VAVEL's Gameweek 2 Champions League Predictions
FC Barcelona v Ferencvaros Budapest: Group G - UEFA Champions League
BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 20: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona runs during the UEFA Champions League Group G stage match between FC Barcelona and Ferencvaros Budapest at Camp Nou on October 20, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Europe remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Normally we must wait until the knockout stages of the Champions League until we are able to enjoy back to back weeks of European action but due to the enforced delay of the competition this season teams are finding themselves playing catch up with games in consecutive weeks prior to the international break.

The results in Gameweek 1 of the Champions League were rather predictable but will the affects of a manic fixture schedule set in and lead to some weird and wonderful scorelines in Gameweek 2? Read my prediction's below ahead of the week's action. 

 

  • Game of the week

Champions League Group G - Juventus vs Barcelona : Allianz Stadium, Wednesday 20:00 (BT Sport 3)

The game to feast your eyes upon is between Barcelona and Juventus, despite it seeming far-removed from the 2015 final contested between the two teams there are still plenty of exciting narratives to focus on ahead of this clash between the heavyweight giants, most notably the potential sight of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo facing one another for the first time at club level since the latter left  Real Madrid

The Old Lady find themselves being led by a key player from that 2015 fina campaignl, Andrea Pirlo, although he remains unbeaten as a manager so far this season, his team have had some disappointing displays with draws against  Crotone and Hellas Verona on Sunday evening. 

Following Barca's exit from the Champions League in humiliating fashion against the reigning champions Bayern Munich, they have opted for experience in Ronald Koeman who will be looking for a response after losing the 'El Classico' versus Real Madrid last weekend. 

It is yet to be seen what role Ronaldo plays if any following his bout of Covid-19 but expect a closely fought contest between the two sides in Turin.

Prediction: 2-2

  • Tuesday

Group A: Lokomotiv Moscow vs Bayern Munich: RZD Arena, 17:55 (BT Sport 1)

Lokomotiv Moscow can take positives from their opening draw in Salzburg last week but face a far sterner test against Bayern Munich with the hosts already showing the struggles of balancing the group stages with their domestic fixture, suffering a surprise defeat at home to Rotor Volgograd at the weekend. They will look to rely upon Euro 2016 final matchwinner Eder to offer them some respite.

As for the visitors, the champions picked up where they left off from winning the competition last season with a four nil demolishing of Diego Simeone's typically robust Atletico Madrid, do not expect Bayern to let up here despite the long travel out to Moscow.

Prediction: 0-5

Group A: Atletico Madrid vs Red Bull Salzburg: Wanda Metropolitano, 20:00 (BT Sport Extra 3) 

For all of Atletico's failings versus Bayern Munich in last week's encounter, Simeone's side have generally made a positive start to the season with the Madrid outfit sitting second in La Liga as new talisman Luis Suarez has hit the ground running. 

Red Bull Salzburg may have seen the departures of their exciting performers from the group stages of last season yet the Austrian sides carousel of young talent continues through youthful talent in the forms of Dominik Szoboszlai and the Zambian duo of Patson Daka and Enock Mwepu. They will be looking to build on their opening-day draw but expect experience to shine through in the clash in the Spanish capital. 

Prediction: 3-1

Group B - Shakhtar Donetsk vs Inter Milan, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist, 17:55 (ESPN)

The hosts provided us with the performance of the week with a sensational win over Real Madrid, especially considering they were playing with a severely depleted squad due to Covid-19. Although they only just held on at the end there were plenty of positives to take for Shakhtar Donetsk

Inter Milan, coached by Antonio Conte, have struggled in recent weeks despite a collection of high-profile arrivals in the transfer window and have heavily relied upon the instinctive finishing of striker Romelu Lukaku in recent games, highlighted in Gameweek 1 versus Borussia Monchengladbach as he rescued the Nerazzurri a point in stoppage time. Although the away side demolished Shakhtar in last season's Europa League, 2-5, expect a more buoyant performance by the hosts this time around.

Prediction: 1-1 

Group B - Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Real Madrid: Borussia-Park, 20:00 (ESPN) 

Monchengladbach's exciting young manager Marco Rose will have been bitterly disappointing to have seen his team drop two points at the death in Milan last week but will take pride in his team's exuberance on show with talented young midfielder, Florian Neuhaus pulling the strings from midfield. 

Los Blancos head coach, Zinedine Zidane will have been alarmed at his side's porous display at home to Shakhtar last week but the side's victory in the El Classico last week should restore some parity. Although the German side are likely to cause Madrid plenty of problems expect the Galactico's quality to shine through.

Prediction: 1-2 

Group C - FC Porto vs Olympiakos: Estádio do Dragão, 20:00 (BT Sport Extra 4) 

Fc Porto will be looking for a response from their opening day defeat to Manchester City whereby the former champions were left exasperated with some of the officiating. Despite losing key-men in the summer such as Danilo Pereira and Alex Telles, there have been some encouraging displays from the Portuguese league-holders thus far. 

Olympiakos will resonate with Porto having also lost key left back Kostas Tsimikas to Liverpool over the summer. After a couple of years in the shadows, the Greek side re-established themselves in Europe last season with impressive displays against Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal and will fancy their chances to come away with something in Porto.

Prediction: 1-1 

Group C - Olympique de Marseille vs Manchester City: Stade Vélodrome, 20:00 (BT Sport 2)

It has been a mixed start for Olympique de Marseille domestically in Ligue 1 and with a tough visit to come from Man City on Tuesday night they are already be facing an upwards task to qualify from Group C. 

The citizens are also looking to kickstart their season domestically but will have been pleased with their victory at home to Porto last week. Do not expect manager Pep Guardiola to underestimate the team from the south of France following their defeat to Marseille's rivals Lyon in last seasons competition. 

Prediction: 0-2

Group D - Atalanta vs AFC Ajax: Gewiss Stadium, 20:00 (BT Sport Extra 2) 

Although this does not bolster the star names of that featured in our game of the week, there are reasons to believe why this clash in Bergamo may turn out to be the most entertaining between the two surprise packages in the previous couple of Champions League tournaments.

Atalanta who have become a neutral favourite to many with their intricate attacking play got off to a typical start, smashing four past Danish minnows FC Midjytlland, they will hope to once again bounce back in the Champions League as they have lost their previous two games in Serie A

As for AFC Ajax, though they were unlucky in their one nil defeat to group favourites Liverpool their last performance could not have been any better putting an astonishing thirteen goals past ten men VVV Venlo. Expect plenty of goalmouth action in this one. 

Prediction: 2-3

Group D - Liverpool vs FC Midtjylland: Anfield, 20:00 (BT Sport 3) 

Twenty nineteen champions Liverpool will be confident of dispatching Midtjylland despite the absence of star defender Virgil van Dijk. Going forwards they look more menacing too with the introduction of Diogo Jota creating a new look four man attacking line. 

If Midtjylland harbour any hopes of remaining in European football past the group stages this season they will have to seriously address their defensive deficiencies exposed by Atalanta last week. Given the quality of the opponents they are facing this is unlikely.

Prediction: 5-1 

  • Wednesday 

Group E - FK Krasnodar vs Chelsea: Stadion FK Krasnodar, 17:55 (BT Sport 3)

There will have been plenty of optimism taken from the FK Krasnador's Champions League bow versus FC Rennes returning from France with the points shared in a 1-1 draw, an impressive feat for a team formed just thirteen years ago. 

As for Chelsea, despite back to back draws coach Frank Lampard will note positives given the strength of the opposition they faced and that they kept clean sheets in both as signs they are finally addressing some of the defensive issues that have plagued the Blues during his tenure. Whilst Krasnodar may look to frustrate the visitors Lampard will expect his team to find more solutions than problems.

Prediction: 0-1 

Group E - Sevilla vs Stade Rennais: Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, 20:00 (BT Sport Extra 3) 

Europa League victors Sevilla find themselves in unfamiliar territory being winless in three games after a brilliant run of form which only saw them lose the UEFA Super Cup to Bayern Munich since the start of lockdown. Similar to Chelsea they have stuttered in front of goal with the absence of a free-scoring number nine appearing to hinder them in recent times. 

Stade Rennais also find themselves in a precarious situation having gone winless in their previous four, the departure of key players such as Raphinha and Edouard Mendy have inevitably hampered the side from Normandy since. With both teams low on confidence expect a cagey contest in Seville.

Prediction: 0-0 

Group F - Borussia Dortmund vs Zenit St. Petersburg: Signal-Iduna-Park, 20:00 (ESPN) 

Despite their opening day defeat to Lazio, Borussia Dortmund's Swiss manager Lucien Favre will have been pleased to have seen his side run away with a three nil win in the Revierderby. As their focus turns back onto the Champions League they will look to make amends for their poor start bolstered by the returns of Roman Burki and Manuel Akanji

Zenit St. Petersburg threw away a huge opportunity to pick up points early on with a last minute home defeat to Club Brugge and now face a struggle to qualify from Group F which is unlikely to get any easier without vast improvement. 

Prediction: 3-0  

Group F - Club Brugge vs Lazio: Jan Breydel Stadion, 20:00 (BT Sport Extra 2)

Club Brugge may have won the Belgian league by default last season as their season was cancelled due to Covid-19 but they proved why they were worthy winners with a last gasp victory in Russia last week. Playing at home this time out they may turn to key playmaker Hans Vanaken in a game that may be pivotal in these early phases in deciding who qualifies from Group F. 

Competing in the proper format for the first time since 2008 Lazio made up for lost time with a blistering victory over Borussia Dortmund in Rome, former player and coach Simone Inzaghi will have hoped his team have turned a corner with a victory versus Bologna last weekend. The return of key players from injury the Italian side will look to pick up where they left off. 

Prediction: 1-2

Group G - Ferencvaros vs Dynamo Kyiv: Groupama Arena, 20:00 (BT Sport Extra 4)

Wednesday night will mark a special occasion for Ferencvaros boss Sergiy Rebrov as he faces the side whom he spent the best years of his playing career in the nineteen nineties alongside helping them to a Champions League semi final in 1999 partnering no other than Andriy Shevchenko up top. 

Although it is unlikely Dynamo Kyiv will have their sights set on repeating those feats anytime soon they will certainly fancy their chances in this encounter. A two nil defeat to Juventus is nothing to be ashamed of coupled with this they were able to continually stretch the opponents defence. Expect a tightly fought contest. 

Prediction: 0-1

Group H - Istanbul Basaksehir vs Paris Saint-Germain: Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadyumu, 17:55 (BT Sport 1) 

In Wednesday nights other early kick off Istanbul Basaksehir may have to focus on damage limitation in their encounter versus the Parisians following their heavy defeat to RB Leipzig in the Gameweek 1. They will have to take encouragement from their run to the last sixteen in the Europa League last season and rely upon experienced figures such as Demba Ba to try and navigate them through a difficult tie.

On the other hand expect Paris Saint-Germain to come racing out of the blocks as last seasons runners up appeared to run out of steam against Manchester United last week. With the quality of their opponents more fitting to what they are used to in Ligue 1 expect a tidy turnover in this Turkish test. 

Prediction: 0-4

Group H - Manchester United vs RasenBallsport Leipzig: Old Trafford, 20:00 (BT Sport 2) 

The Red Devils return to the 'Theatre of Dreams' for their first Champions League game since twenty nineteen and will have hopes of playing many more than three this season following their perfect start against PSG. It will be interesting to see whether boss Ole Gunnar Solksjær restores defender Axel Tuanzebe to the starting line up following his solid display last week.

As for RB Leipzig, they were similarly impressive in Gameweek 1 but coach Julian Nagelsmann will be under no illusions to the task ahead of him on Wednesday night. With the rejuvenated Emil Forsberg to call upon, the side from Saxony will be a force to be reckoned with. 

Prediction: 1-1

 

 

 

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