Desh Parthab takes a look at a few players to keep an eye on in Wednesday’s Champions League fixtures including Dusan Vlahović of Juventus and Eden Hazard of Real Madrid.
Yesterday’s Champions League games went mostly to script. Two goals in extra time meant that Sporting Lisbon left Tottenham shellshocked in the day’s big upset.
Liverpool also left it late in their tie against Ajax which saw the Reds netting in the 89th minute while a quick-fire double shortly after the second half resumed was enough for Bayern to see out Barcelona.
In tonight’s action, Carlo Ancelotti could become just the second manager in history to reach a century of Champions League wins, after Sir Alex Ferguson (102).
Real Madrid are the only club across Europe’s top five leagues to maintain a perfect start to the season, winning 100% of their fixtures.
Juventus lost their opening match in a Champions League campaign for just the second time in their 23 seasons in the tournament and will be looking to make amends in Turin when they face Benfica.
Dortmund have lost just one of their previous 12 UCL group stage fixtures, but face stern opposition in Manchester City. Graham Potter will make his Champions League managerial debut when Chelsea host RB Salzburg at Stamford Bridge.
With that being said, here are a few players who could deliver for their clubs tonight.
Hazard aiming to get Madrid career on track
Eden Hazard has underdelivered thus far at Real Madrid in a stint which has been marred by injury. The attacker has made three appearances in the Spanish topflight this season where he has conjured up two shots, missing a penalty. On the European front, the Belgian came on for Karim Benzema in Los Blancos’s previous Champions League appearance, where he bagged a goal and created 3 chances.
Vlahović key as Juve seek lift off
Dusan Vlahović has scored four of Juventus’s eight home league goals this season. The forward has attempted 18 shots across his five Serie A appearances – only four players have conjured up more in the Italian top flight. He did create five chances during that period but is yet to register an assist. Vlahovic could extend his impeccable home form when Juventus hosts Benfica tonight.
Bellingham faces former mate, Haaland
Jude Bellingham opened his Champions League account in Dortmund’s opening tournament fixture. The Englishman attempted just one shot and created just one chance throughout the 90, but was the most fouled player on the pitch against Copenhagen. Last season, Bellingham (G1 A3) was involved in four of Dortmund’s 10 UCL goals – no teammate was involved in more goals. The 19-year-old comes into this one on the back of seven shots and three chances created across his previous three outings in the Bundesliga.
Sterling settling at Chelsea
Raheem Sterling has attempted five shots across his previous three league appearances, returning three goals and hitting the woodwork once. The forward seems to have settled into the team, after just a single attacking return across his first three league appearances for the Blues. Chelsea have lost just one of their previous 20 home games in the group stages of the Champions League, a record they won’t want to relinquish against RB Salzburg.
Mir looking to get on the scoresheet against Copenhagen
Rafa Mir has attempted 11 shots in just three league appearances for Sevilla. The forward did bag a goal but could have added to his tally as seen by his two big chances missed. Last season, Mir ended as the leading marksmen for Sevilla with 10 strikes to his name in 34 league appearances. Julen Lopetegui’s men currently languish at the bottom end of the LaLiga table and a dominant European performance against the Danish minnows could kick start their season.