Today’s Champions League group stage fixtures & previews

Bayern,  Manchester United lock horns at the Allianz Arena

European juggernauts Bayern Munich and Manchester United lock horns at the Allianz Arena for their opening Group A fixture in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Boasting nine European crowns between them, the two teams last met in a competitive fixture nine years ago when Bayern ran out 3-1 winners in a quarter-final second-leg tie, while they last faced each other in the group stage back in 2001.

Bayern themselves have never lost at home to the Red Devils, though, winning three and drawing two, and Tuchel’s men will be confident of progressing to the Champions League knockout rounds for the 16th successive year considering that they are strong favourites to secure top spot in Group A ahead of Man United, Galatasaray and Copenhagen.

Following a difficult week off the pitch, Man United boss Erik ten Hag was hoping to lift the atmosphere at Old Trafford with a positive result and performance from his players last weekend, but the Dutchman has instead been left with plenty to ponder after his side were booed off in a disappointing 3-1 home defeat to Brighton.

Red Devils supporters will certainly reminisce about the historic 1999 final triumph over the German club under former boss Sir Alex Ferguson; one of just two wins against the Bundesliga side in Europe’s most prestigious club competition.



Arsenal welcome PSV Eindhoven to the Emirates Stadium

Stepping out to the Champions League anthem for the first time in six-and-a-half years, Arsenal welcome PSV Eindhoven to the Emirates Stadium for Wednesday’s Group B opener. Mikel Arteta‘s men punched their ticket to Europe’s elite competition via a second-placed finish in the 2022-23 Premier League.

Declan Rice, Arsenal

Arsenal have not dazzled on the attacking front so far this term, but Leandro Trossard provided the necessary spark to secure a 1-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park.

Arsenal are without a trio of known absentees in Thomas Partey (groin), Jurrien Timber and Mohamed Elneny (both knee), Arsenal suffered another untimely blow at the weekend, as Gabriel Martinelli tweaked his hamstring while running through to score a goal which was ultimately disallowed.

In strikingly similar fashion, PSV were also dealt a concern with one of their key attackers at the weekend, as winger Noa Lang was forced off the field 11 minutes into the second half against NEC but has boarded the plane for the trip to England.Credit: Arsenal’s continued defensive shortcomings means that Arteta’s men may still have to fight fire with fire, but the Gunners should rise to the occasion and begin Group B with a maximum haul, especially with an array of talent ready to make a difference off the bench.



Inter Milan travel away to take on Real Sociedad

Inter Milan will travel to the Reale Arena on Wednesday to take on Real Sociedad.

The visitors reached the final of last season’s competition, before just falling short against Manchester City, while their hosts enter Europe’s premier tournament for the first time in 10 years. After 10 years away from Europe’s top competition, Real Sociedad earned a place in the Champions League group stage this season thanks to their fourth-placed finish in La Liga.

Thuram, Inter Milan

Real Sociedad meet an Inter Milan side who head into the new Champions League campaign having fallen at the final hurdle in their bid to win the continental title for the fourth time and their first since 2010 last season.

Real Sociedad are unable to call on attacker Carlos Fernandez, who will serve a continental suspension after being sent off in last season’s Europa League defeat to Roma, while summer signing Andre Silva is sidelined by injury alongside Martin Merquelanz. Inter Milan come into Wednesday’s trip with a clean bill of health, and Inzaghi may look to deploy an unchanged starting XI from their thrashing of AC Milan at the weekend.

Wednesday’s game should certainly be close and intriguing, and Real Sociedad will be keen to mark their return to the Champions League with a positive home result, but the visitors do possess more quality and experience on the continental stage and we fancy them to take all three points in the opener.



Real Madrid to maintain perfect start as they host Union Berlin

Real Madrid will be bidding to make it six straight wins in all competitions at the start of the 2023-24 campaign when they welcome Union Berlin in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Los Blancos will enter the contest off the back of a 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad in La Liga, while Union Berlin suffered a 2-1 loss to Wolfsburg in their last Bundesliga fixture on Saturday.

Bellingham, Real Madrid

Real Madrid have not quite been at their free-flowing best early in the season, but the capital giants have been incredibly effective, recording five straight wins in La Liga to sit top of the table on 15 points.

Real Madrid reached the semi-finals of last season’s competition, losing to Manchester City, and they will again be expected to advance deep into the tournament this term.

Union Berlin finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season, claiming 62 points from their 34 matches, which saw them directly qualify for the group stage of the Champions League for the first time.

Union Berlin will now make the step-up into the biggest cup competition in European football, and they will enter the contest at Bernabeu off the back of two disappointing domestic results.

This game has the potential to be a very entertaining match, as Union Berlin will look to make their mark on Wednesday evening. But Real Madrid’s vast experience in the competition to help them navigate their way to all three points in the Spanish capital..




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