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UEFA Champions League: Matchday Three Preview

Matchday 3 Preview

The UEFA Champions League gets back underway this week with plenty to look forward to as some of the big guns look to maintain their 100 percent records, whilst the likes of Tottenham and Real Madrid aim to bounce back after earning just a single point after two matches.

Tuesday doesn’t offer that much excitement in terms of humdinger matchups with plenty of thrilling encounters left to enjoy on Wednesday as Ajax host Chelsea and Inter Milan face Dortmund at the San Siro.

Photo Copyright – Steve Haag Sports 

Tuesday 22 October

Group A

Club Brugge 11/2
Draw 34/10
Paris Saint-Germain 9/20
Club Brugge and Paris Saint-Germain meet for the first time when these sides square off in Bruges this Tuesday. Club Brugge have drawn both of their group openers, while PSG are yet to concede in the Champions League, winning both games with relative ease.

Neymar served his two-match suspension, but the Brazilian superstar picked up a minor injury on international duty, so the PSG faithful will have to wait a bit longer to see one of their most prized assets in the Champions League. Still, at 9/20, I’d put my money on the away win.

Galatasaray 17/4
Draw 31/10
Real Madrid 11/20
Galatasaray and Real Madrid prepare to do battle in Istanbul this Tuesday with both sides looking to claim their first victory in the group stage. Both Gala and Madrid have one point apiece after two games and reignite their rivalry from 2014 where Los Blancos won 6-1 in this fixture, with Karim Benzema grabbing a brace.

Galatasaray have been dreadful this campaign across all competitions, failing to win in any of their last five games at the time of writing. Back Madrid to rack up their first win in the Champions League here at 11/20.

Group B

Olympiacos 6/1
Draw 38/10
Bayern Munich 4/10
Olympiacos have arguably the toughest fixture of the round as they host Bayern Munich in Piraeus. The hosts have just one point in the group stages, holding Tottenham at this venue, while for Bayern Munich, the more mention of Tottenham, the better.

In the Bavarians’ last away tie, they trounced Spurs 7-2, stretching their unbeaten run away from home in Europe to 10 games. Bayern have also won all four of their previous encounters with Olympiacos, scoring 14 and conceding just twice. The away win is an absolute steal here at 4/10.

Tottenham 2/9
Draw 5/1
Red Star Belgrade 10/1
Tuesday’s clash against Red Star Belgrade has become a must-win for Tottenham after the London club have failed to win any of their opening two games, drawing at Olympiacos and getting smashed 7-2 at home against Bayern Munich.

Red Star Belgrade have kept themselves in the conversation to progress, claiming an important home victory against Olympiacos last time out. What could be their biggest downfall, is that Red Star have never got a point on the road, losing all four trips in their UEFA Champions League history. Tottenham are tipped on the (-1) Handicap here at 6/10.

Group C

Shakhtar Donetsk 13/20
Draw 11/4
Dinamo Zagreb 4/1
In what seems to be the least eye-catching tie on the menu this Tuesday, Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb square off as the fight for second place begins to heat up in Group C. Both sides have three points from their opening two games, and realistically, catching Manchester City up seems a bit far-fetched. Dinamo Zagreb have lost their last 13 away matches in the group stages, while Shakhtar are winless in five UEFA home games. If you were to have a punt on this tie, take the draw at 11/4.

Manchester City 1/5 
Draw 57/10
Atalanta 10/1
Manchester City and Atalanta will meet for the first time when the pair lock horns at the Etihad Stadium. The Italians, who are also tournament debutants, are yet to claim a point this campaign, while Manchester City have been rampant, scoring five goals in their two victories, while they’re yet to concede in the group stages. Also, Manchester City have won their last five home ties in the competition. This one should be a straightforward prediction – back Man City on the (-1) Handicap at 5/10.

Group D

Atletico Madrid 6/10
Draw 26/10
Bayer Leverkusen 47/10
The Wanda Metropolitano draws back its curtains in one of the early kick-offs as Bayer Leverkusen travel to Madrid to upset Atletico. The Germans have never won in the Spanish capital in six attempts, drawing and losing three apiece.

Atletico Madrid are one of the toughest sides to beat in world football, and are unbeaten in their last 11 home ties in UEFA competitions. These sides last met in the 2016/17 knockout stages where Atleti dumped Leverkusen out in the Last 16. Put your money on the home win.

Juventus 2/9
Draw 47/10
Lokomotiv Moscow 11/1
Group D leaders, Juventus, will be hoping to distance themselves from the chasing pack as they face some favourable opposition in Lokomotiv Moscow. The Old Lady are unbeaten in six matches against Russian opponents, while Cristiano Ronaldo averages a goal every 60 minutes against teams from Russia.

Lokomotiv have also never won in Italy, losing in three of their six trips. As the betting suggests, this should be a comfortable win for Juve. For more value, take them to win on the (-1) Handicap at 13/20.

Wednesday 23 October

Group E

Genk 15/2
Draw 47/10
Liverpool 3/10
Genk are only playing in their second UEFA Champions League season ever after booking a spot in the 2011/12 campaign. The Belgians have drawn all four of their home ties in the group stages, including against Chelsea back in the 2011/12 season and last time out against Napoli.

There’s been plenty of talk of Liverpool just being a shadow of themselves in this competition, losing at Napoli and affording RB Salzburg the chance to come from three goals down, although they did win that encounter 4-3. Regardless of their recent results in the Champions League, personally, this is the best Liverpool team I have seen ever. Get on the Matchflow market here and take Liverpool to Score First & to Win at 9/20.

RB Salzburg 16/10 
Draw 51/20
Napoli 15/10
RB Salzburg and Napoli renew their rivalry as the pair meet for the second time in consecutive years after doing battle in last season’s UEFA Europa League Round of 16. Napoli did progress to the next round, but at the Red Bull Arena, Salzburg were 3-1 winners.

The hosts have been the surprise package this season and could prove to be the next Ajax with their free-flowing and fearless approach. In two games, they’ve scored nine goals, including three at Anfield in a 4-3 defeat against Liverpool. Napoli, though, are yet to concede this term. Still, the home win looks too good to pass up at 16/10.

Group F

Slavia Prague 52/10
Draw 36/10
Barcelona 9/20
Barcelona will be overwhelming favourites when the Catalans travel to Czech Republic to face Slavia Prague. The hosts are bottom of Group F and that looks to be their position for the remainder of the group stages as they find themselves in the so-called group of death.

Slavia have not scored in their last three UEFA Champions League home ties in the group stage, while Lionel Messi averages a goal every 60 minutes against Czech opposition. Marc-Andre ter Stegen has also been excellent in goals, conceding just once, while he’s also saved a penalty already. Put your money on Barca at 9/20.

Inter Milan 14/10 
Draw 47/20
Dortmund 18/10
In what promises to be one of the ties of the round, the San Siro hosts a thrilling tie between Inter Milan and Dortmund. Two clubs who are considered second best in their respective countries, but against each other, the pair will be looking to prove a point as they also prepare to see who should be considered the second best in the group behind Barcelona.

Inter have no wins in six ties against German clubs, while Dortmund are yet to concede in the group stages. The hosts have also won just one of their last five UEFA home matches. I’d have a sneaky punt on Dortmund to Win or Draw at 5/10.

Group G

Leipzig 11/20
Draw 32/10
Zenit St. Petersburg 9/2
Group G is proving to be a tightly-contested affair as Leipzig and Zenit, the two sides with the least amount of European pedigree, have already given a few teasers of what they’re capable of this campaign. The Germans did suffer a disappointing loss at home to Lyon last time out, but did beat Benfica 2-1 in Portugal on Matchday One.

Zenit are unbeaten so far with four points from their two games, cruising past Benfica in Russia after earning a point at Lyon. Leipzig grinded out a 3-2 aggregate win over the visitors when these sides last met in the Last 16 of the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League campaign. With home advantage, I’m expecting Leipzig to inflict Zenit’s first defeat of the season in Europe.

Benfica 11/10
Draw 5/2
Lyon 23/10
Benfica host Lyon as the Eagles remain in search of their first points on the board, losing their opening two group encounters. With both Lyon and Zenit on four points, Benfica will need to make up some ground on their rivals in order to achieve their goal of qualification. These sides’ only previous meeting came in the 2010/11 group stages where Benfica won 4-3 in Lisbon, while Lyon won their home tie 2-0 in France. This is one of the toughest games to have a punt on in midweek, but I do like the look of Both Teams to Score at 11/20.

Group H

Ajax 12/10
Draw 51/20
Chelsea 2/1
As far as the early kick-offs go, it doesn’t get better than Wednesday’s blockbuster between Ajax and Chelsea, two sides with fairly youthful squads coached by young managers. Ajax’s youngsters might have the edge in terms of pedigree as their squad went deep into the knockout stages last season, getting knocked out in the semi-finals by Chelsea’s bitter rivals, Tottenham.

The Blues have proven to be somewhat better on the road this campaign, losing at Stamford Bridge to Valencia, but grinded out a 2-1 victory at Lille. Ajax smashed both of those sides 3-0. Goals are definitely a given in this matchup, but I’d put my money on the home win at a fairly valuable 12/10.

Lille 37/20
Draw 22/10
Valencia 15/10
We close off the round in France as Lille welcome Valencia to the Stade Pierre Mauroy. Lille have been exciting to watch under Christophe Galtier, who claimed the Ligue 1 Manager of the Season award after finishing second behind PSG.

They’re a young, energetic and fearless side who stick to their philosophy, regardless of the opposition. Valencia are yet to lose against Lille, winning their last three encounters. In Europe, Valencia have lost just one of their last five games away from home. Over 2.5 Goals is the best bet for me at 19/20, get on!

Tuesday TREBLE @ 3/1
Real Madrid Win 11/20
Atletico Madrid Win 6/10
Juventus (-1) Handicap 13/20

Wednesday DOUBLE @ 9/2
RB Salzburg Win 16/10
Ajax Win 12/10

Written by Jesse Nagel

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