UEFA Champions League 2018-19: 5 Matches in the Group Stage you can't afford to miss
Excited for the Champions League? Buzzing for those mid-week matches? Well, the 8-month-long European competition begins tomorrow and the elite battle it out to crown themselves king. However, there are a total of 106 matches, just in the group stages! And trust me, you don’t want to be stuck watching AEK Athens vs Benfica. So, here are 5 matches that you cannot afford to miss in the group stages.
#1 Manchester United vs Juventus - Old Trafford, 24th October, 12:30 AM [IST]
Surely to be one of the most exciting matches this year, you can expect fireworks from both sides. Juventus have a stunningly good team, with Alex Sandro, Douglas Costa, Paulo Dybala and of course Cristiano Ronaldo lining up for the Bianconeri.
They have done some great work in the transfer market too, not only signing CR7 but also reuniting their “BBC” defensive trio of Barzagli, Bonnuci and Chiellini. Manchester United only bought Fred and Diogo Dalot in the window, but after all the drama surrounding Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho, it finally feels like United have begun to click like a team with Jesse Lingard, Romelu Lukaku and Luke Shaw emerging as key players.
United do have issues in defence, however, and a tough European night in Manchester will be quite a test for Jose’s boys. Also, as Ronaldo returns to Old Trafford and Pogba plays his former employers, it’ll be a night of supreme football and rekindling old friendships.
#2 Borussia Dortmund vs Atletico Madrid - Signal Iduna Park, 25th October, 12:30 AM [IST]
When Atletico Madrid won the Europa league, people were impressed. When they added signings including exciting wingers Thomas Lemar and Gelson Martins AND retained Antoine Griezmann, is when people really took notice.
But it wasn’t until they beat Real Madrid 4-2 in the UEFA Super Cup until did people really know that Los Rojiblancos are gunning for glory in Europe this season. With a ludicrously talented back line consisting of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, partners at international level, along with new signing French World Cup winner Lucas Hernandez, Atletico are a rock at the back.
While the Madrid side may have had a superb last season, such can hardly be said of their opponents, Dortmund. They finished 29 points behind champions Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and lost Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – their star striker. However, they have signed both Barcelona forward Palco Alcacer (on loan) and Alex Witsel.
Also, with exciting American playmaker Christian Pulisic and 18-year-old English winger Jadon Sancho under Marco Reus’ captaincy, Dortmund can dream big. Look out for this one, a battle of two teams with immense talent, hungry to assert themselves in Europe.