Close to two months after the most recent UEFA Champions League Final, the top European club competition returns with 32 teams aiming for a quick start in group stage play.
Several top matchups take place on Matchday 1 this week with a pair of familiar faces squaring off in Paris on Tuesday. Paris Saint-Germain welcomes Manchester United to the Parc Des Princes in the clubs first meeting since March 2019.
The Red Devils ousted PSG from the Round of 16 back then, with a Marcus Rashford stoppage-time penalty kick sealing a dramatic victory in Paris. Fast forward to 2020, Edinson Cavani is now with the Red Devils from PSG while Neymar and Kylian Mbappe lead Thomas Tuchel’s attack.
Defending champion Bayern Munich hosts Atletico Madrid on Wednesday looking to kickstart its defense in style. These teams last met in group stage play in 2016 with them splitting their two meetings by respective 1-0 scorelines. Robert Lewandowski and Luis Suarez headline the attacking talents in this matchup.
Elsewhere, Chelsea will play host to Sevilla in London on Tuesday while Borussia Dortmund also visits Serie A side Lazio on the same night.
Here is a closer look at the top matches this week in UCL play:
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester United
(Tuesday 3 p.m.)
PSG has painful memories from its last meeting with Manchester United, but luckily is riding a five-match winning run in league play up to this point. A 4-0 beatdown of Nimes on Friday saw Kylian Mbappe score twice while Neymar was rested following his previous obligations on international duty. The Brazilian should be fit to play a part in Tuesday’s match, but if he isn’t Pablo Sarabia could come into his spot.
Manchester United avoided a second-straight loss in Premier League play on Saturday after a 4-1 victory over Newcastle United at St. James Park. Despite conceding an early own goal, the Red Devils left it late, scoring three goals in the final 10 minutes. Marcus Rashford shined with a one-goal, two-assist performance in that win and could lead the line again with Bruno Fernandes right behind him in attack. Alex Telles could make his United debut after being an unused substitute on Saturday.
Bayern Munich vs. Atletico Madrid
(Wednesday, 3 p.m.)
Defending champions Bayern Munich seeks a fifth straight win in all competitions with Atletico Madrid coming to town on Wednesday. Hansi Flick’s side rolled past Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday with Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller each scoring twice. These two veterans are likely to be key against a defensively-minded Atletico side, who has kept three straight clean sheets in league play.
Diego Simeone’s side defeated Celta Vigo 2-0 on Saturday with Luis Suarez and Yannick Carrasco amongst the goals. Suarez’s arrival at Atletico has provided a major boost to the club, helping take the pressure off of Diego Costa and Joao Felix in attack. Carrasco scored in a 1-0 win over Bayern back in 2016, while Lewandowski scored in the return fixture later that year.
Chelsea vs. Sevilla
(Tuesday, 3 p.m.)
The two favorites in Group H square off at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday on opposite runs of form. Chelsea eventually tied Southampton 3-3 on Saturday, but did see Timo Werner bag his first two league goals for the club. Kai Havertz also scored in the draw while Christian Pulisic made his first start of the season. It will be intriguing to see how Frank Lampard lines his attack up against Sevilla, with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech also eager to get onto the field.
Sevilla saw its three match unbeaten run ended on Saturday after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Granada. Ivan Rakitic’s arrival gives Sevilla another key producer in midfield while forward Luuk de Jong has scored in two of the last four matches. Lucas Ocampos could be the X-Factor for Sevilla’s attack after netting 14 league goals last season for the club.
Lazio vs. Borussia Dortmund
Tuesday, 3 p.m.
Group F favorites Lazio and Borussia Dortmund meet on Matchday 1 looking to take an early hold of the lead at the top of the table.
Lazio has struggled in Serie A play so far, failing to win any of its last three matches. A 3-0 thumping at the hands of Sampdoria has seen Lazio concede eight goals in the last three matches, a worrying sign ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Dortmund. Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will need to be influential in attack to give Lazio a strong chance of knocking off its Bundesliga visitors.
After suffering back-to-back league losses, Borussia Dortmund has bounced back with a pair of wins. Dortmund shutout Freiburg and Hoffenheim in consecutive weeks with four different players getting on the scoresheet. Erling Haaland scored two goals in that span while Marco Reus is coming off a strong performance at the weekend. Young American Giovanni Reyna could start in midfield, giving another option in the Dortmund attack at the Olimpico.
Here’s a full schedule of this week’s UCL action:
(all times ET)
Dynamo Kyiv vs. Juventus – 12:55 p.m.
Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Club Brugge – 12:55 p.m.
Barcelona vs. Ferencvaros – 3 p.m.
Chelsea vs. Sevilla – 3 p.m.
Lazio vs. Borussia Dortmund – 3 p.m.
PSG vs. Manchester United – 3 p.m.
RB Leipzig vs. Istanbul Basaksehir – 3 p.m.
Rennes vs. Krasnodar – 3 p.m.
Real Madrid vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 12:55 p.m.
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Lokomotiv Moscow – 12:55 p.m.
Ajax vs. Liverpool – 3 p.m.
Bayern Munich vs. Atletico Madrid – 3 p.m.
Inter Milan vs. Borussia Monchengladbach – 3 p.m.
Manchester City vs. FC Porto – 3 p.m.
Midtjylland vs. Atalanta – 3 p.m.
Olympiacos vs. Marseille – 3 p.m.