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UEFA Champions League: Matchday 2 Preview

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speaks ahead of the clash with RB Leipzig

The second matchday of this season’s UEFA Champions League will bring a few cracking matches to our screens, mainly Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus hosting Lionel Messi’s Barcelona. The two highest goalscorers in the competition’s history will surely bring fireworks with both defences not looking the best at the moment. Elsewhere, Man United will host RB Leipzig at Old Trafford after edging PSG last time out. Let’s get to the preview that has plenty of value to offer.

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Tuesday 27 October

Group A

Lokomotiv Moscow 13/1
Draw 13/2
Bayern Munich 2/13

Lokomotiv Moscow drew 2-2 in Salzburg to earn their first points in the competition since 2019. The Russians have lost six of their last seven Champions League clashes at the RZD Arena which doesn’t bode well for their chances going into this encounter with the reigning champions. Bayern Munich have won 12 straight matches in the competition, all under the guidance of coach Hans Flick who has an impeccable 100% record in the best club competition in the world. Both Halves Over 1.5 Goals offers plenty of value at 18/10.

Atletico Madrid 6/10
Draw 3/1
Salzburg 4/1

Atletico Madrid are rarely outclassed and hammered 4-0 but this was the case when they met Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. Diego Simeone’s troops will welcome a return to the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, where Atleti have only been beaten twice in 52 matches across all competitions. Salzburg will be counting on forwards Patson Daka and Sekou Koita to penetrate the Spaniards’ tough defence with their speed on counter attacks. Los Rojiblancos are tipped to get back to winning ways at 6/10.

Group B

Shakhtar Donetsk 29/10
Draw 28/10
Inter Milan 8/10

Shakhtar Donetsk caused the upset of the opening round by beating Real Madrid 3-2 in Spain. The Miners were 3-0 up at half-time and did well defensively to repel a second half flourish by Los Blancos. The Brazilian influence is strong in the team especially with Dentinho, Tete and Marlos tasked with unlocking opponents’ defences. Inter Milan shared the spoils with Borussia Monchengladbach in a 2-2 draw thanks to Romelu Lukaku’s 90th minute equalizer earning the Nerazzurri a point. My money is on Inter Milan Win & Both Teams to Score (Yes) at 39/20.

Borussia Monchengladbach 26/10
Draw 29/10
Real Madrid 17/20

Borussia Monchengladbach have been difficult to beat since losing to Borussia Dortmund in September, with three draws and two wins across all competitions. The last time a Spanish team visited Borussia Park in the Champions League, Barcelona needed two second-half goals to earn the victory. Real Madrid shook off their defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk by winning the El Clasico 3-1 at Camp Nou. Sergio Ramos returned to the starting line-up last weekend which is a massive boost for the 13-time winners. Go into the Matchbet and Both Teams to Score market again, select Real Madrid & Yes at 37/20.

Group C

Marseille 13/2
Draw 4/1
Manchester City 7/20

Marseille suffered a 1-0 defeat to Olympiacos in Greece last Wednesday, which stretched their unwanted record to 10 straight defeats in this elite competition. Andre Villas-Boas will need to motivate the likes of Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin as the visitors are not at their brilliant best right now. The last time Pep Guardiola’s men faced French opposition; Lyon dumped the Citizens out of the cup in a one-off tie with a 3-1 victory. That defeat was their only loss in the Champions League last season. Meanwhile, City picked up maximum points in a 3-1 win over a Porto team that took the game to the Sky Blues last week. I’m very confident in this game, take Manchester City Win & Both Teams to Score (Yes) at 31/20.

Porto 13/20
Draw 11/4
Olympiacos 17/4

Porto got back winning ways in the Primeira Liga by edging Gil Vincente 1-0 and need to keep improving to avoid another winless slump, especially in defence where Chelsea loanee Malang Sarr will aim to keep a clean sheet to earn Porto their first victory in the competition. Olympiacos’ spirits, on the other hand, will be high and full of belief. If the Red-Whites can seal the victory, it will put them in a strong position to qualify from Group C. Since the qualifying round, the Greeks have kept four straight clean sheets and that should be their first objective in this clash. A cagey-hard tackling match is expected, take Under 2.5 Goals at 8/10.

Group D

Atalanta 15/20
Draw 33/10
Ajax Amsterdam 11/4

Atalanta and Ajax will square off in Bergamo with two of the most free-scoring sides facing each other – a great game of football is in store for the neutrals. Atalanta’s opener in the competition was a 4-0 thrashing of Midtjylland and Gian Piero Gasperini’s men will be looking for a repeat of that result, despite suffering two consecutive defeats in Serie A. Ajax could count themselves unfortunate as they lost 1-0 to Liverpool with an own goal by defender Nicolas Tagliafico in a match they deserved at least a point from. The Dutch side broke their own domestic record by winning 13-0 over the weekend, so we’re set for goals galore. Both Halves Over 1.5 Goals is the play at 37/20.

Liverpool 1/8
Draw 15/2
Midtjylland 15/1

Liverpool come into this clash as huge favourites. Surely the Reds don’t need Virgil Van Dijk in the ranks to conquer minnows Midtjylland. Jurgen Klopp’s men haven’t lost a Champions League encounter at Anfield in 90 minutes for 18 matches and I expect the streak to continue. Midtjylland stand very little to chance here, however, the Danish Wolves do possess Pione Sisto in their ranks – a player with his speed is always a nightmare to play against. I expect Liverpool to come out all guns blazing, select Highest Scoring Half: 1st at 2/1.

Wednesday 28 October

Group E

Krasnodar 52/10
Draw 34/10
Chelsea 9/20

Krasnodar took a point from their trip to Rennes, drawing 1-1 thanks to a Cristian Ramirez equalizer. The Ecuadorian’s first goal in five seasons for the Russian club couldn’t have come at a better time. Chelsea come off back-to-back goalless draws against Sevilla and Manchester United where both opponents made the clean sheet their first priority. The west-Londoners are expected to dish out a hiding of note. My money is on Frank Lampard’s Blues on the (-1) Handicap at 23/20.

Sevilla 5/10
Draw 29/10
Rennes 52/10

Sevilla are going through a dip in form but have been playing teams of very high quality such as Barcelona and Chelsea. Los Palanganas should display their class that won them lift the Europa League crown last season and put the French Ligue 1 team to the sword. Rennes’ Eduardo Camavinga is the name on everyone’s lips after the 17-year-old showed that he is capable of playing at international level. The midfield destroyer, with plenty of skill on the ball, is an incredible player. However, I see Sevilla edging this clash, no exotics are tipped, just go for the home win.

Group F

Club Brugge 37/20
Draw 24/10
Lazio 27/20

Club Brugge stole all three points at Zenit St. Petersburg thanks to Charles De Ketelaere converting his chance with seconds left before the final whistle. Lazio were underdogs when they hosted Borussia Dortmund last week but Ciro Immobile inspired a 3-1 win over his former employers to give the Italians a great start. Let’s keep this short and sweet, Lazio to win at 27/20.

Borussia Dortmund 7/20
Draw 17/4
Zenit St. Petersburg 6/1

Borussia Dortmund will be focused on getting back to winning ways and will desperately want to top the group with talents like Erling Halaand and Jadon Sancho keen to show the football world their true quality. Zenit St. Petersburg lost 2-1 to Club Brugge and were fortunate to score once with the ball deflecting off the crossbar, hitting the goalkeeper to then cross the line. Go to the Totals Home Team market and select Over 2.5 Goals at even money.

Group G

Juventus 16/10
Draw 47/20
Barcelona 16/10

Juventus will be without defender Leonardo Bonucci who suffered an injury in the Serie A, where Hellas Verona held the Old Lady to a 1-1 draw. All the focus will be on Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi renewing their rivalry; however, Ronaldo will need to pass a Covid-19 test just 24 hours before this massive showdown. Juve have drawn three of their last four league games and it is worrying signs but Barca are stuttering as well. Aside from last week’s victory over Hungarian debutants Ferencvaros, the Catalans are winless in their three La Liga games – a 1-1 stalemate with Sevilla followed by defeats to Getafe (1-0) and Real Madrid (3-1). There’s little to separate these teams, my money is on the draw at 47/20.

Ferencvaros 5/2
Draw 23/10
Dynamo Kiev 11/10

Ferencvaros showed a lot of character against Barcelona. Despite losing 5-1, they created numerous goal-scoring opportunities and rattled the woodwork more than once. Dynamo Kiev come off a 2-0 loss to Juventus but will be hoping they do the double over the hosts in order to secure third place and a spot in the Europa League. The away win is well worth a punt at 11/10.

Group H

Istanbul Basaksehir 11/1
Draw 11/2
Paris Saint-Germain 1/5

Istanbul Basaksehir host Paris Saint-Germain next after an Angelino brace saw RB Leipzig claim all three points last week. The Turkish SuperLiga champions have lost four of their last five Champions League matches and now face last season’s finalists, which can only point you towards one conclusion. PSG ended last season with a 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the final and lost 2-1 in Paris to Manchester United to open this campaign. The Parisians are tipped to get back to winning ways in style, take the visitors on the (-1) Handicap at 5/10 to boost your odds.

Manchester United 12/10
Draw 24/10
RB Leipzig 21/10

Manchester United were defensively solid against PSG and deserved the win, however, the lack of supply to PSG’s front three was a big factor in keeping the goals conceded to just one. If Anthony Martial didn’t score an own goal, it would have been a perfect performance for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s boys. RB Leipzig will prove to be a stern test with Julian Nagelsmann’s tactical astuteness able to get the best out of players in his intricate tactics that are simply brilliant. The last time the Red Bulls travelled to England, they beat Tottenham 1-0 but this time around, I see these sides sharing the spoils at 24/10.

Atletico Madrid Win 6/10
Porto vs Olympiacos Under 2.5 Goals 8/10
Liverpool vs Midtjylland Highest Scoring Half: First 2/1

Chelsea (-1) Handicap 23/20
Sevilla Win 5/10
Lazio Win 27/20

Written by Bryan Naicker