UEFA Champions League is back for matchday 3, which will kick off on Tuesday, October 22 with a clash between Atletico Madrid and Bayern Leverkusen, who will lock horns for the first time this season. After that, 15 more fixtures will take centre stage, giving us a chance to cheer for our favourite teams as they battle their way through the group stage and into the playoffs, where the real battle for the title will begin.
With too many fixtures to cover at once, we will look over four of the most interesting, most exciting and ultimately biggest games of the week in Champions League, all of which will have a rather huge impact on how the group stages will play out.
Tottenham vs Crvena Zvezda
Tuesday, October 22
While it would be hard to argue these two sides are comparable on paper, it’s the recent results and overall form of Tottenham that could make this one closer than many expect. Following their inability to triumph over Olympiacos (2:2) and humiliating defeat against Bayern Munich (2:7), Tottenham need to respond with a solid result here, if they want to be considered as a team that will make it out of the group. It’s a rather shocking turn of events for last year’s UCL runners-up, who have now found themselves in a rather unenviable position. Should Tottenham slip here once more and lose against 1990/91 UCL champions, they will find themselves five points behind Crvena Zvezda and if there won’t be any surprises in Greece, eight points behind Bayern Munich. All in all, it’s a must-win fixture for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
Galatasaray vs Real Madrid
Tuesday, October 22
Galatasaray versus Real Madrid will be a similar story to Tottenham vs Crvena Zvezda to some degree, seeing how Real Madrid found themselves in the same hole as the English outfit. Following the thrashing they received from PSG (3:0), Real Madrid went on to disappoint once more with a 2:2 draw against Club Brugge KV. Bear in mind, they drew with the Belgian outfit in Madrid, which makes the whole ordeal that much worse. It’s easy to see the 13-times UCL champions are not in a spot they would have hoped to be, considering they are underperforming on two fronts, that being LaLiga and UCL. On the paper, Real Madrid are far superior to Galatasaray, but result-wise, there is nothing to separate them. Galatasaray drew with Brugge in game one (0:0) and lost to PSG in game two (0:1). This will be a must-win fixture for Real Madrid and most importantly Zidane, who failed to impress so far into the season, and from the looks of it, he has a lot of work left to be done before he can return Los Blancos black to their former glory.
Salzburg v Napoli
Wednesday, October 23
On Wednesday, we will get to see an exciting match between Salzburg and Napoli, who reside at the top of Group E. Napoli have won their opening fixture against Liverpool (2:0) and drew against Genk in game two (0:0), meaning they are holding onto four points. Salzburg on the other side crushed Genk in game one (6:2) and lost to Liverpool in game two (4:3). What will make this fixture one which no one should miss is the promise of goals. While Napoli produced only two goals so far (2:0), it’s Salzburg who have seen a total of 15 goals in two fixtures (9:6). That being said, Salzburg will have to work hard to keep their scoring streak going, seeing how Napoli are the only team who have not yet conceded a goal. Last time these two sides met was in the round of 16 in the UEFA Europa League, where Napoli demolished Salzburg on home soil, however, we have to remember ourselves Salzburg won 3-1 at home.
Inter Milan v Dortmund
Wednesday, October 23
With three European heavyweights fighting for the top spot in Group F, every match is bound to see teams playing on top of their game and we will get to witness that on Wednesday. Inter will arrive into the fixture with a 0-1-1 record, which they earned with a draw against Slavia Prague (1:1) and a defeat against Barcelona (2:1) in round two. Dortmund on the other side have played a stalemate with Barcelona (0:0) and won against Slavia (0:2), which earned them four points and top spot in the group alongside Barcelona. With only one point to their name, Inter know they cannot afford to drop the ball here, meaning it will be all or nothing for Conte’s men, who have enjoyed a very strong start in Serie A and will hope they can translate their dominant performances there onto the European stage.
While there will be more than a handful of exciting games taking place in the upcoming days, the mentioned four will take all the spotlight, mostly due to the high pressure put on the teams to perform, bounce back from their mediocre results in the first two rounds and get themselves in a better spot to advance into the next stage.