous academy which at one time was the best in the world. They do have the proven goal-scorer in Uruguayan international Luis Suarez and it’s been no secret Madrid’s back line has not been steady in recent years. Should be a very entertaining game for the neutrals.

AC Milan vs Auxerre from the San Siro, Milan
With AC Milan and Real Madrid being drawn in the same group again, these two are the obvious favorites to progress into the knock out phase, but this group may be a lot more tight then most think. Along with Ajax, Auxerre have been here before and while most of the players from their last appearance have moved on to bigger clubs in different leagues, the club still has experience in the competition. With new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Milan should walk away with all three points in this one.

Group H
Arsenal vs Sporting Braga from the Emirates Stadium, London
Two clubs that have been in the tournament many times over the last fifteen years. The pressure will be on Arsenal more this season due to the final being played at Wembley Stadium and of course neither the gunners or Chelsea have won the trophy and no better time to win it for the first time then in the city in which they play. Arsenal’s defense does need tightening up and tends to be exposed in the style that Arsene Wenger persists playing.

Shakhtar Donetsk vs Partizan Belgrade from the Donbass Arena, Donetsk
Two teams that have experience in the tournament in recent times, and therefore should not be underestimated. Arsenal will be favorites to top the group, but this group may be a little more even then people think. The hopeful return of Fernandinho to the Shakhtar side should give them the advantage in this tie.