As hostilities resume in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, some clubs are now experiencing dip in form and injuries among squad members.
Ahead of the games, club managers and players are talking tough, as they look forward to take the bragging right on match-day 2.
NAIJ.com in the report, highlight five matches in the new round, fans of the game would not like to miss out. These matches are expected to hold on Tuesday, October 2 and Wednesday, October 3 across Europe.
Tuesday 2 October
5. Group F: Hoffenheim v Manchester City
It is another dicey game for Manchester City as Hoffenheim have revealed their plans to win, when they host Premier League champions, in their UCL debut fixture on Tuesday.
Speaking ahead of the match, coach Julian Nagelsmann said: "Man City expect to win the game, but we've come up with a very brave plan. Our main strength is our style of play and everyone who takes the field for us tomorrow will be brave in possession."
However, City boss pep Guardiola is aware the importance of the game, after their opening day defeat by Lyon
"We have five finals ahead in the group stage and tomorrow is the first. As Vincent said perfectly, it's a top-quality competition. It's so complicated for all of us and we're trying to be stable. We are making steps forward,” the Spaniard stressed.
Man City lost their opening home tie 2-1 against Lyon, while Hoffenheim battled Shakhtar in their debut fixture, to a 2-2 draw away from home.
4. Group G: CSKA Moscow v Real Madrid
CSKA Moscow are eager to create an upset when they play host to defending champions, Real Madrid.
The Los Blancos battle with homers with a depleted squad as most of their star players will play no role in this fixture.
However, CSKA Moscow midfielder Alan Dzagoev believes they must be at their best, to get a result from the game.
"Madrid are a great club and they have enough players for two squads. They have players capable of replacing those who stayed in Madrid. I don't think that'll make it any easier for CSKA."
On his part, Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui insists it will be battle-royale all the way.
"It's going to be a very demanding game. They're at home. Any difficulties we come across, we'll have to find a solution with who we have here,” he submitted
Real Madrid beat Roma 3-0 in matchday one while CSKA played out a 2-2 draw at Plzeň.
3. Group H: Manchester United v Valencia
The showdown at Old Trafford will be closely watched by Manchester United chiefs and fans after their poor run in the English topflight.
The pairing will likely see Red Devils’ Ecuadorian right-back and team’s captain, Antonio Valencia play against his namesakes club for the first time, if he gets the nod from Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese manager is upbeat Man United will be out for a win but his opposite number, Marcelino is keen of proving the former Chelsea boss wrong ."There are always surprises," he noted. Another high-point of this fixture will see Juan Mata, face the club, he played for between 2007 and 2011.
Speaking ahead of the game, the Spaniard revealed how important the match means to him.
"Obviously it's a very special game. Valencia is a club and a city in which I had great experiences and still have fantastic memories of the people, the club and the fans."
Will this be Mourinho’s last time out at United’s manager? Till will tell.
Wednesday, October 3
2. Group B: Tottenham v Barcelona
This encounter slated for London’s Wembley, will be the cynosure of all eyes as Tottenham will be playing catch-up, against group leaders Barcelona.
Interestingly, after losing 2-1 at Inter Milan on matchday one, the home side Spurs are in urgent need for points.
Barcelona defeated Tottenham Hotspurs 2-1 on aggregate in their only previous encounter in a 1981/82 Cup Winners' Cup semi-final, and would be targeting another to celebrate Gerard Piqué's 100th Champions. On the other hand, club captain Lionel Messi at last count, has netted 20 times in 28 matches against English clubs.
And on matchday one, Messi scored a hat-trick in Barcelona's 4-1 win against Dutch side, PSV.
1. Group C: Napoli v Liverpool
The cracker slated for Napoli’s home ground, Stadio San Paolo, is expected to be an interesting fixture.
Some of the facts emerging revealed that Napoli’s Italian manager, Carlo Ancelotti is yet to suffer defeat in a Champions League game against the visiting side, Liverpool.
During his spell at AC Milan and Real Madrid he reigned supreme.
However, the big question lovers of football will be looking out for answers is will he keep his unbeaten record once more with his new club, or will Jurgen Klopp's tutored-side Liverpool build successfully on opening day win against Paris?
Ancelotti was at the helms of the affair as Milan defeated Liverpool in the 2007 final.
Liverpool beat Paris 3-2 in opener while Napoli could only secure a barren draw at Crvena zvezda.
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