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What to look out for on UEFA Champions League Matchday 1

Nick Wilhelm

Updated: Sep 06, 2022 08:20

What to look out for on UEFA Champions League Matchday 1

As the group stage begins, Real Madrid, the current champions, must travel to Glasgow, Erling Haaland has Sevilla on his radar, and Bayern are on the move.

champions-league (1)

Kyogo Furuhashi of Celtic, Erling Haaland of Man. City, and Sadio Mané of Bayern

There are 16 games in the first two days of the UEFA Champions League.

In advance of the first games, we highlight several important discussion points.

6 September

Group E: Dinamo Zagreb vs Chelsea, Salzburg vs AC Milan

Group F: Celtic vs Real Madrid, Leipzig vs Shakhtar

Group G: Sevilla vs Man City, Dortmund vs Copenhagen

Group H: Paris vs Juventus, Benfica vs Maccabi Haifa

7 September

Group A: Ajax vs Rangers, Napoli vs Liverpool

Group B: Atlético vs Porto, Club Brugge vs Leverkusen

Group C: Inter vs Bayern, Barcelona vs Plzeň

Group D: Frankfurt vs Sporting CP, Tottenham vs Marseille

What to look out for

Celtic welcome holders Real Madrid

After reclaiming the Scottish championship from Rangers last season, Celtic is making a strong comeback to the Champions League group stage after missing out in 2017–18. The current Spanish and European champions are Carlo Ancelotti's guests, but Hoops manager Ange Postecoglou wants his players to think of them as a squad that can be defeated.

"When you have these opportunities," the Australian explained, "it's better to swap shirts with players you admire after you've knocked them off, rather than just grabbing one for your collection." Celtic have form in that regard: their only previous meeting with Real Madrid came in the 1979/80 European Cup quarter-finals, the Scottish outfit winning 2-0 at home – before ultimately succumbing 3-0 in Spain.

Haaland is back with Man City in Sevilla

When Erling Haaland last visited Seville for the first round of the 2020–21 Champions League, the Spanish sports newspaper Marca began their match coverage with the phrase "A monster called." Then, in the second match against Dortmund, the Norwegian forward scored twice in both halves to earn a 5-4 victory overall, leading Marca to the conclusion that "no defense can stop him in flight."

The 22-year-old returns to the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán for Sevilla's first group stage match as a City player, hoping to disprove the newspaper. However, statistics indicate that they may have a difficult time as Haaland scored three goals in his Champions League debut for Salzburg (a 6-2 victory over Genk in September 2019) and two in his first match for BVB (a 2-1 round of 16 victory against Paris in February 2020).

Inter hosts Bayern for the 'group of death' opening

After the draw placed Bayern in Group C with matches against Inter, Barcelona, and Plze, Julian Nagelsmann was certain that Bayern would travel to Inter for the opening game of the "group of death": The coach of the Bundesliga champions claimed, "It is without a doubt the most difficult group in the group stage." The 35-year-old said, "I think we can finish first," despite his team's belief that it can overcome any obstacle.

In the first four competitive games of their domestic campaign, Bayern scored 20 goals, with newcomer Sadio Mané assuring that Robert Lewandowski hasn't been much missed. But Inter, led by Simone Inzaghi, won second place in Italy last year, and their choices up front include Edin Deko, Lautaro Martinez, and Romelu Lukaku.

When are the group stage matches for the UEFA Champions League being played?

Matchday 1: 6/7 September 2022

Matchday 2: 13/14 September 2022

Matchday 3: 4/5 October 2022

Matchday 4: 11/12 October 2022

Matchday 5: 25/26 October 2022

Matchday 6: 1/2 November 2022

Further ahead

On Tuesday of Matchday 2, when Robert Lewandowski comes to Bayern with his new team, Barcelona, the stakes in Group C will be raised. The following day, Haaland's City play Dortmund, his former team.

On Matchday 3, Anfield will be the place to be as Liverpool hosts Rangers in the first game of their Group A doubleheader. Amazingly, the British team has yet to cross paths in UEFA play.

Lionel Messi has a chance to close the 15-goal gap on his longtime adversary in the all-time top-scorer standings because Cristiano Ronaldo won't be playing in the group stage. Lewandowski and Karim Benzema, who are starting the 2022–23 season tied on 86 goals each, are ahead of them.

Where is the 2023 UEFA Champions League final being played?

istanbul-stadium

Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul will host the Champions League final on June 10, 2023.

The facility, which was created to aid Turkey's bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games, opened in 2002 and is the base for the Turkish national team. It is located in the city's Başakşehir neighborhood, west of the Bosphorus, and has a seating capacity of more than 75,000 people.

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