What to watch for on UEFA Champions League Matchday 1
The UEFA Champions League kicks off with 16 matches spread between Tuesday and Wednesday.
We pick out a few key talking points ahead of the opening matches.
Group E: Dinamo Zagreb v Chelsea, Salzburg v AC Milan
Group F: Celtic v Real Madrid, Leipzig v Shakhtar
Group G: Sevilla vs Man City, Dortmund vs Copenhagen
Group H: Paris vs Juventus, Benfica vs Maccabi Haifa
group A: Ajax v Rangers, Napoli v Liverpool
Group B: Atlético v Porto, Club Brugge v Leverkusen
Group C: Inter vs Bayern, Barcelona vs Pilsen
Group D: Frankfurt vs Sporting CP, Tottenham vs Marseille
What to pay attention to
Celtic welcome Real Madrid starters
Celtic have been out of the Champions League group stage since 2017/18, but after winning back the Scottish title from Rangers last season, they are returning to this level in full force. Carlo Ancelotti’s visitors are the reigning Spanish and European champions, but Hoops boss Ange Postecoglou wants his proteges to view them as a beatable side.
“When you have those opportunities,” the Aussie explained, “it’s better to swap shirts with players you admire after knocking them out, rather than just picking one up for your collection.” Celtic are in form in that respect: their only previous meeting with Real Madrid came in the 1979/80 European Cup quarter-finals, with the Scottish side winning 2-0 at home – before finally succumb 3-0 in Spain.
Haaland back in Sevilla with Man City
The last time Erling Haaland visited Sevilla, for a 2020/21 Champions League Round of 16 opener, according to a Spanish sports newspaper Mark began his match report with the words: “A monster called.” Then with Dortmund, the Norwegian striker scored twice in both legs to secure a 5-4 aggregate win, Mark concluding that “no defense can stop it in flight”.
Sevilla will be looking to prove the paper wrong as the 22-year-old returns to the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán for his first group stage game as a City player. However, statistics suggest they might have a rough night; Haaland netted a hat-trick on his Champions League debut for Salzburg (6-2 win over Genk in September 2019), and scored twice in his competitive debut for BVB (2-1 last-16 win). final against Paris in February 2020).
Bayern to Inter for ‘group of death’ opener
Julian Nagelsmann left no doubt after draw prepared Bayern for meetings with Inter, Barcelona and Pilsen in Group C: ‘It’s definitely the toughest group in the group stage’ , said the coach of the Bundesliga champions. Even so, the 35-year-old believes his side can handle any challenge, adding: “I think we can finish first.”
Bayern have scored 20 goals in their first four competitive games of their domestic season, with newcomer Sadio Mane ensuring Robert Lewandowski hasn’t missed too much so far. Simone Inzaghi’s Inter won’t be a breeze though; runners-up in Italy last season, they have Edin Džeko, Lautaro Martínez and Romelu Lukaku among their forward options.
When are the UEFA Champions League group stage matches played?
Day 1: September 6/7, 2022
2nd day: 13/14 September 2022
Matchday 3: October 4/5, 2022
Matchday 4: 11/12 October 2022
Matchday 5: October 25/26, 2022
Matchday 6: 1/2 November 2022
• The Group C ante will intensify on Tuesday Matchday 2 with Robert Lewandowski’s return to Bayern with his new club Barcelona. Haaland’s City will face his former club Dortmund the following day.
• Anfield will be the place to be on Matchday 3 as Liverpool host Rangers for the first leg of their Group A double-header. UEFA.
• With Cristiano Ronaldo out of the group stage, Lionel Messi has the chance to close the 15-goal gap on his longtime rival in the all-time top scorer rankings. Below them, Lewandowski and Karim Benzema start the 2022/23 campaign with 86 goals each.
Where is the 2023 UEFA Champions League final being played?
The 2022/23 Champions League season will end at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on June 10, 2023.
Built to support Türkiye’s bid to host the 2008 Olympics, the venue opened in 2002 and is home to the Turkish national team. Located in the Başakşehir district of the city, west of the Bosphorus, it can accommodate more than 75,000 seats.