The bookmakers top three favourites to win this season’s Uefa Champions League crown – Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid – can all book places in the knock out rounds if they maintain their one hundred percent winning starts to their groups. Number one favourites Manchester City will confirm qualification from group G on Tuesday night if they can match or better the 3-1 victory they registered at Young Boys Berne a fortnight ago.
Cityzens boss Pep Guardiola refused to confirm whether hitman Erling Braut Haaland will be ready to start after last season’s top scorer with 15 goals was substituted at half time of City’s 6-1 demolition of Bournemouth as a precaution. Bundesliga flag carriers RB Leipzig, who are second in the group will be hoping to end a mini slump when they travel to 1991 European champions Red Star Belgrade. Marco Rose’s side lost 0-1 to Wolfsburg in the German Cup and Mainz (0-2) in the Bundesliga to dampen spirits at the Red Bull Arena.
Veteran skipper Manuel Neuer, the last surviving member of the club’s 2013 triumph, is to lead from the front as second favourites Bayern Munich target maximum points at home to Turkish champions Galatasaray on Wednesday. The Bavarians giants responded to last week’s 1-2 upset loss to third division side Saarbrucken in the German Cup by eviscerating Borussia Dortmund 4-0 in the Bundesliga.
Star striker Harry Kane will be a marked man as he plots to increase on his already impressive tally of 17 goals across all competitions. 1968, 1999 and 2008 champions Manchester United begin match day four in third place in group A but buoyed by a last gasp Premier League victory over Fulham on Saturday. The club’s 30-goal top scorer from last season, Marcus Rashford, missed the victory at Craven Cottage but is in contention to start at FC Copenhagen.
Third favourites Real Madrid can seal qualification from group C if they overcome Sporting Braga for the second time in less than a month. The record 14-time champions were uncharacteristically profligate in being held to a goalless stalemate by Rayo Vallecano in Liga Santander but should have too much firepower for the Portuguese outfit. In the other group C game, Italian champions Napoli will aim to compound the misery of Union Berlin who travel to the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium amidst a twelve game losing spiral.
English Premier League flag bearers Arsenal are fourth favourites but they need results in two more fixtures, starting with Wednesday’s home encounter with seven time Europa League winners Sevilla. The Gunners go into the match on the back of successive losses to West Ham United in the Carabao Cup and Newcastle United in games which underlined the importance of missing striker Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian was the difference as the Gunners prevailed 2-1 at the Ramon Sanchez Picjuan Stadium.
Borussia Dortmund v Newcastle United,
Shakhtar Donetsk v Barcelona,
Lazio v Feyenoord,
Atletico Madrid v Celtic,
AC Milan v Paris Saint Germain,
Manchester City v Young Boys,
Red Star Belgrade v RB Leipzig,
FC Porto v Royal Antwerp
Real Sociedad v Benfica,
Napoli v Union Berlin,
Real Madrid v Sporting Braga,
Arsenal v Sevilla,
FC Copenhagen v Manchester United,
Bayern Munich v Galatasaray,
Red Bull Salzburg v Inter Milan,
PSV Eindhoven v Racing Lens