UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE REVIEW ( MATCH DAY 1-3)

The UEFA Champions League has since commenced with the search for who becomes the undisputed last team standing of the 2022/2023 season in full swing. We take an in-depth review of all eight groups as we have reached the halfway point of all group stage matches.

  • GROUP A { SSC NAPOLI, LIVERPOOL FC, AFC AJAX, RANGERS }

Mainly touted as the group of death, it has surely lived up to its expectations with a series of surprising results and lots of goals from all four teams involved. Napoli so far has scored an impressive 13 goals in 3 matches(competition’s current highest) with a notable 4-1 drubbing of Liverpool on match day 1, an away 3-0 win over Rangers at the Ibrox Stadium and a 6-1 massacre of AFC Ajax. Liverpool themselves have gotten two wins on the bounce at Anfield beating Ajax on match day 2 and Rangers on match day 3. Ajax’s only win thus far remains the match day 1 drubbing 4-0 win over Rangers with the return leg match at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium the last chance if they have hopes for the knockout stages. Rangers remain the whipping boys of the group as they failed to score a goal or pick a point in the group.

  • GROUP B { CLUB BRUGGE, BAYER 04 LEVERKUSEN, ATLETICO MADRID, FC PORTO }

The group has reach it’s halfway group match stage and the standings look very interesting with the supposed under dogs – Club Brugge leading the group with 3 wins out of 3 and having a clean sheet in all 3 wins (1-0 vs Bayer Leverkusen, 4-0 vs FC Porto, 2-0 vs Atletico Madrid). Bayer Leverkusen, FC Porto and Atletico Madrid all have 3 points in group as the next round of matches would prove to be the decider with Club Brugge needing at least 1 point to assure them of a qualification berth to the knockout stages.

  • GROUP C { FC BAYERN MUNICH, INTER MILAN, FC BARCELONA, VIKTORIA PLZEN }

FC Barcelona find themselves in the same tricky spot as last season with the club picking up just 1 win (Match Day 1 vs Viktoria Plzen 5-1) with back to back losses to Bayern Munich and Inter Milan putting their chances to qualify for the knockout stages in jeopardy. Bayern Munich would need just 1 point to qualify for the next round with the return leg trip to the ‘Doosan Arena’ a likely place to seal qualification. Inter Milan would need a win at the ‘Spotify Camp Nou’  to seal a berth in the qualification spots with Viktoria Plzen written off after losing 3 matches and conceding 12 goals in the process (current competition’s most).

  • GROUP D { SPORTING CP, TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FC, EINTRACHT FRANKFURT EV, OLYMPIQUE MARSEILLE }

Olympique Marseille beat group leaders Sporting CP 4-1 on match day three to throw the group wide open amongst all four teams with just 3 points separating the four positions. Sporting CP won their first two matches with victories over Eintracht Frankfurt (3-0) and Tottenham Hotspur (2-0) to lead the group with 6 points and are followed by Tottenham Hotspur and Eintracht Frankfurt on 4 points each with Olympique Marseille 3 points a courtesy of their match day three’s impeccable 4-1 defeat of the group leaders. It would be all to play for in the return leg rematch fixtures  with Tottenham Hotspur hosting Eintracht Frankfurt in England and Olympique Marseille going to the ‘Jose Alvalade Stadium’ to seek a repeat win over the current group leaders Sporting CP.

  • GROUP E { RB SALZBURG, CHELSEA FC, AC MILAN, GNK DINAMO ZAGREB }

The only unbeaten team in the group thus far RB Salzburg lead the group with 2 draws and match day three’s hard fought 1-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb with 5 points from 3 matches. Chelsea got their first win of the group with a brilliant 3-0 mauling of AC Milan at Stamford Bridge to put them on the same points with the Italian Champions with the return leg at San Siro a chance for either teams to gain momentum going into the final matches. There’s still a fair chance for Dinamo Zagreb who would be looking to steal a win over RB Salzburg at the ‘Stadion Maksimir’ when they host the Austrian Champions in the Zagreb, Croatia.

  • GROUP F { REAL MADRID CF, SHAKHTAR DONESTK FC , RB LEIPZIG, CELTIC FC }

Real Madrid have made a clean sweep of the first 3 matches in their Champions League group with the La Liga Champions winning all three group games and needing a win when they travel to Ukraine for their return fixture tie to Shakhtar Donestk to seal the group’s top spot place. Just 3 points separate the 2nd to 4th positions and there would be all to play for in the clash between Celtic and RB Leipzig at the ‘Celtic Park’ especially if Real Madrid do get all three points when they travel to the ‘Polish Army Stadium’ for their match day four duel.

  • GROUP G { MANCHESTER CITY FC, BORUSSIA DORTMUND, SEVILLA FC, FC COPENHAGEN }

The top two places in the group seems to have been sorted out with Manchester City leading with 3 wins from 3 matches and have scored 11 goals with Borussia Dortmund closely following with 2 wins out of 3 matches as Sevilla and Copenhagen still chase their first wins of the group after picking up 1 point from their 3 matches to leave them both with slim chances of making the UCL knockouts. Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund could both seal qualification to the UCL knockouts with wins at the ‘Parken Stadium’ and the ‘Signal Iduna Park’ respectively when the UCL resumes for match day 4.

  • GROUP H { PARIS SAINT GERMAIN FC, SL BENFICA, JUVENTUS FC, MACCABI HAIFA FC }

Juventus got their first win of the UCL season with an emphatic 3-1 victory over Maccabi Haifa to get them 4 points off Paris Saint Germain and Benfica who lead the group with 7 points from 3 games played. Maccabi Haifa’s chances of a knockout tie would be squashed should they lose to Juventus in their home tie at the ‘Haifa Municipal Stadium’. Paris Saint Germain and Benfica  next clash at the ‘Parc Des Princes’ would be a perfect opportunity for either team to take pole position of the group with a win from either team enough to seal qualification to the knockout stages.

The stakes would be so much higher when hostilities resume in match day four of the UCL with the fates of most groups likely to be decided, For many it would be a question of if Real Madrid can defend their crown or if Erling Haaland and his Manchester City teammates would pose a chance this season.

  • RIDDLER ZLATAN-HARDIZ

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