The second week of the Champions League continues with groups A through D, as Juventus visiting Atletico Madrid stands to be the ‘big’ match of the evening, while Real Madrid in Bulgaria against Ludogorets and Liverpool playing Basel in Switzerland are also something that deserve quite a bit of focus.
Zenit – Monaco: This looks like another strong season for Zenit, leading the league in Russia and kicking things off with an away win at Benfica. Monaco were surprising in their win over Leverkusen and haven’t been so bad in the league lately, so there’s hope yet despite the disappearing money.
Atletico Madrid – Juventus: A must win for Atletico Madrid against a Juventus team that has a perfect start to its season, including not conceding any goals. It’ll be a real test for the Italian champions against some formidable opposition with two teams that don’t mind giving possession to their opponent.
Malmo – Olympiacos: Stunningly, Olympiacos aren’t the league leaders in Greece right now. Their away form in the Champions League is often poor, giving a weak Malmo side, on the verge of winning the championship in Sweden, some hope for success.
Ludogorets – Real Madrid: The Bulgarian team did give Liverpool plenty of trouble in Anfield but they are only fifth in Bulgaria and it’s hard to believe they can get away anything when facing off against the most frightening attack in Europe.
Basel – Liverpool: It’s a rough world without Luis Suarez, as Liverpool have been unable to win in four of their six league matches this season, barely scraping one in the Champions League. Basel are in something of a tilt in their league form right now, but this will be a team that constantly attacks, which might mean Liverpool will have some counter attacking options.
Leverkusen – Benfica: Both teams lost on their opening matches, which puts a lot of pressure on this encounter. Benfica are leading in Portugal, but that doesn’t often translate well to the continental theater. Leverkusen are third in Germany, scoring just two goals over their last three matches.
Anderlecht – Dortmund: Maybe this is the year Anderlecht finally stop finishing last in the group stage? Their 1-1 in Turkey was a good indicator, and so is their league form (leading it in Belgium). Dortmund can’t seem to find solid ground, and haven’t won a league match since September 13, losing twice and drawing one since.
Arsenal – Galatasaray: Arsenal are still undefeated in the league, but have to bounce back from their appalling performance in Germany. Galatasaray haven’t had the hottest of starts in both league and Europe, so coming home with a draw would be more than welcome.