UEFA Champions League: Matchday 2 Preview

Lionel Messi was ruthless in Barcelona's 3-0 victory over Juventus on Matchday 1. Can he keep it up?
Lionel Messi was ruthless in Barcelona's 3-0 win over Juventus on Matchday 1. Can he keep it up?
Matchday two of the UEFA Champions League is upon us! The first matches of Europe’s elite competition gave us some indication as to how the group stages could pan out. Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Manchester United all won by three goals or more, while Spurs claimed an important 3-1 victory over Dortmund at Wembley stadium. There’s much more action to look forward to in round two, with Atletico Madrid hosting Chelsea, Dortmund welcoming champions, Real Madrid, to the Signal Iduna Park and big-spenders, PSG, playing host to Bayern Munich.


Tuesday 26 September

Group E

1/6 Sevilla | Draw 6/1 | Maribor 14/1 (20:45)

The second match of Group E kicks off the exact same way it started – with all four teams level. Sevilla claimed an excellent result at Anfield, drawing 2-2 with Liverpool. Maribor scored late in their first encounter to earn a share of the spoils in their 1-1 draw at home to Spartak Moscow. It’s a fresh start and the perfect opportunity for Sevilla to claim top spot in the group. Their quality in attack might be too much for Maribor and I’m expecting a straightforward result here. In the quest for more value, simply back Sevilla on the (-1) Handicap at 5/10!

3/1 Spartak Moscow | 26/10 | Liverpool 17/20 (20:45)

Liverpool travel to Russia to face 2016/17 champions, Spartak Moscow, in what is a crucial game for the Reds. Jurgen Klopp’s men will be thwarted with their matchday one result, where they let their lead slip against Sevilla to draw 2-2. Spartak had some great chances against Maribor and played excellent, fast-paced attacking football. At the time of writing, Liverpool haven’t been in the greatest of form, failing to win in their last three matches. At 7/10, Both Teams to Score seems the most logical bet to take!

Group F

2/11 Napoli | 57/10 | Feyenoord 11/1 (20:45)

Napoli take on Feyenoord in Group F, with both sides looking to bounce back from their matchday one defeats. The Naples were humbled by a 2-1 scoreline away to Shakhtar Donetsk, meanwhile, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men were smashed 4-0 by Manchester City. At the time of writing, Napoli have won all four of their Italian Serie A games, and have scored three or more goals in their last eight league matches. Feyenoord could do enough to get a goal, but nothing more than that. Back Napoli to Win & Both Teams to Score at 13/10.

1/5 Manchester City | 11/2 | Shakhtar Donetsk 10/1 (20:45)

High-flying Manchester City will look to extend their terrific run of form when they host Shakhtar Donetsk on matchday two. Both sides sit level on top of Group F, so a win for either side would put them in a comfortable position for matchday three. City were brilliant from the get-go, with John Stones putting in a great shift, helping his side keep a clean sheet, while netting two goals of his own in their 4-0 win. Fernandinho will welcome his former employers, Shakhtar, where he won six titles, to his new home in Manchester. Pep Guardiola’s men are unbeaten in nine home games in the Champions League, but for more value, back them on the (-1) Handicap as well at 5/10!

Group E

21/10 Besiktas | 49/20 | RB Leipzig 12/10 (20:45)

Besiktas welcome Leipzig to the Vodafone Arena on Tuesday. Surprisingly, the hosts are priced up as 21/10 outsiders, while Leipzig find themselves favourites at 12/10. Besiktas currently lead Group E on three points after beating FC Porto 3-1 away from home. Leipzig weren’t too impressive, drawing 1-1 at home to Monaco on matchday one. Besiktas could actually be dark-horses to top the group. They have quality players in Pepe, Alvaro Negredo, Ricardo Queresma and Anderson Talisca. Besiktas on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 6/10 is probably the best bet of the round; get on!

11/10 Monaco | 5/2 | Porto 23/10 (20:45)

Monaco and FC Porto lock horns on Tuesday night in what will be a rematch of the 2004 UEFA Champions League final. That match was one of the most one-sided finals with Porto claiming a resounding 3-0 victory. It took some time for Monaco to compete again in the big leagues, but after winning the French Ligue 1 title and reaching the semi-finals of the competition last season, Leonardo Jardim’s side will feel they have another chance of competing here. Both sides dropped points last matchday, and I get the feeling that they could drop some more this round. Back these sides to cancel each other out at 5/2.

Group H

47/20 Dortmund | 26/10 | Real Madrid 1/1 (20:45)

Onto the big one on Tuesday at Borussia Dortmund host Real Madrid. These two heavyweights have been pitted in the same ring in five of the last six seasons. Dortmund have never lost at home against Madrid, drawing and winning three games each. Los Blancos, however, will be hoping to score in their 38th consecutive Champions League game. BVB lost 3-1 to Tottenham at Wembley, while Madrid put three past APOEL, courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo brace and a Sergio Ramos overhead kick. It’s a longshot, but I’m backing Dortmund on the Double Chance & Both Teams to Score at 13/10!

19/2 APOEL Nicosia | 9/2 | Tottenham 1/4 (20:45)

APOEL Nicosia, who are expected to be whipping boys of Group H, got off to a dismal start, losing 3-0 at the champions, Real Madrid. Tottenham seemed to have put their so-called Wembley curse behind them as they beat Dortmund 3-1 at the famous ground. Spurs now find themselves in a strong position, and a victory here would take some of the stress off Mauricio Pochettino. Spurs, however, have a terrible away record in the Champions League, winning just two of their eight matches. Back the Additional Totals market and get on Under 3.5 Goals at 9/20.

Wednesday 27 September

Group A

39/10 CSKA Moscow | 26/10 | Man United 7/10 (20:45)

CSKA Moscow and Manchester United battle it out in Group A, with both sides looking to keep up their 100% record in the Champions League so far. CSKA claimed a hard-fought 2-1 victory away to Benfica, while the Red Devils humbled Basel to a 3-0 scoreline. United are unbeaten in their last four meetings against CSKA, winning and drawing two of those encounters. With Romelu Lukaku, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial performing superbly in recent weeks, I can only see one winner here. Take Manchester United and make sure to include in all multiples.

2/1 FC Basel | 9/4 | Benfica 13/10 (20:45)

Swiss champions, FC Basel, will hope for a turnaround performance when they host Benfica on Wednesday night. At the time of writing, Basel are winless in their last three league matches and suffered that demoralising 3-0 defeat to Manchester United. Benfica also dropped points last matchday, going down 2-1 to CSKA Moscow at home. On paper, Benfica are the much better of the two sides, and if they play their usual free-flowing football, they could get three points here. Personally, I don’t see that happening. My money will be on the draw here at 9/4!

Group B

9/10 Paris Saint-Germain | 29/10 | Bayern Munich 5/2 (20:45)

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1/1 Anderlecht | 51/20 | Celtic 5/2 (20:45)

The battle for third spot continues in Group B, with Celtic travelling to face Anderlecht. The hosts have parted company with manager Rene Weiler after winning just two of their opening seven league games. Celtic were smashed for five against PSG, but against a side that costed around £750m, did they really stand a chance? Brendan Rodgers’ men are without a win in their last 16 away games, however, Anderlecht haven’t been in the greatest form. Get on Over 2.5 Goals at 15/20.

Group C

11/2 Qarabag | 32/10 | Roma 5/10 (18:00)

Qarabag host Roma in Wednesday’s early kick-off. The Azerbaijan champions will play on familiar ground after being hit for six by Chelsea on matchday one. Dino Ndlovu and co have won all three of their home matches, at the time of writing, letting in no more than just a single goal. This will be the first Champions League match in Azerbaijan, and with Roma failing to win in their last nine away matches, the hosts will feel like they could get something out of the game here. Play it safe and back Under 2.5 Goals at even money.

11/10 Atletico Madrid | 22/10 | Chelsea 49/20 (20:45)

Atletico Madrid and Chelsea do battle in one of the many mouth-watering encounters this week. The Blues lead the standings after battering Qarabag 6-0 on matchday one. They face much trickier opposition in Atletico Madrid, as they hope to cement their early lead atop Group C. I’m expecting fireworks here, not because we’re likely to see goals, but because we will see Antonio Conte and Diego Simeone on the touchline – two of the most animated coaches. As for the match, a low-scoring affair is on the cards. If I had to pick a winner, though, my money will be on Atletico at 11/10, given the fact that they are unbeaten in 11 home matches in this tournament.

Group D

2/11 Juventus | 57/10 | Olympiacos 13/1 (20:45)

Olympiacos face Juventus in the worst possible time ever. After being beaten 3-0 by Barcelona, Juve bounced back strongly in the league, with Paulo Dybala netting his second hat-trick of the season, and becoming the first player to reach double figures across all competitions in Europe’s top five leagues. These sides last met in the 2014 group stage with each team winning their home game. Juventus are undefeated in 19 games played in Turin and should claim a comfortable win here. For more value, back them on the (-1) Handicap at 5/10.

57/10 Sporting | 39/10 | Barcelona 4/10 (20:45)

Both teams will look to build on their matchday one victories when Sporting Lisbon host Barcelona. The hosts claimed an impressive 3-2 win at Olympiacos, while Barca got their revenge against Juventus with a 3-0 scoreline. The Catalan giants have lost marquee signing, Ousmane Dembele, through injury and have lost three of their last four away matches in the Champions League. However, Barca did beat Sporting both home and away back in 2008. They should do enough to earn three points once again at a decent price of 4/10!

Tuesday TREBLE @ 3/1
Spartak vs Liverpool BTTS 7/10
Man City (-1) Handicap 5/10
Besiktas Win/Draw 6/10

Wednesday TREBLE @ 4/1
Man United Win 7/10
Atletico Madrid Win 11/10
Barcelona Win 4/10

Written by Jesse Nagel