And the beloved UEFA Champions League is back!
A week after the international commitment deprived the footballing faithful of any club football, the biggest continental cup championship is now up in its full glory, with some exciting mid-week games lined up for the savers.
The third game-week of the Champions League football sees Bayern Munich, PSG, Barcelona and Liverpool having a relaxed schedule as they face Olympiacos, Club Brugge, Slavia Praha and Genk respectively away from home. Most of the other teams, however, don’t enjoy the parallel luxury, as the likes of Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen will test the waters on a rather grinding soil.
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Galatasaray vs Real Madrid
Record European champions, Real Madrid haven’t enjoyed a fruitful form of late. Despite getting in big players in the team, the Galacticos have struggled get favourable results. That coupled with a recent 1-0 defeat against Mallorca makes this tie a tad more interesting.
17 months ago #RealMadrid beat Liverpool for their 13th #UCL trophy.— Semra Hunter (@SemraHunter) October 19, 2019
A day later, Moreno’s #Mallorca were lining up against Mirandés in a third division game (Segunda B).
9 Mallorca players from that game on pitch or bench tonight, 5 from RM’s UCL final
Madrid sure enjoy a superior head to head record against the Turks, but all that will put to rest once the teams enter the Türk Telekom Stadium. What makes this fixture more intriguing is the fact that if Madrid lose, chances are that their Champions League journey will be over given that they sit at the bottom of Group A.
Galatasaray though have issues of their own. Despite coming on the back of an impressive win in the league, their record of just a solitary win in their last 17 matches against Spanish sides in European competition puts them in the backseat.
Courtois concedes 12 goals this season, more than the number of his saves.— 𝐿𝓊𝒶𝓃 ✞ᴬ (@No_look_Firmino) October 20, 2019
Courtois goals conceded this season-12
Courtois saves this season-11. pic.twitter.com/gyeUFSiWWf
As for odds, they do favour Madrid, but you never know what might inspire Galatasaray on the night…
Watch out for:
Florin Andone: Radamel Falcao’s injury has given 26-year-old Florin Andone a perfect stage to make full use of his loan tenure. Having joined Galatasaray on loan from Brighton, the Romanian recently scored a brace to guide Galatasaray to a 3-2 win over Sivasspor on Friday.
Inter Milan vs Borussia Dortmund
A tale of two contrasting sides – whose last meeting in the Champions League came more than two decades ago - will kick-off on Wednesday (Thursday, 24 Oct, 12:30 am IST), where a defeat for Antonio Conte’s Inter will further debase his team’s credence in the competition. Inter, who are yet to win a Champions League tie this season, will square off against Borussia Dortmund, who are yet to lose a fixture.
Despite the telling difference though, it is Inter who have managed more shots on target (13.5) in the Champions League. Dortmund, on the other hand, average 11. Two goals in two games for both sides doesn’t really establish any firm attribute, thus expect this game to be a cracker.
Watch out for:
Lautaro Martinez: Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez has been in exceptional form of late and was equally clinical in side’s recent 4-3 win over Sassuolo in Serie A. Five goals already this season and the 22-year-old Argentine seems hungry for more.
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Feature image courtesy: AFP / Jaime Reina