Two match previews as the Champions League group stages continue tonight. Bayern Munich look to continue their impressive form away in Austria at Salzburg, while Manchester City hope to stay perfect in Group C at home against Greek champions Olympiacos. Read on for more…
Red Bull Salzburg vs Bayern: Bavarians hope to continue run
Kick-off at 8pm BST
After an emphatic 5-0 victory over WSG Swarovski Tirol on Saturday, Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg host Champions League holders Bayern Munich on MD3.
After a gritty 2-2 draw with Lokomotiv Moscow and a narrow 3-2 defeat away at Atletico Madrid last week, can Jesse Marsch’s side record their first win of a difficult Group A?
Or will the Bavarians continue where they left off last week, having edged past Lokomotiv?
Joshua Kimmich scored and was Bayern’s Man of the Match away in Russia last week, as they were made to work hard for a 2-1 win at Lokomotiv.
The hosts soaked up pressure (35% possession), recorded 15 shots but crucially squandered a few promising opportunities against the Bundesliga giants.
Kimmich didn’t: three key passes and tackles, two big chances created and interceptions alongside a much-needed matchwinner.
It means the versatile Germany international now has goal involvements in each of his last four appearances, having created Serge Gnabry’s goal against Koln on Saturday.
In a team stacked with stars, Kimmich hasn’t just proven he belongs – he’s also a star in his own right – and one that Salzburg need to be cautious of here.
Midfield duo Dominik Szoboszlai and captain Zlatko Junuzovic will be tasked with marking him out of the game, while creating chances themselves.
Marsch rotated the pack for their emphatic weekend victory, with multiple players catching the eye and could potentially be rewarded here. Switzerland winger Noah Okafor scored a hat-trick and will be itching to start, having made cameos in their previous two UCL fixtures.
Patson Daka limped off at Atletico, while Sekou Koita – his replacement last week – netted the other two goals in last week’s 5-0 win. Watch who Marsch decides to start, against a Bayern side that can ruthlessly exploit inexperienced youngsters.
Final thoughts and possible line-ups
Bayern are favourites to maintain their 100% start to this season’s group stages. Although they’ve recorded successive narrow victories, they can turn their collective levels up when under pressure, which I expect will be the case here.
Salzburg: Stankovic; Ulmer, Onguene, Ramalho, Kristensen; Junuzovic, Camara, Ashimeru; Szoboszlai, Okafor, Mwepu.
Bayern: Neuer; Hernandez, Alaba, Sule, Pavard; Goretzka, Kimmich, Tolisso; Gnabry, Lewandowski, Muller.
Manchester City vs Olympiacos: Tricky home clash for Pep’s men?
KO: 8pm BST
Kyle Walker’s first Premier League goal for a year helped Manchester City edge past his boyhood club Sheffield United on Saturday, but a different challenge awaits them on Tuesday.
They host Greek champions Olympiacos in Group C of this season’s Champions League, knowing their visitors are eyeing a return to winning ways in the competition.
After a 2-0 away defeat by Porto last week, they were 2-0 winners against Apollon Smyrnis. Will they spring a surprise against Pep Guardiola’s side on their latest visit to England here?
The last time Olympiacos were in England, they narrowly lost 1-0 (2-1 on aggregate) against Wolves, subsequently being knocked out of last season’s Europa League.
Before then, they earned a smash-and-grab AET victory at the Emirates to break Arsenal hearts in north London – pre-pandemic – and plenty has happened since then.
They emerged unscathed against Omonia Nicosia in their two-legged UCL qualifier but after snatching a late winner over Marseille on MD1, were brought back to reality in Portugal.
Goals from Fabio Vieira and Sergio Oliveira inflicted their first defeat since Wolves (eight matches, all comps), so it’ll be interesting to see how they approach this affair.
Despite their defensive deficiencies and inability to seize big moments, Manchester City remain heavily-fancied to win this season’s Champions League.
Since losing 5-2 to Leicester on September 27, they’re unbeaten in seven (all competitions) and that’s with multiple injury issues too.
Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus (thigh) are among key players currently sidelined, while Kevin de Bruyne has also missed time already this term.
Raheem Sterling has assumed more responsibility with players like Phil Foden and summer signing Ferran Torres finding their feet in Pep Guardiola’s rotation. Will they prevail?
Final thoughts and possible line-ups
Olympiacos have nothing to lose here and given City’s strength in depth, are underdogs.
But as Marseille found out last week, it’s difficult to recover after conceding first against the Citizens, who usually grow into games. I’m predicting this encounter produces some goals.
Manchester City: Ederson; Ake, Laporte, Dias, Walker; de Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Foden, Torres, Sterling.
Olympiacos: Sa; Holebas, Cisse, Semedo, Rafinha; Bouchalakis, M’Vila, Valbuena; Fortounis, El Arabi, Bruma.
Pictures’ source: Bayern’s official website, Getty
Rest of Tuesday’s UCL fixtures are as follows (8pm unless stated)
5.55pm BST – Lokomotiv Moscow vs Atletico Madrid
5.55pm KO – Shakthar Donetsk vs Borussia Monchengladbach
Real Madrid vs Inter
Porto vs Marseille
Atalanta vs Liverpool
Midtjylland vs Ajax