The Champions League continues with Groups E to H to conclude the first week in the competition as Bayern Munich playing against Manchester City takes up the main focus, although plenty of attention will be given to Chelsea hosting Schalke in another group rematch from last season while Barcelona hope not to allow APOEL from Cyprus to start another Cinderella run.
Roma – CSKA Moscow: A lot of missing players on both sides, as Roma play in the competition for the first time in four years, hoping that their rise in the Serie A will be emulated in European competition as well. CSKA have had a fine start in the league, but they’re already six points behind league leaders Zenit.
Bayern Munich – Manchester City: Things change, but not everything. Manchester City keep getting tough groups, this time facing Bayern Munich for a second consecutive season. Bayern have some key players out of action and haven’t been playing well to start the season, which makes it a bit more likely that the Premier League champions might repeat their success at the Allianz Arena from last season.
Ajax – PSG: It’s been a sluggish start for both the Dutch and the French defending champions. Most of the focus will be on Zlatan Ibrahimovic playing against his former team, and he’ll be joined by another former Ajax player, Gregory van der Wiel.
Barcelona – APOEL Nicosia: We’ve seen this Greek side do wonders in the competition before, but starting off in the Camp Nou against Barcelona doesn’t sound like such a warming thought. However, Luis Enrique is still working out the kinks in the machine, meaning there’s some vulnerability to this team at the moment.
Chelsea – Schalke: It’s been a woeful start for Schalke with just one draw in three matches in the Bundesliga. For Chelsea, it’s been perfect with 12 points and 15 goals, although the beginning of the Champions League might give us a bit more rotation from Jose Mourinho in his lineup.
Maribor – Sporting: While Maribor seem like the minnows of the group and the competition in general, Sporting are terrible when playing away from home in European competition, failing to win in any of their previous 10 matches.
Athletic Bilbao – Shakhtar: Not playing in their actual stadium and tense military and political situation in the Eastern Ukraine hasn’t stopped Shakhtar Donetsk from having a perfect start to their league campaign. However, Bilbao seem to be doing very well for themselves also, and have shown to be extremely difficult to beat at home.
Porto – BATE Borisov: Borisov are always difficult to gauge, but overall this is a team with Champions League experience, facing a Porto team that’s grown substantially weaker over the last three seasons.