WAG IS BACK INTO CHAMPIONS LEAGUE MODE AS THE COMPETITION MAKES ITS SECOND GO-AROUND WITH TOTTENHAM AND BAYERN MUNICH HEADLINING TUESDAY’S GAMES.
The return of the Champions League has been kind for our viewing pleasure, but terrible for our gambling habits. I don’t want to share my record from the last slate of games, but it was fairly bad and frankly super unlucky. Liverpool had some voodoo curse put on them before taking the field against Napoli, Manchester City somehow didn’t score more than 3 goals, and Atletico Madrid returned the hurt they suffered last year against Ronaldo’s comeback, and gave Juventus a taste of their own medicine to save a point. However, the Champions League never fails to draw excitement as we have a very boring, but easy winning fixtures heading into the second game of group stages starting on Tuesday.
Tottenham vs. Bayern Munich
This is by far the most exciting fixture to watch on Tuesday. Bayern’s first match was no cupcake against a resilient Red Star team. Bayern scored three goals out of 34 shots in which 11 hit the target providing some woeful scoring efficiency statistics. Bayern did not get their second goal until Lewandowski’s 80th-minute tap in after a defensive mishap. The Spurs didn’t hold onto their first-half lead by conceding a penalty that Valbuena happily scored to give Olympiakos and Tottenham a point each in group B. Although Tottenham had more dangerous opportunities, they still had to contain a fast and ferocious Olympiakos side that didn’t stop pressing. Pochettino seat is very hot and needs to find a result against the mighty Bavarians of Munich to make a case for himself to continue as Spurs head coach.
- Spurs won last 4 CL matches vs. German sides
- Spurs won 8 of last 11 CL home games
- Bayern are unbeaten in 9 away CL games
Tottenham is in disarray. The Spurs are struggling to find the philosophy Pochettino has embedded within the club for the past 5 years. Suffering two terrible defeats in the Premier League, along with unconvincing wins against opponents they are supposed to squash, is the recipe for a Bayern Munich win. However, Bayern does not have an ‘impressive’ away victory in the group stages which hesitate my decision. But confidence is key and the Bundesliga giants will surely bring a winning result home.
Juventus vs. Bayer Leverkusen
The Italian boys of Turin bring the Champions League back to their incredible fan base as Bayer Leverkusen look to spoil the party. Juventus surrendered a 2-0 league to Atletico Madrid after Hector Herrera’s 90th-minute goal that sent the clubs home with a point. Although Juventus controlled the game, Atletico was the more dangerous side creating every Juventus turnover into a counter-attack opportunity. Bayer Leverkusen’s strike force could not find any rhythm when Lokomotiv came to town. Leverkusen strike force wasn’t creative enough, or patient enough, to break through a Lokomotiv defense that was being anchored by world cup winner Howedes. Bellarabi, Havertz, Bailey, and Volland are names that teams would die to have in their starting lineups but Leverkusen has to prove their worth heading into this difficult fixture.
- Juventus are winless last 4 matches vs. German teams
- Bayer won 2 of last 10 CL matches vs. Italian teams
- Juventus lost 1 of last 21 CL group matches at home
The statistics and common sense should show that Juventus will be all over Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday. Cristiano Ronaldo did not score against Atletico and understanding Ronaldo’s ethic and drive, this is a game where Ronaldo needs to score. He has a supporting cast which proves to be playing well together, especially against Atletico previously. Aaron Ramsey has also made Sarri change is 4-3-3 formation during league play so that the former Arsenal midfielder can thrive in Sarri’s updated system.
Galatasaray vs. PSG
The Saints of Paris travel down south-east to visit the Turkish side of Galatasaray as they head into an environment unlike no other. Galatasaray played a scoreless draw against Belgian side Club Brugge to open their Champions League campaign. It was an evenly matched fixture that proved to be detrimental to both teams because if either wanted a chance to advance from group A, they needed three points in that fixture. PSG made Real Madrid look like a mediocre team and dissected the midfield like a frog in a science lab. Without Neymar, Di Maria decided to take over against his former team and curled his way to a brace. However, since then PSG league games were decided in the last minutes by yours truly, Neymar. Is PSG too reliant on the unmotivated Brazilian? Because when they didn’t have him, PSG beat Real 3-0… These are facts.
- PSG lost 2 away matches vs. Turkish teams (1997 & 2000)
- Galatasaray lost 5 of 10 CL matches vs. French teams
- Galatasaray haven’t scored in 5 of last 6 CL matches
PSG is traveling to Turkey where the fans are absolutely crazy about football. They are even more crazy about their club’s and display their support unlike any other league in the world. Saying that PSG is in a hostile environment is not giving enough credit to the Turkish supporters. It’s like fighting in a death cage where the audience is right outside the cage, and if you come within arms reach of the audience you may as well pronounce yourself dead. But this is PSG we are talking about. It won’t be easy, but a win for PSG is written in the script.
Atalanta vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Atalanta play host to Shakhtar after being PUMMELED against Zagreb in the first group stage match. The game was over in the first half as Orsic scored his brace before the half, and completed his hat trick in the second half as Zagreb finished Atalanta 4-0. Atalanta put themselves and the Serie A to shame. Shakhtar could do little to nothing facing a Manchester City side that suffered a harsh league defeat before their fixture with Shakhtar. Both sides look to play for their first point in Group C.
- Only 2 Ukrainian teams have beaten Italian teams away in the CL (2011 & 2004)
- Shakhtar won 1 of 11 away matches vs. Italian teams
- Shakhtar have 0 clean sheets in the last 17 CL matches
This game, along with this group, is a tough cookie to predict. Atalanta’s embarrassing away defeat was the largest defeat by any team in the opening Champions League fixture since Chelsea dominated Qarabag 6-0 two years ago. Atalanta is poised to bounce back, hence the oddsmakers allocating Atalanta as -133 favorites. Atalanta found their footing again beating Roma and tying Fiorentina in the Serie A after their loss to Zagreb. I also love the fact they are home, which gives them something to prove in front of their home fans.
Lokomotiv Moscow vs. Atletico Madrid
Atletico travels to the far east as they are scheduled to go head-to-head against Lokomotiv Moscow. The Russian side held their ground against Leverkusen after scoring twice in the first half. Besides a Howedes own goal, the defense was perfect in handling a young and apparently fierce, Leverkusen front four that proved no match. Leverkusen kept pummeling and the Lokomotiv defense kept hanging around, traveling home with a surprising 3 points. Atletico got to taste some sweet revenge coming back from a two-goal deficit against Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus. After being down 2-0 early in the second half, Atletico exploited Juventus’s struggle defending set-pieces scoring both goals on set pieces.
- Lokomotiv have never beaten Atletico (3 total fixtures: D1 L2)
- Atletico scored 11 goals vs. Lokomotiv
- Atletico won 1 in last 9 away CL matches after winning 3 of last 4
Lokomotiv will need some violent fans to fuck up Atletico’s team bus to prevent them from showing up. But you would have to be drunk on Absolut Vodka to bet on Lokomotiv. The best Russian influencer there is. But if you have a fine glass of Spanish red wine, then you have picked the right choice of drink and can consider yourself a knowledgeable football fanatic.