After matchday 1 of the group stages concluded, we look ahead to who’s in the best position to win this year’s UEFA Champions League and how the groups will unfold. Lots of goals were scored, and upsets took place in an exciting first matchday of this year’s tournament. All eyes are on matchday 2 with many clubs needing to make up for their poor performances in the first round of matches.
Arguably the best match of the night came at the Parc des Princes where Paris Saint Germain beat Real Madrid 3-0 after Angel Di Maria scored 2 and Thomas Meunier scored 1 to seal an emphatic win over the Spanish heavyweights. New signing Idrissa Gueye looked at home as he worked his socks off to help the Parisians beat Real Madrid. Galatasaray and Club Brugge played to a 0-0 draw in the same group which put the Parisian club in pole position to win the group and proceed to the knockout stages.
German club Bayern Munich comfortably beat Red Star Belgrade 3-0 after goals from Kingsley Coman, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski put the club at the top of Group B. The Bavarian club are now in pole position to win the group after Tottenham failed to beat Greek side Olympiacos in a 2-2 draw with goals from Harry Kane, Lucas Moura, Daniel Podence and a penalty from Frenchman Mathieu Valbuena.
English Champions Manchester City enjoyed a strong victory in Ukraine as the club beat Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 thanks to Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus helping themselves to a goal apiece. However, Croatian side Dynamo Zagreb are top of the group after a convincing performance saw the side put 4 goals past Italian club Atalanta. However, when Manchester City and Dynamo Zagreb meet, you’d assume Manchester City will reclaim the top spot in the group.
In Group D, Atletico Madrid and Juventus finished in an exciting 2-2 draw with goals coming from Savic, Herrera, Cuadrado and Matuidi with neither side particularly dominating and all eyes on the return match in Italy. Lokomotiv Moscow beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 to take the lead in the group. However, you’d expect either Atletico Madrid or Juventus to come back and take the top spot in the group by the end of the group stages.
Italian club Napoli beat the European Champions Liverpool 2-0 in an extremely strong performance. Goals came from Dries Mertens and Fernando Llorente as Liverpool struggled with the intensity of Napoli. RB Salzburg beat Genk 6-2 in an exciting 8 goal thriller to top the group as youngster Erling Braut Haland scored a hattrick to make him the tournament’s top scorer so far.
Inter Milan played to a 1-1 draw with Slavia Prague in the group of death with midfielder Nicolo Barella scoring in the 92nd minute to scrape a draw for the Italian side. However, in the same group, FC Barcelona played Borussia Dortmund to a 0-0 draw after Marco Reus missed a penalty in the second half which ended up being vital. The group is wide open now after no team managed to get a win over the line.
RB Leipzig top Group G after they registered the only win in the group with a 2-1 win over Benfica. German striker Timo Werner scored a brace which put him in a good position in the top scorers’ leaderboard. Zenit St Petersburg and Lyon played to a 1-1 draw in an unconvincing performance saw Memphis Depay score a penalty and Sardar Azmoun scored in the 41st minute.
Chelsea lost 1-0 thanks to a 74th-minute winner from Rodrigo to gift the win to Valencia in Stamford Bridge, Ross Barkley missed a penalty after a heated discussion with Brazilian winger Willian saw Barkley end up taking the penalty. In the same group, Ajax beat Lille 3-0 thanks to goals from Tagliafico, Alvarez and Promes which put them at the top of the group and in an extremely strong position.