Champions League Matchday 2 preview for Groups E to H: Liverpool welcome Salzburg to Anfield, Barcelona play host to Internazionale
Groups E to H conclude Matchday 2 games of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League as seven winners of the competition would be in action, including two former winners going head-to-head in a marquee clash.
Defending champions Liverpool seek their first goals and points of their campaign following a 2-0 reverse at Napoli on matchday-1. Former winners Benfica and Chelsea would look for their first points in the competition following disappointing home reverses.
Here is how groups E to H line up to conclude Matchday 2 action:
Group - E
Austrian club RB Salzburg are the surprise group leaders in the section after they thumped Belgian side Genk 6-2 at home in the highest scoring game on the first matchday and Napoli upset defending champions Liverpool 2-0 at home.
On the second matchday, Genk play host to Napoli while Salzburg travel to Anfield to face Liverpool.
Genk vs Napoli
Genk suffered the biggest defeat of matchday 1 when the Belgian side went down 2-6 at Austria's RB Salzburg.
On matchday 2, Genk play host to Italian club SSC Napoli who beat defending champions Liverpool 2-0 at home. This would be the first meeting between the two sides.
In four previous meetings against Italian clubs, Genk have won twice and lost once. Napoli have met Belgian opposition six times in the past, winning three and losing two of those match-ups. The southern Italian club have won 2 of their 3 home games this season (all in Serie A).
Last season, Napoli won 4 of their 6 games in their Champions League group but missed out on second place to eventual winners Liverpool by the slenderest of margins (goals scored) after both clubs had the same goal difference. That marked only the third instance in competition history, and the second time for Napoli (also 2013-14) that the Italian club missed out on the Champions League knockout stage after winning four of their group games.
Liverpool vs RB Salzburg
The defending champions started their title defence on the wrong note, going down at Napoli for the second time in as many group games. However, the six-time European winners have sizzled on the home stage, winning all their seven games to mark their best start to a domestic season.
On matchday 2, Liverpool would look for their first goals and first win of their European campaign against surprise group leaders RB Salzburg of Austria. This would be the first meeting between the two sides.
In 6 previous meetings with Austrian clubs, Liverpool have won 4 times and lost just once. Salzburg are winless in 5 previous meetings with English clubs, suffering four losses and managing to draw once.
Liverpool are yet to keep a clean sheet in three home games this season (all in the Premier League), but would be overwhelming favourites to get all three points against their Austrian visitors in their first European home game of the season.
Group - F
Slavia Praha and Internazionale are the group leaders, on goals scored, in Group-F after matchday 1. The pair played out a 1-1 draw at the San Siro and Barcelona were held to a goalless stalemate at Borussia Dortmund.
On matchday 2, Barcelona welcome Serie A leaders Internazionale to the Camp Nou while Dortmund travel to the Czech capital to face Slavia Praha.
Barcelona vs Internazionale
Barcelona have met Italian clubs on 62 occasions (excluding friendlies) in the past, winning 28 and losing 15 of those match-ups, which includes 6 wins and 2 losses in 12 meetings against their matchday 2 visitors Internazionale.
The Spanish club's last home loss to Inter came in the 1969-70 group stage of the UEFA Cup / Europa League. They have since won all four home games against the Serie A leaders, which includes a 2-0 victory in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League last season.
Since a 2-0 defeat to AC Milan at Camp Nou in the first group stage of the 2000-01 UEFA Champions League, Barcelona have not lost to Italian opposition in 17 subsequent home meetings in the competition, winning 12 times and drawing on five occasions.
In 46 competitive meetings against Spanish opposition, Internazionale have won on 14 occasions while losing 19 times. Since beating Valencia 5-1 in a 2004-05 group stage game, Inter haven't scored a goal in their next five visits to Spain, losing four of those games.
Their last three visits to the country include as many defeats to Barcelona (2018-19 group stage, 2009-10 semifinal second leg, and 2009-10 group stage).
Slavia Praha vs Borussia Dortmund
In their first-ever meeting with Barcelona in the Champions League, Borussia Dortmund had a goalless draw against their Spanish visitors on the first matchday.
On matchday 2, the Bundesliga side travel to Czech side Slavia Praha, who drew 1-1 at Internazionale in their first European game of the season. This would be the first competitive meeting between the two sides.
In their 10 previous games against Czech opposition, Dortmund have won 6 times and lost just once. Slavia have 4 wins and 8 draws in their 16 previous meetings against German clubs.
Group - G
German club RB Leipzig are the group toppers following their 2-1 win away at Benfica and Olympique Lyon's draw with Zenit St. Petersburg of Russia.
On matchday 2, Leipzig play host to Lyon while Benfica travel to Zenit St. Petersburg.
RB Leipzig vs Olympique Lyonnais
RB Leipzig registered only their third match win from seven games in the competition when they triumphed 2-1 away in Benfica on matchday 1.
On the second matchday, the second-placed Bundesliga side play host to French club Olympique Lyonnais. This would be the first competitive meeting between the two sides.
In five previous meetings with French opposition, Leipzig have won on 3 occasions while losing once. Lyon have 15 wins and 10 defeats from 30 previous meetings against German clubs.
Zenit St. Petersburg vs Benfica
Zenit St. Petersburg play host to Portuguese club Benfica on matchday 2, following their 1-1 draw at Lyon on the first matchday. Benfica lost to Leipzig at home on matchday 1.
The fifth-placed club in the Russian league has 8 wins from 15 previous meetings with clubs from Portugal, which includes 3 wins and 3 losses from their six meetings with their matchday 2 visitors.
Two time European winners (1961, 62), Benfica have 8 wins from 18 previous meetings with Russian clubs, which includes a win from three visits to St. Petersburg.
Group - H
Last season's semifinalist Ajax Amsterdam are the group leaders following their 3-0 home win over Lille and 2012 winners Chelsea's 1-2 home defeat against Valencia, after the first round of group games.
On matchday 2, Lille play host to Chelsea while Ajax travel to Valencia.
LOSC Lille vs Chelsea
Former Blues player Frank Lampard's first European game in charge of his former club started on the wrong note when Chelsea succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at home against Spanish side Valencia.
Last season's Europa League winners, back in the Champions League after a season's absence, travel to the north of France to take on LOSC Lille on matchday 2. This would be the first meeting between the two clubs.
Lille have three wins and six losses from 14 previous meetings with Premier League sides while Chelsea have five wins and six losses from 17 previous meetings against sides from the other side of the English Channel.
Valencia vs Ajax
Last season's semifinalists Ajax Amsterdam (lost to Tottenham Hostpur) started their campaign in the 2019-20 Champions League with a convincing 3-0 home win over Lille on the first matchday.
On the second matchday, the Dutch side travel to Spanish side Valencia. In 39 previous meetings with Spanish sides, Ajax have triumphed on 16 occasions while losing 17 times. In their last visit to Spain, Ajax recorded a memorable 4-1 win at the Santiago Bernabéu to oust 13-time champions Real Madrid in the Round of 16.
Valencia have won 6 and lost 3 of their 15 previous clashes with Eredivisie sides, which includes a pair of 1-1 draws against their matchday 2 visitors in the 2002-03 Champions League second group stage.