The Champions League pre-match anthem will be played loudly and proudly before Liverpool’s opening Champions League Group A match with group stage newcomers Ludogorets Razgrad. The match will mark the opening of the first Champions League campaign for the Anfield side since December 2009 when the Anfield side were knocked out in the Group Stages following a 2-1 home defeat to Fiorentina.
Time will tell if it’ll be a tricky opening for the Merseysiders but with a number of players missing including key striker Daniel Sturridge, manager Brendan Rodgers will be hoping that the lack of a cutting edge seen in the 1-0 weekend defeat to Aston Villa will not strike again.
Well, according to Danny Welbeck, this is what he joined Arsenal for: the Champions League. He will get the chance tonight to prove he has what it takes to do it for Arsenal on the biggest club stage in Europe. However, Arsenal have numerous problems, notably in defence where there are players who quite simply will have to step up to the mark, notably 19 year-old Spaniard Hector Bellerin, if Arsenal are to leave Germany with a positive result. Welbeck will have to do the business up front as a makeshift defence may prove a difficult thing to shield against the Germans.
Another season, another Champions League campaign and…another trip to Bavaria for Manchester City. Is this last seasons campaign? No? Are you sure? Ok. Anyway, City will again have to face-off with the German champions and the might of Pep Guardiola if they’re to grab the initiative within their group.
On their last trip to Bavaria, City pulled off an amazing result coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and manager Manuel Pellegrini will be hoping that this trip is equally successful.
There are a lot of teams in this season’s competition that are making a welcome return or appearing in the Group Stage for the first time in their history. Notably, 1980 European Cup runners-up Malmo FF from Sweden are making their first appearance in the Champions League group stage since the format change in 1992. Malmo’s first match is of course away to Italian giants Juventus and they will be hoping to make an impression right away.
Apoel Nicosia face a daunting trip to Barcelona while NK Maribor and Sporting Lisbon face off against each other and Athletic Bilbao make a welcome return to the Champions League. All-in-all it could be a very exciting season with plenty of shocks!
There is of course a number of clubs who will face off against each other that also faced off last season, notably Chelsea v Schalke and Bayern Munich and Manchester City, hopefully there will some different outcomes when these teams meet as we don’t want things to turn out exactly the same do we?