TheHardTackle takes a look at the things we can look forward to on Tuesday as the Champions League kicks off again.
Manchester City travel to Russia for a must win game for both sides.
Last season’s Premier League champions travel to Moscow to face CSKA Moscow in Tuesday’s first match. On Monday morning they arrived in the snow-swept Russian capital and they know that unless they beat CSKA Moscow, it’ll be another Champions League campaign, disappointingly over.
City come into this match high on confidence. They just beat Tottenham 4-1 in the league and Sergio Aguero created history by scoring all four goals and becoming City’s highest BPL scorer of all time. It is time big players like him step it up for the Manchester side and get them the essential win. The likes of Aguero, Navas, Silva, Nasri have to do it on a cold, silent (the game will be played behind closed doors as CSKA Moscow are serving punishment for their fans’ racist behavior) evening in Moscow. It might be a tricky affair for the travelling side as Moscow also possess ammunition through the likes of Ahmed Musa.
After losing their opening two games against Roma and Bayern Munich, CSKA too need to win this match to have any serious hopes of qualification from Group E.
Eye Catcher of the night as Roma take on Bayern Munich
Its a crunch tie at the Olimpico as German Champions Bayern Munich come to take on Rudi Garcia’s Roma. The Serie A side has returned to the Champions League for the first time since 2011 and have made a bright start to their campaign. They’ve won against bottom placed CSKA Moscow 5-1 and drew away to City 1-1. A win for the hosts would delight them as they could then perhaps think that they have it in them to qualify to the knockout stages. A loss would put pressure on them as City and CSKA can then make the table a lot more complicated.
But it is obviously not going to be easy for Totti and co. They face the Group E leaders, the team that has won its last five matches in all competitions, that comes into this game on the high of winning 6-0, without their main striker, in the league on Saturday.
Needless to say, this should make for a very exciting game that both sides would want to win. The firepower in Bayern’s attack certainly outshines Roma’s on paper, but Garcia’s side is a resilient, solid one and would make Bayern’s job very difficult.
The last time these two sides met, we witness an absolute cracker. Roma won the match 3-2 winners at the Stadio Olimpico in November 2010 despite trailing 2-0 at half-time. Perhaps we can expect a similar game of football?
Barcelona and Ajax face each other in a crunch tie
Former Barcelona team mates Luis Enrique and Frank de Boer go head to head as Barcelona take on Ajax in Group F. Ajax are without a win in their last eight away matches in the Champions League, stretching back to October 2011 when they beat GNK Dinamo Zagreb 2-0. And to end that run at Camp Nou is going to be extremely difficult. However, the Dutch side can try to at least draw the game and hope for an even better result in the home fixture.
Ajax are currently sitting four points behind PSV Eindhoven after nine games of this league campaign and are hence not exactly high on confidence, an exact opposite mood from the hosts who are on top of the table. This will be the last game of Luis Suarez’s ban and the Barcelona man would be excited that he can make his return to first-team football within a week.
A defeat to PSG means that the Catalan giants would be keen to win this game and give themselves assurance about progressing to the next stage. Ajax need this win and courtesy that, they can climb into the second spot. They’ve drawn both their games and the draw against PSG would be encouraging. Watch this game for some slick counter-attacking as both sides possess wonderful pace and keep a lookout for Ajax’s Anwar El Ghazi.
Chelsea have to do it without Costa
Didier Drogba or Loic Remy will start up front for Chelsea when the Blues face Slovenian champions Maribor at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. Diego Costa is out on the sidelines with an injury and the Blues will be delighted with the fact that they won against Burnley without their Spanish striker.
A win over Sporting has put Chelsea on top of the table with four points. Maribor are second in the group with two draws against Schalke and Sporting and are in the second place at the moment. Therefore, Chelsea are not going to have it easy in this game and Jose Mourinho has acknowledged that his side won’t be complacent. A win would put the Blues in a very comfortable place and one step closer to last 16 qualification.
Roberto di Matteo’s first Champions League match in charge of Schalke
Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon take on Schalke at the Veltins-Arena. Schalke are third in the group with two draws and Sporting lie in fourth place with two losses and zero points.
New boss Roberto Di Matteo will be hoping to make it two consecutive wins as Schalke 04 beat Hertha Berlin 2-0 victory last weekend. Di Matteo’s magic touch in the Champions League is well known, especially in this group with the Italian having won the competition with Chelsea. A win would put them in the second place and in good command in the group. Sporting are however, high on confidence as well as they ended league rivals Porto’s 11-game unbeaten run with victory in the Portuguese Cup at the weekend and extended their own unbeaten start to the season domestically to eight games.