After a short layoff, the UEFA Champions League resumes this week with more group stage action.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of Matchday 3…
THE BIG MATCH
Manchester City vs. Napoli: Real Madrid vs. Tottenham has more marquee value, plus the added bonus of Cristiano Ronaldo going up against Harry Kane in a battle of two of the most in-form goal scorers in the world at the moment.
But Tuesday’s tilt between Manchester City and Napoli pits the current leaders in the Premier League and Serie A against each other in what promises to be an entertaining affair with plenty of goals.
Both sides have been scoring freely in their domestic campaigns, with City scoring 29 times in eight games, and having thrashed Stoke City 7-2 on the weekend. Napoli is coming off a slim 1-0 win at AS Roma on Saturday, but before that they scored at least three times in all seven of their Serie A contests.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Harry Kane, Tottenham: The Englishman has six goals in the Premier League, and overall has bagged 15 goals in 14 games this season. He didn’t score in Spurs’ win vs. Bournemouth on Saturday, but before that he found the net nine times in five matches in all competitions.
STARS COLLIDE AT THE BERNABEAU
There will be plenty of star power on display in Tuesday’s showdown between Real Madrid and Tottenham in the Spanish capital. Of course, there’s the aforementioned Harry Kane, and we all know about Cristiano Ronaldo. But former Spurs star Luka Modric will likely play a starring role in the proceedings against his former club, as could Isco, with the Spanish playmaker proving to be a chief architect of Real’s potent attack this season. Both teams are tied atop Group H with the same number of points and goal-difference (six goals for, one against), so there’s a genuine chance for one side to take control as the group phase enters the home stretch.
PSG’S MEUNIER POSES A THREAT
It’s bad enough that Anderlecht has to worry about stopping forwards the calibre of Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe when they host Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday. But a new attacking threat has emerged for the French giants in right fullback Thomas Meunier. The Belgian has been in scintillating form for club and country this term, recording seven goals and tallying seven assists in 10 appearances. He’s coming off an outstanding performance in Ligue 1, scoring both goals in PSG’s 2-1 win away to Dijon.
HEYNCKES BACK AT BAYERN
The last time Jupp Heynckes took charge of Bayern Munich the Bavarian club beat Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League final. Bayern also won the Bundesliga and German Cup that season, but Heynckes was pushed out to make room for Pep Guardiola. The 72-year-old Heynckes is back after coming out of retirement to replace Carlo Ancelotti, who was fired following Bayern’s 3-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain on Matchday 2. Bayern thrashed Freiburg 5-0 in Bundesliga action on the weekend in Heynckes’ first match back, and the German club will try to make it two wins in a row under the venerable coach when they host Scottish champions Celtic on Wednesday.
ATLETICO NEEDS A WIN
Atletico Madrid enters Matchday 3 in desperate need of three points after going winless in their opening two contests, a 0-0 draw away to AS Roma, and a 2-1 home loss to Chelsea. Wednesday’s trip to Azerbaijan to take on Qarabag isn’t a must win for the Spanish club, but three points would help them claw back into contention in Group C – they’re five points adrift of leaders Chelsea, and three back of Roma.
If you want to give yourself a chance of beating Real Madrid, then you have to keep Cristiano Ronaldo off the scoresheet, something Tottenham will be keenly aware of when they visit the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday night.
HE SAID IT
“I don’t fall for the Bayern instability thing, that’s rubbish. If they are in crisis, God help everyone else.” – Former Celtic star Chris Sutton on Bayern Munich’s recent “woes” ahead of their visit to Glasgow on Wednesday.
THE BIG QUESTION
German powerhouse Borussia Dortmund lost its first two games, and currently sits in last place in Group H, all of which raises the question…