October 20, (THEWILL) – After a slew of high calibre fixtures that lived up to their billing across Europe on Tuesday such as Liverpool’s triumph over Atletico Madrid in Spain and Real Madrid’s conquering of Shakhtar Donetsk in Kiev, there are some more elite football competitions in Europe to anticipate in matchday three games.
Barcelona welcomes Dynamo Kiev to Spain in the early Wednesday kickoff while the Bavarian giants Bayern Munich make the trip to Portugal to face Benfica. In England, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United take on Atalanta and Chelsea hosts Malmö FF with Italian giants Juventus in Russia for their date with Zenit.
THEWILL presents a preview of the electrifying matchups to look forward to in a Wednesday of games beginning with the early kickoff in the beleaguered Catalan side where Barca will be hoping to get out of the basement of Group E.
Barcelona Versus Dynamo Kiev – 5:45 pm
Barcelona and Dynamo Kiev come into their Group E clash at Camp Nou on Wednesday still looking for their first wins and goals of the 2021-22 Champions League season.
On matchday two, Ronald Koeman’s side were defeated 3-0 by Benfica, while their Ukrainian counterparts were thrashed 5-0 by Bayern Munich. Furthermore, Barca’s current -6 goal difference in the Champions League is the second-worst among all eight groups, trailing only Malmo’s -7.
Despite Barcelona’s ongoing on-pitch and off-pitch struggles, the visiting coach will not arrive in Catalonia full of optimism. Dynamo has a four-game Champions League losing streak against Barcelona, most recently losing 2-1 at Camp Nou in last season’s group stage before being thrashed 4-0 at home a few weeks later.
Benfica Versus Bayern Munich – 8 pm
When Benfica and Bayern Munich meet at the Estadio da Luz on Wednesday in Group E, both teams will be looking to keep their unbeaten starts in the 2021-22 Champions League.
The hosts are in second place in the group, with four points from their first two games, while Julian Nagelsmann’s side is in first place.
Bayern Munich produced a goal-laden performance on matchday two, as Nagelsmann oversaw a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev on home soil, while Benfica were marching to a romping victory of their own.
Bayern can all but confirm their place in the knockout rounds with all three points this week, and their goal difference of +8 is already the best among all 32 teams in the group stage.
Manchester United Versus Atalanta – 8 pm
When Manchester United takes on Atalanta BC in Champions League action on Wednesday at Old Trafford, they will be looking to rebound from a string of poor results.
The hosts were defeated by Leicester City at the weekend and are currently third in Group F, while their upcoming opponents are first in the group and are coming off a strong Serie A victory, a 4-1 win against Empoli.
United’s tendency to be completely unpredictable from one game to the next has continued under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Raphael Varane, Amad Diallo, and Anthony Martial are all out due to injury, but Fred and Edinson Cavani are hoping to start. Because Aaron Wan-suspension Bissaka’s has been reduced to one game, the right-back is also available for Solskjaer.
In addition to Hans Hateboer and Robin Gosens, Gian Piero Gasperini will be without Matteo Pessina, and Berat Djimsiti due to injury. In the two wing-back positions, Davide Zappacosta and Joakim Maehle are likely to start.
Chelsea Vs Malmö FF – 8 pm
Chelsea will host a Malmo team that has lost its first two games, failed to score in both, and has a -7 goal difference. Malmo lost 4-0 away at Zenit in their last Champions League game and now travel to Stamford Bridge for what should be an even more difficult 90 minutes for the Swedish club.
Chelsea secured a 3-0 win when they last met Malmo back in 2019 and, although Malmo currently leads the Allsvenskan table after an impressive 3-0 win away at Ostersunds, their Champions League campaign is not going as well as it should.
The visit of the pointless Group H stragglers will no doubt excite Romelu Lukaku, who is looking to regain his scoring boots, as will Thomas Tuchel’s side, who are looking to get their campaign back on track following their loss to Juventus on matchday 2.
Zenit Versus Juventus – 8 pm
In another Wednesday evening 8 pm game, Group H leaders Juventus travel to Russia to face Zenit St Petersburg. At this point in the competition, the Italians have a perfect record, while their opponents are third in the group with one win and one loss.
Sergei Semak, Zenit’s manager, will be hoping that back-to-back losses in their domestic competition are just a blip and not the start of a crisis. However, he would have preferred a different opponent than Juventus as they try to get back on track.
After a perfect start in which they defeated the tournament holders and did not concede a goal, Juventus staked their claim to the top spot. In the first game, a 3-0 win over Malmo was perhaps expected but well-executed, and a 1-0 victory over Chelsea was ruthlessly efficient.
Their 1-0 win over Roma over the weekend was also impressive, and it will leave them in high spirits heading into the game against Zenit, as well as full faith in their new manager, Massimiliano Allegri.