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UEFA Champions League Preview: Juventus hosts Barcelona, RB Leipzig visits Man United, and more


The thick and fast group stage schedule of the UEFA Champions League continues this week with several intriguing matches to keep an eye on. 

Group G favorites clash in Turin on Wednesday as Juventus welcomes Barcelona to town. It will be the latest installment of the Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi rivalry which will see both teams aim to keep their unbeaten starts alive.

Also on Wednesday, RB Leipzig looks to claim a major upset win over Manchester United in Group H. Julian Nagelsmann’s side defeated Istanbul Basaksehir 2-0 on Matchday 1 and will face a Red Devils side who have been unconvincing at home so far in all competitions.

Elsewhere, Manchester City looks to make it back-to-back group stage wins as Pep Guardiola’s side travels to Marseille on Tuesday while Real Madrid also visits Borussia Monchengladbach.

Here is a closer look at the top matches this week in UCL play:

Juventus vs. Barcelona

(Wednesday 4 p.m.)

The recent rivalry between Juventus and Barcelona continues this week with Andrea Pirlo facing his best challenge yet as Juve boss. The Old Lady is coming off a 1-1 league draw with Hellas Verona on Sunday with Dejan Kulusevski scoring the lone goal for the club. Alvaro Morata is coming off a two-goal performance against Dynamo Kyiv on Matchday 1, while Cristiano Ronaldo is always a threat offensively.

Barcelona rolled past Ferencvaros 5-1 on Matchday 1, but suffered a disappointing El Clasico loss to Real Madrid on Saturday. Ansu Fati found the back of the net for Barcelona, but the Catalan side conceded two goals late to lose at home. Lionel Messi will need a top performance to help Barcelona rebound on the road. 

Manchester United vs. RB Leipzig

(Wednesday, 4 p.m.)

Manchester United may have begun its Champions League campaign on a major high, but the Red Devils continued to show inconsistency in EPL play. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watched his side struggle offensively in a scoreless draw on Saturday vs. Chelsea despite beating Paris Saint-Germain four days prior. Edinson Cavani made his Red Devils debut at Old Trafford and should be ready to start if Solskjaer needs him this week.

RB Leipzig has rolled to a strong start in all competitions, failing to lose yet in its opening seven matches. A 2-1 league win over Hertha Berlin on Saturday saw Marcel Sabitzer and Dayot Upamecano each score for the Bundesliga club. Tyler Adams injury could force others to step up in midfield, but Sabitzer showed on several occasions last season that he can provide a spark.

Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Real Madrid

(Tuesday, 4 p.m.)

Borussia Monchengladbach has impressed so far in Bundesliga action, but should receive a tough test from Real Madrid on Tuesday. Gladbach has only lost once out of seven matches so far in the new season and is coming off a 3-2 league win at Mainz. Jonas Hofmann has scored in back-to-back matches for Marco Rose’s side and should pair nicely with Lars Stindl in the Gladback attack.
Los Blancos should be full of confidence after a 3-1 road El Clasico win over Barcelona on Saturday. Zinedine Zidane’s men rebounded from back-to-back losses prior to that in all competitions including a 3-2 Matchday 1 loss at home to Shakhtar Donetsk. Luka Modric and Isco are likely to jump back into the starting lineup for Real Madrid after playing limited minutes off the bench over the weekend.

Marseille vs. Manchester City

Tuesday, 4 p.m.
Manchester City is another team looking to get some consistency this season after coming off a 1-1 draw at West Ham United. Despite falling down early in London, Pep Guardiola’s side fought back for a point thanks to Phil Foden’s heroics off the bench. Kevin De Bruyne is also back for the Citizens while Gabriel Jesus remains out, leaving Sergio Aguero as the likely candidate to lead the offensive line.
Marseille lost 1-0 to Olympiakos on Matchday 1, but rebounded with a shutout win over Lorient in Ligue 1 play. Leonardo Balerdi scored the only goal for Andre Villas-Boas’ side on Saturday, keeping them near the top of the league standings. Dimitri Payet and Valere Germain have combined for four goals so far this season and will be two players that Man City’s streaky backline will need to limit.
Here is a full schedule of this week’s UCL action:
(all times ET)
Lokomotiv Moscow vs. Bayern Munich – 1:55 p.m.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Inter Milan – 1:55 p.m.
Atalanta vs. Ajax – 4 p.m.
Atletico Madrid vs. Red Bull Salzburg – 4 p.m.
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Real Madrid – 4 p.m.
FC Porto vs. Olympiakos – 4 p.m.
Liverpool vs. Midtjylland – 4 p.m.
Marseille vs. Manchester City – 4 p.m.
Krasnodar vs. Chelsea – 1:55 p.m.
Istanbul Basaksehir vs. Paris Saint-Germain – 1:55 p.m.
Borussia Dortmund vs. Zenit St. Petersburg – 4 p.m.
Club Brugge vs. Lazio – 4 p.m.
Ferencvaros vs. Dynamo Kyiv – 4 p.m.
Juventus vs. Barcelona – 4 p.m.
Manchester United vs. RB Leipzig – 4 p.m.
Sevilla vs. Rennes – 4 p.m.

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