UEFA Champions League Matchday 1 – Day 1 Preview


UEFA Champions League Matchday 1

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The UEFA Champions League for the 2023-24 season will begin on September 19, 2023, and continue until June 1, 2024. All the UCL games can be watched live in India through streaming and on TV.

In this season, 32 clubs from Europe’s top football leagues will compete in eight groups to earn a spot in the round of 16. They will play six matches in a home-and-away setup, and the two best teams from each group will move on to the knockout stage.

Lazio vs. Atletico Madrid (Group E)

Diego Simeone, who once played for Lazio and won four trophies with them, including Serie A in 2000, is now bringing his Atletico Madrid team to Stadio Olimpico. This match marks their first meeting since 2011-12 when Simeone had just become Atletico’s manager and guided them to victories in the Europa League against Lazio. Atletico eventually won the Europa League that season. Lazio’s performance in Serie A has been inconsistent, with only one win and three losses so far, although that win was against the defending champions, Napoli.

Feyenoord vs. Celtic (Group E)

Celtic’s manager, Brendan Rodgers, has a goal for his team to remain in European competitions beyond the Christmas period. Ideally, Celtic would prefer this to be in the Champions League rather than the Europa League if they finish third in Group E. However, Celtic faces a significant challenge given their group opponents: Atletico Madrid, Lazio, and Feyenoord. Their upcoming match against Feyenoord in Rotterdam on Tuesday is an opportunity for Celtic to break a 10-game streak without a win in the group stages.

Paris Saint Germain vs. Borussia Dortmund (Group F)

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) has adjusted its Champions League aspirations, no longer aiming for an immediate win after past disappointments. Instead, the French champions are hoping that the changes made to their team during the offseason will create a more well-rounded squad that relies less on individual talent. PSG still has their primary attacking force in Kylian Mbappe, who is expected to lead their offensive efforts against Borussia Dortmund. However, PSG will be missing Marco Asensio and Presnel Kimpembe in this match. On the other hand, Dortmund has struggled with defensive stability this season and faces the challenge of replacing Jude Bellingham, who is now excelling at Real Madrid.

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AC Milan vs. Newcastle (Group F)

Milan, a team that reached the semifinals last season, is dealing with psychological wounds after suffering a heavy 5-1 defeat to their city rivals, Inter Milan, in the Milan derby this past Saturday. In an effort to boost team morale, retired Rossoneri legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic made an appearance at the team’s Milanello training center on Monday. Adding to Milan’s challenges, midfielder Sandro Tonali, who recently transferred from Milan to Newcastle, will now find himself facing his former club.

Manchester City vs. Red Star Belgrade (Group G)

Manchester City will be defending its title by hosting Red Star Belgrade. Under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, the club backed by Abu Dhabi secured its first European Cup last season, along with a treble of trophies. However, history is not in favor of City as they attempt to retain the title. Real Madrid is the sole club in the Champions League era to achieve consecutive victories, winning it back-to-back three times from 2016 to 2018.

Young Boys vs. Leipzig (Group G)

Leipzig is hitting its stride at the right moment as they prepare for the Champions League, where they aim to begin with a victory against Swiss side Young Boys in Bern. Marco Rose’s squad bounced back from their initial Bundesliga loss to Bayer Leverkusen with three consecutive wins. A notable standout is the 20-year-old Dutch forward, Xavi Simons, who has swiftly become the team’s new star. Xavi has found the net in each of his last three matches and has contributed with four assists as well.

Barcelona vs. Antwerp (Group H)

Barcelona enters this year’s Champions League campaign with newfound confidence, having secured four consecutive victories in the Spanish league, where they scored a total of 13 goals. Their recent 5-0 thrashing of Real Betis saw both of their new signings, João Félix and João Cancelo, finding the back of the net. Coach Xavi expressed optimism about the impact of these two Portuguese internationals, believing they will enhance Barcelona’s competitiveness in this season’s Champions League. Meanwhile, Antwerp reached the group stage for the first time by defeating Greek club AEK Athens in a playoff.

Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Porto (Group H)

Due to the Russian invasion of their home country, Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk are playing their home games in Hamburg, Germany, this season. Shakhtar has shifted its focus towards developing local talent and has fewer foreign players on their roster compared to the past. However, they have demonstrated their ability to compete in the Champions League, highlighted by a victory over Leipzig and a draw against Real Madrid last year. On the other hand, Porto has been on an unbeaten streak in the Portuguese league, securing five consecutive wins after losing the season-opening Super Cup to Benfica.

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