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UEFA Champions League Preview: Juventus faces Man United, Napoli hosts PSG, and more


The UEFA Champions League returns this week with two familiar foes facing off once again, this time in Turin.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus welcomes Manchester United to town, seeking a sweep of the Red Devils in group stage play this Wednesday. The Old Lady grabbed a 1-0 win at Old Trafford on Matchday 3 and currently lead Group H on nine points.

Tuesday sees two high-flying attacks duke it out once again as Napoli hosts Paris Saint-Germain at the San Paolo. Borussia Dortmund travels to Atletico Madrid in the other high-profile matchup on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the Champions League, Galatasaray hosts Schalke while Real Madrid entertains Viktoria Plzen away at home. Manchester City faces Shakhtar Donetsk in Group F play, looking to stay atop the group.

Here’s a closer look at this week’s Champions League action:

Juventus vs. Manchester United – Wednesday, 3 p.m.  TNT, UniMas

Injuries to Note: Romelu Lukaku could miss Manchester United’s trip to Juventus after picking up a muscular injury last week in training. Antonio Valencia is likely to miss out while Marouane Fellaini and Diego Dalot remain unavailable. Mario Mandzukic will be evaluated pregame for Juve, however Giorgio Chiellini and Federico Bernardeschi should be back.

Key to the Match: Both teams will have chances to win this match but whoever makes the most of their chances will do so. Juventus are good on the ball and will aim to stretch United out while the Red Devils need to attack on the wings.

Player to Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo did not score in the reverse tie at Old Trafford but he has made a huge impact with the Italian giants this season. Ronaldo has seven goals and five assists this season and will be chomping at the bit to score against his old club.

Quote: “We need to keep clear heads at all times, otherwise we can concede from the opposition’s first cross and then almost concede another from Cagliari’s only chance in the second half,” Massimiliano Allegri said. “It’s one of the few things we’re not doing so well, and we must work on it and concentrate more. We must try to secure our place in the next round on Wednesday.”

Atletico Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund- Tuesday, 3 p.m. Galavision, B/R Live

Injuries to Note: Marcel Schmelzer and Abdou Diallo are all still out for Dortmund but Mario Gotze and Lukasz Piszczek have traveled to Madrid. Atletico’s Diego Costa and Diego Godin are both doubtful for the match.

Key to the Match: Atletico are wobbling at the moment and need to get back to strong defense for a chance at points. After suffering their heaviest defeat under Diego Simeone, Atletico will aim to be firm at the back while hitting Dortmund on the counter. The Bundesliga side needs to be deadly on the wings while also hitting Atletico on counter attacks, which has been so good for them this season.

Player to Watch: Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho is blossoming quickly for the Bundesliga side, scoring five goals and adding eight assists in 15 appearances this season. The 18-year-old scored in the 4-0 triumph over Atletico and has been influential in attack this season.

Quote: He [Costa] is an extraordinary player and very important for us,” Simeone said. “Not least because of what he contributes to the atmosphere in the dressing room.”

Napoli vs. Paris Saint-Germain – Tuesday, 3 p.m. TNT, B/R Live

Injuries of Note: Faouzi Ghoulam returns for Napoli after missing out the past year with injury. Gianluigi Buffon is set to make his first UCL appearance for PSG although Edinson Cavani, Dani Alves, and Layvin Kurzawa remain doubts.

Key to the Match: We all know about the high-flying attacks but defensively both teams need to buckle down for a chance at three points. Napoli will aim to keep PSG out on the wings, while PSG hopes to keep Napoli in the middle of the field.

Player to Watch: Italian international Lorenzo Insigne has nine goals in all comps for Napoli, including a recent three point performance in a 5-1 beatdown of Empoli on Friday.

Quote: “It’s an important game and can be decisive for both teams,” Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti said. “We ended up in a very difficult group with PSG and Liverpool. We need an extraordinary performance in order to get the victory, because we don’t have the kind of exceptional players they do throughout the squad.”

Inter Milan vs. Barcelona – Tuesday, 3 p.m., Univision, B/R Live

Injuries of Note: Lionel Messi is listed as probable for Barcelona after recovering from a broken bone in his right arm suffered on Oct. 20th.

Key to the Match: For Inter to have a chance at home, they need to hit the ground running on offense. Wing play will be important for the attack-minded hosts while Barcelona hopes to keep possession and wait for their moment to strike.

Player to Watch: If Messi cannot go, look for a lot of the workload to fall on the shoulders of Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan scored a brace on Saturday, including the game-winner at Rayo Vallecano. Suarez has nine goals in 14 appearances in 2018-19.

Quote: “Leo is at the point where he might be available,” Barca boss Ernesto Valverde said. “We have to see if he’s safe to play. In terms of his play and movements, he’s fine.

Here’s all of this week’s UCL action:

Monaco vs. Club Brugge – Tuesday, 12:55 p.m.
Crvena Zvezda vs. Liverpool – Tuesday, 12:55 p.m TNT, B/R Live
Atletico Madrid vs. Liverpool – Tuesday, 3 p.m.
Tottenham Hotspur vs. PSV – Tuesday, 3 p.m.
Inter Milan vs. Barcelona – Tuesday, 3 p.m.
Napoli vs. Paris Saint-Germain – Tuesday, 3 p.m.
FC Porto vs. Lokomotiv Moscow – Tuesday, 3 p.m.
Schalke vs. Galatasaray – Tuesday, 3 p.m.
CSKA Moscow vs. AS Roma – Wednesday, 12:55 p.m. TNT
Valencia vs. Young Boys – Wednesday, 12:55 p.m.
Bayern Munich vs. AEK Athens – Wednesday, 3 p.m.
Benfica vs. Ajax – Wednesday, 3 p.m.
Lyon vs. Hoffenheim – Wednesday, 3 p.m.
Manchester City vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – Wednesday, 3 p.m.
Viktoria Plzen vs. Real Madrid – Wednesday, 3 p.m.
Juventus vs. Manchester United – Wednesday, 3 p.m.

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