Champions League: Matchday 3 Preview – Part 1


Group E

Shakhtar Donetsk v Chelsea

In form Chelsea will travel to Donetsk on Tuesday night in what will be a tricky game in the hostile Donbass arena. Both sides drew to have already drawn to Juventus and beat Nordsjaelland in their other group E games, but only one of the teams will be able to be on seven points at the end of the game.

Shakhtar’s Brazilian striker Willian allegedly nearly joined Chelsea both last summer and this, so many will be watching how he plays.

Key clash: Willian v John Terry.


Nordsjaelland v Juventus

Despite losing both of their Champions League games so far, Nordsjaelland have impressed many with their passing moves and Juventus should expect a tough game at the Parken stadium on Tuesday night.

The Danish side haven’t yet scored a Champions League goal, but they’ll be determined to change that against the Old Lady. However, Juventus will be determined to get their first Champions League win this season in what should be an interesting game.

Key clash: Jores Okore v Sebastian Giovinco


Group F

Lille v Bayern Munich

A shock 3-1 defeat against BATE Borisov last time out means Bayern Munich will need a result away at Lille to be in a strong position going into the next game. However, last season’s runners up have had a superb start to the season domestically, winning all of their eight games played so far.

Lille will be desperate for a win themselves though as a defeat would leave them on zero points after three games and essentially out of the competition.

Key clash: Mathieu Debuchy v Arjen Robben


BATE Borisov v Valencia

Arguably more than any other team in the competition, BATE Borisov have shocked many by their performances in the Champions League. With a team that is very similar to that of the Belarusian national team, BATE have won both of their Champions League games so far by three goals to one, firstly against Lille then even more impressively against Bayern.

Valencia currently sit on three points after losing 2-1 away in Munich, but winning 2-0 against Lille at the Mestalla. A win for BATE would put them on nine points and excitingly close to progressing to the knockout stages.

Valencia are always dangerous however, so it won’t be easy.

Key clash: Alexander Hleb v Fernando Gago


Group G

Barcelona v Celtic

Although both clubs are amongst the most famous and recognisable in world football, many people are fearing for Celtic as they travel to Spain to face the Catalan giants. If they are to take something from the game, Celtic will need to take advantage of a shaky Barcelona defence which conceded 4 in a 5-4 victory away at Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

Barcelona are expected to win, and win emphatically but Celtic should not be underestimated after their 3-2 win against Spartak Moscow in match day 2.

Key clash: Cesc Fabregas v Victor Wanyama


Spartak Moscow v Benfica

Neither of these two sides have had the best of starts to their Champions League campaigns but for different reasons. Spartak Moscow lost to both Celtic and Barcelona 3-2, showing evidence of a leaky defence.

On the other hand, Benfica are yet to score in the Champions League, and they were beaten comfortably 2-0 by Barcelona last time out.


Group H

Manchester United v Braga

Although they are one of only seven sides to have won both of their champions league fixtures so far, Manchester United are yet to have hit their best form in Europe this season. The visit of Braga on Tuesday will represent a tough challenge for the Red Devils, as it did for Galatasaray three weeks ago, when Braga won 2-0 thanks to goals by Ruben Micael and Alan.

As United will remember from last year’s horrible champions league campaign: underestimating lesser opposition could cost teams dear.

Key clash: Jonny Evans v Éder


Galatasaray v CFR Cluj

Galatasaray have had a disappointing start to their Champions League campaign, losing both of their two games played so far, 1-0 to Manchester United and more surprisingly 2-0 at home to Braga.

Romanian side Cluj have had a decent start, however, winning 2-0 away at Braga and giving Manchester United a very difficult game in what turned out to be a 2-1 loss.

For Galatasaray, a loss would be disastrous, and a win is needed. After their last Champions League away result, Cluj will be full of confidence, but can they thrive in the immensely intimidating Türk Telecom arena?

Key clash: Aldin Yilmaz v Ivo Pirlo


Written by Joshua Sodergren

Follow him on Twitter @chelsealad1365

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