Champions League Tuesday preview: Atleti and Liverpool set for battle
All eyes will be on Atletico Madrid and Liverpool on Tuesday as the Champions League group stage reaches its halfway point this week.
Diego Simeone and Jurgen Klopp will renew their rivalry when the Reds head to the Spanish capital for a mouth-watering Group B clash.
Manchester City are also on their travels — Pep Guardiola's men are in Belgium to face Club Brugge in Group A.
Read on as we preview each and every game ahead of what promises to be a cracking night of action.
Club Brugge vs Manchester City (5.45pm, BT Sport 2)
Manchester City face Group A surprise package Club Brugge looking to get their Champions League campaign back on track.
Guardiola’s side lost at Paris Saint-Germain last time out and the Spaniard is hoping to avoid back-to-back away defeats in the competition for the first time as City boss.
The visitors have also only kept two clean sheets in their past seven games after not conceding in their seven matches prior to that.
It will not be an easy task against a Brugge side full of confidence and spearheaded by the in-form Hans Vanaken.
He has scored in each of his past four Champions League games, during which time the Belgian side have picked up eight points including a 1-1 draw with PSG on matchday one.
Paris Saint-Germain vs RB Leipzig (8pm, BT Sport 3)
Familiar foes Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig meet for the third consecutive season in the Champions League.
Both sides won their home ties in last season’s group stage following PSG’s 3-0 single leg semi-final victory at the end of 2019-20.
Les Parisiens have an imperious record against Bundesliga teams, winning seven of their eight meetings at the Parc des Princes.
And with Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch failing to see any of his sides keep a clean sheet in 14 Champions League games, Lionel Messi and Co will be confident of staying top of Group A.
They will have to be wary of their own academy product Christopher Nkunku, who has scored four times in the competition already this season.
Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool (8pm, BT Sport 2)
Revenge will be the order of the day for Klopp and Liverpool when they face Atletico.
Simeone’s side dumped the Reds out in the last 16 in 2019-20, winning both legs against the then holders.
Atleti have never lost to Liverpool in the Champions League, winning twice and drawing two of their four meetings.
And the Reds’ record on Spanish soil is miserable, with the only win from their past seven trips coming at the Wanda Metropolitano in the 2019 final.
Mohamed Salah will look to net in his sixth successive Champions League away game, while former Reds favourite Luis Suarez comes up against his former club for just the third time since leaving.
LiveScore’s live coverage of Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool kicks off with a pre-match show at 7.25pm. (Available to app users in Ireland only.)
Porto vs AC Milan (8pm, BT Sport Extra 2)
Porto and AC Milan both need to take advantage of any slip-ups from Atleti or Liverpool in this Group B clash.
The hosts drew with the Spaniards before losing to the Reds, while Milan have suffered back-to-back defeats on their return to the competition.
Though they could lose three successive Champions League home games for the first time, Porto had kept six group-stage clean sheets in a row prior to their 5-1 defeat to Liverpool.
And in Mehdi Taremi they have a man who knows where the back of the net is — he is looking to score in his third consecutive home game.
For Milan, tightening up a leaky defence is key as they have no issues at the other end of the field having seen both Rafael Leao and Brahim Diaz score or assist in the opening two games.
Besiktas vs Sporting (5.45pm, BT Sport ESPN)
Group C basement boys Besiktas and Sporting Lisbon know defeat could be fatal to their chances of progressing to the knockout rounds.
Both sides have suffered defeats to Ajax and Borussia Dortmund in their opening games leaving them behind the eight ball in the battle for qualification.
Besiktas’ home record in the Champions League is miserable with one victory in their past 11 games.
And there could be goals on the menu in Istanbul with Sporting failing to keep a clean sheet in 12 attempts, while Besiktas’ expected goals against of 6.5 is the highest in the competition.
That means Sporting striker Paulinho will be licking his lips. He scored the club’s only goal in the Champions League so far this season and has seven in his last 11 starts in major European competitions.
Ajax vs Borussia Dortmund (8pm, BT Sport Extra 3)
Victory for either Ajax or Borussia Dortmund will put them on the verge of early qualification from the group stage.
And if the Dutch giants successfully see off Dortmund, it will be the first time since 1995-96 that they have won their opening three games in the tournament.
BVB star Erling Haaland will have his eye on the top-scorer prize in the Champions League but Ajax striker Sebastien Haller currently leads the way with five goals in just two games.
If Dortmund are to pick up three points at the Johan Cruyff Arena and make it five wins in their last six away games, they will hope that Haaland makes it 10 goals in 10 away appearances in the tournament.
Bizarrely, at the end of the two previous seasons that these clubs have met in Europe’s premier competition, one of them has ended up losing the final — Ajax did so in 1995-96, while the Germans did in 2012-13.
Inter Milan vs Sheriff Tiraspol (8pm, BT Sport Extra 4)
Minnows Sheriff Tiraspol will look to continue their remarkable debut season in the Champions League against Serie A champions Inter Milan.
The Moldovans pulled off one of the biggest shocks in European history when they beat Real Madrid at the Bernabeu and sit top of Group D with maximum points.
It has been a different story for Inter, who lost to Real and could only muster a point against Shakhtar.
They will have plenty of the ball against Sheriff, who average just 24.8% possession in the tournament — the lowest since records began in 2003.
Despite their success at home, Inter have only won one of their past nine Champions League games, a record they need to put right quickly if they are to avoid an early exit.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Real Madrid (8pm, BT Sport ESPN)
Real Madrid know the dangers Shakhtar Donetsk pose only too well as they travel to Ukraine.
Shakhtar did the double over Real in 2020-21, even though their entire first-team was forced into isolation ahead of the clash in Spain.
But the Ukranians are yet to score in this year’s tournament and current Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti has tasted victory on the four previous occasions he has come up against them.
The Italian will be hoping Karim Benzema is on top form for the clash — no player has been involved in more shot-ending sequences (76) than him since the start of last season.
While he continues to shine, Eden Hazard averages a goal or assist every 400 minutes in a Real shirt, compared to one every 183 minutes in this tournament at Chelsea.