The 2017-18 Soccer season is now in full swing with the to Europe domestic leagues, World Cup Qualifiers and now the Champions League about to get underway. Week 1 of the top flight European Cup will take place over this Wednesday-Thursday mornings and we take a look at some of the key matchups and give our tips here.
What a game to kick off the 2017-18 Champions League. The Spanish giants Barcelona will host Juventus on Tuesday morning as both teams look to get a leg up in Group D. The group consists of these two teams as well as Sporting Lisbon from Portugal and the Greek juggernauts Olympiakos, who have won the last seven Superleague Greece Titles.
After losing star forward Neymar in the off season, Barca relinquished favouritism in the La Liga to Real Madrid, however, they have started the season in blistering fashion, winning their first three games without conceding a single goal. Juventus have also started the Serie A League strong, winning their first three games and entrenching themselves atop the table.
Barcelona defeated Juventus in the final of the 2015 Champions League but the Italian side got their revenge last year, downing Barca in the semis of the 2016 competition. Barca will be near full strength for the clash with Lionel Messi and Luis Saurez likely to be flanked by new signing Ousmane Dembele for the Catalonians. Juventus will be missing some key players in defender Giorgia Chiellini and holding midfielders Claudio Marchisio and Sami Khedira likely absentees.
Tough match to call as both teams have looked great in the opening rounds of their domestic competition. Juventus’ defence is arguably the best in the world and although they lost Neymar, Barcelona still boast one of the best attacks in the world. The game will be won or lost at that end of the ground and given the injury troubles Juventus have in defence, we think Barcelona have the edge at home.
Another big Italian-Spanish clash here as Roma host Atletico Madrid on Tuesday morning. Both teams have started their domestic seasons a little slow by their lofty standards. Madrid have just one win and two draws from their opening three matches while Roma have one win and one loss form two games.
This is a massive game in the spectrum of Group C, which also houses reigning Premier League Champions Chelsea. Put in arguably the hardest group in this year’s Champions League, Roma will be desperate for a home win to get their campaign off to a good start, whereas Atletico will likely be happy with a draw away from home here.
Roma will be without key players Emerson and Patrik Schick for the clash, while Atletico look to be at near full strength with the return of Antoine Griezmann from a La Liga suspension. Madrid also had the ability to rest players in their last La Liga tie, which means they will be coming in fresh for this one.
The Roma defence has been a little shaky to open the Serie A season, allowing three goals in two games to teams not nearly as proficient on offence as Madrid. The Spaniards have opened as favourite for this match and we like them to score at least two goals here.
Borussia Dortmund sit atop the Bundesliga table after three matches, having won two and drawn one and are yet to concede a goal. Tottenham on the other hand have looked a little shaky to start the season, going down at home to Chelsea and drawing with Burnley. Playing their home games at Wembley while White Heart Lane is renovating is troubling for them, especially considering the difficult group they have in Round 1 of the Champions League.
Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund are joined by Spanish juggernauts Real Madrid in Group H, meaning one of the three teams won’t advance. Like the Roma vs Atletico clash, this one will be vital for both team’s chances of advancing. Dortmund will be without a few key players in Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle, Erik Durm and Sebastion Rode while Tottenham should be at close to full strength.
Both defences have been extremely stingy so far this season, allowing a combined three goals through seven matches so far. No one will want to run the risk of conceding here given the difficulty of Group H so we think it could be a low scoring game.
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