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The UEFA Champions League returned on Tuesday, and it delivered. Right away we were treated to a barrage of goals, some great saves, and some pretty good games as well. Ultimately, all the top teams held serve during the Tuesday slate of matchday one. Will we be in for more of the same on Wednesday or will the upsets start to flow?
(All games kick off at 2:45 PM ET)
Real Madrid (ESP) vs. Sporting Lisbon (POR) (ESPN2)
Are Real Madrid playing in the Champions League? Are they playing at home? We learned last season that if the answer to both those questions is ‘yes’ then it doesn’t matter what their domestic form is looking like. Since Zinedine Zidane took over, Real Madrid have been very dangerous in the Champions League. A fully healthy Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale means they shouldn’t have any problems in this one. Real Madrid win 3-0
Tottenham (ENG) vs. Monaco (FRA) (FSN)
Tottenham make their return to the Champions League for the first time since 2011 and play their first ‘home’ game at Wembley Stadium due to the construction at White Hart Lane. White Hart Lane is famous for its atmosphere, where the cozy confines can be a big intimidation factor for visiting teams. Spurs have sold out their first game at Wembley, but it will be interesting to see how the different stadium design effects the home support.
On the pitch, Tottenham finally look like they’re clicking after a 4-0 win over Stoke City. They’ll also be able to welcome back Moussa Dembele, who has yet to play this year due to a suspension he picked up in the Chelsea match at the end of last season. Don’t sleep on Monaco though, they’ve gotten off to a great start and defeated PSG in the match prior to the international break. Despite that, Spurs should have enough to get by them. Tottenham win 2-1
Club Brugge (BEL) vs. Leicester City (ENG) (Fox Soccer Plus)
You really couldn’t ask for a more perfect situation for Leicester City to kick off their first ever Champions League game. Their domestic form still needs some work as there’s really no other way to say it but they’ve been bad so far this year. Lucky for them, their first Champions League match is an away game, where there will be no pressure on them, against a Club Brugge team that has also been awful this year.
Leicester will be able to play exactly the way they like to, sit back and look to hit Brugge on the counter. It might take them some time to settle in to playing in Europe, but they should be able to get a point in this one. 1-1 draw
Legia Warsaw (POL) vs. Borussia Dortmund (GER) (ESPN3)
I came into the season very high on Borussia Dortmund’s chances at challenging Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title and it took them precisely two games for their challenge to fall away by losing to RB Leipzig and dropping three points behind Bayern. They now will look to turn things around in the Champions League, something the club is very used to.
BVB is not only loaded with talent but spent last year in the Europa League, where they got used to making the trips to Eastern Europe. While Marco Reus is still out, this team has plenty of attacking talent to get by Warsaw. Borussia Dortmund win 2-0
Rest of the games
Italian champions Juventus open their campaign against Sevilla, the club not good enough for the Champions League but too good for the Europa League. Both teams are on good form if you throw out Sevilla’s games against Real Madrid and Barcelona, but when it comes down to it Juventus are the better team and are playing at home. That’s good enough for a 1-0 win in classic Italian style.
Bayer Leverkusen got themselves back on track with a win over Hamburg this weekend. They now welcome in a CSKA Moscow team that are a lot more dangerous at home then they are on the road. Javier Hernandez will lead the way in a 3-1 win for the Germans.
Last year FC Porto were almost unbeatable at home, especially in the Champions League. They come into this match fully fit making it hard to see FC Copenhagen getting a result in this one. 2-0 win for Porto.
Croatian side Dynamo Zagreb are on fire recently and now face a trip to France to face struggling Lyon. These two teams met in the group stage of the 2011 Champions League with Lyon running away with the two fixtures. Revenge will be on the minds of the Croatians and they’ll start by getting a surprising 2-2 draw.
The Manchester City vs. Borussia Monchengladbach match was postponed Tuesday and will be made up Wednesday. As it was a last minute call, we had the benefit of seeing Pep Guardiola’s team selection and despite many players being tired from the Manchester Derby on Saturday, he’s not planning on resting many of them. Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, and Sergio Aguero were all included in the squad, and if they were included Tuesday, they’ll likely be there again on Wednesday. Borussia Monchengladbach may have had a punchers chance in this one, but the extra day of rest will help City to a 3-1 win.