Old rivalries will take a new turn while some new contests will take place in the next few months.
The draw for the competition that has become the pinnacle of club football, the Champions League, took place on Thursday in Monaco. The top clubs from all over Europe waited with bated breath as their fate for the rest of the season was decided by lady luck.
The draw, as was expected, threw up a number of very tasty fixtures. We at Khel Now take you through the top five fixtures in the group stage of the competition.
5. Bayern Munich vs Tottenham Hotspur (Allianz Arena) – 11th December 2019
The German Bundesliga champions will take on last season’s runners up, Tottenham Hotspur in Group B of the Champions League. Spurs have strengthened their midfield but now face a struggle to keep hold of star midfielder, Christian Erikson.
Munich’s dip in the Champions League in recent seasons will open the door for a Spurs triumph. However, the daunting atmosphere at the Allianz Arena will be a new challenge for the team from North London.
4. Barcelona vs Inter Milan (Camp Nou) – 2nd October 2019
Inter Milan’s return to the Champions League will be a tough one as they have drawn both Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund in Group F of the competition. However, the signings of Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United mean that, when on form, Inter possess a highly potent attack.
Couple that with Barca’s relative defensive frailty and we could be in for a shock. However, the atmosphere at the Camp Nou and the Cules’ recent form there, could prove a little too much for the Italians.
Frenkie De Jong will be instrumental in breaking through a well-drilled Inter side whose weakness appears to be their midfield.
3. Paris Saint Germain vs Real Madrid (Parc De Princes) – 18th September 2019
Real Madrid have undergone a squad upheaval during the summer. The pick of their summer signings was Eden Hazard from Chelsea. The Belgian is out for the first few weeks of the season but will be raring to go when the Champions League starts. Paris Saint Germain face losing their prized asset, Neymar to Barcelona before the end of the transfer window on the second of September.
The match at the Bernabeu will be interesting as it will see a highly experienced PSG attack come up against a Real side that is still learning to play with each other. The Parc De Princes has seen a rise in the ultra activity, in the recent past with flares being lit in the stands.
PSG will want the atmosphere at their stadium to be a factor in preventing the embarrassment the side faced last season. Real will feel confident in their quality while PSG will be looking to capitalise on Real’s dip in form.
2. Juventus vs Atletico Madrid (Wanda Metropolitana) – 26th November 2019
The Old lady have been singular in their approach to the transfer market in recent season and it is very clear. They want success in the present and nothing said that more than the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid last season.
The Portuguese forward was a hit in Turin and in the Champions League in particular and will be hoping to bag his sixth Champions League title this season. Ronaldo will also be looking forward to returning to Madrid, the city where he dominated for nine years.
In the same fixture last season, Juve were beaten by this Madrid side. Something that Ronaldo will not want a repeat of. Atletico Madrid have done their fair share of business in the transfer market, replacing Antoine Griezmann with the teenage starlet, Joao Felix who has hit the ground running.
Juventus have focused themselves on building the perfect squad to lift the CL title and look very close to having done so. It remains to be seen if the side from Madrid can put a stop to the Italian juggernauts.
1. Borussia Dortmund vs Barcelona (Signal Iduna Park) – 17th September 2019
There are few stadiums in Europe that produce as much of an atmosphere as the Signal Iduna Park does. Borussia Dortmund will come up against Barcelona in what is this season’s group of death in the Champions League.
The Catalan side, who is comfortable in playing in a daunting environment of their own will have to adapt quickly to the quick style of play that Dortmund employ on a small pitch, much like the style Liverpool employed at Anfield in last season’s blockbuster of a semi final.
While Barca might hold the edge on Dortmund man for man, the spirit and the cohesion of the German side could prove tricky for the Catalans. Jadon Sancho will be crucial in creating attacking opportunities for his side against an unsettled Barcelona defence.