Can Shakhtar Donetsk, FC Copenhagen cause an upset tonight?
A look at tonight's Champions League Matchday Two fixtures:
Bayer Leverkusen vs Real Sociedad
Both Leverkusen and Real Sociedad are looking to get their campaigns up and running after suffering defeats on Matchday One. Leverkusen went down 2-4 to Man United, while the Basque side lost 0-2 against Shakhtar Donetsk. However, Sami Hyypia’s team will fancy their chances of winning today, fresh as they are from a third straight Bundesliga win on Saturday vs Hannover. While they are enjoying their best start to a league season, Real, in contrast, have gone six games without a win and will miss Esteban Granero and Xabi Prieto today.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Man United
A trip to Ukraine is surely the last thing that David Moyes wanted as pressure builds on him following United’s 1-2 home loss to West Brom which was their third defeat in six EPL games. At least United registered a 4-2 win against Leverkusen in the first Champions League group game. Wayne Rooney scored twice then and Moyes will need the star at his best in the Donbass Arena. Shakhtar’s European opener was a 2-0 win at Real Sociedad and they have previously excelled against English teams, having beaten Chelsea last season.
Juventus vs Galatasaray
After being held by Copenhagen, Juventus chase a first win in Group B as they play host to Galatasaray, who are seeking an improvement on their 1-6 thumping at the hands of Real Madrid. Juve beat city rivals Torino 1-0 at the weekend and remain unbeaten in all competitions, even if they trail Roma by two points in Serie A. Meanwhile, the Turks come into the game with a new coach who is familiar with taking on Juve, Roberto Mancini. His remit is to revive a side who sit in mid-table in their domestic league.
Real Madrid vs FC Copenhagen
After the humiliation of losing the Madrid derby, Real know the importance of getting back to winning ways in Europe. The visit of Copenhagen, who sit second from bottom in the Danish league, and lost 2-3 to Brondby at the weekend should provide the perfect opportunity for the Spanish giants. Gareth Bale was expected to make his first start for Real today but that now looks unlikely after he missed training yesterday.
Anderlecht vs Olympiakos
Belgian champions Anderlecht and Greek title-holders Olympiakos are, on paper, the outsiders to qualify from Group C and both were beaten on Matchday One. Anderlecht went down to Benfica while Olympiakos were outclassed by PSG. The Belgians appear ill-equipped to make an impact in this competition while Olympiakos, who are top of the Greek Super League without defeat, may fancy their chances of recording an away win here.
Paris Saint-Germain vs Benfica
Paris Saint-Germain underlined their status as Group C favourites by thumping Olympiakos, and can take a big step towards progressing by beating Benfica tonight. PSG have not been convincing so far this season, but remain unbeaten in all competitions while Benfica are only fifth in the Portuguese top flight. PSG will be without captain Thiago Silva as they chase revenge for a defeat to the same team in the Europa League Last 16 in 2011.
CSKA Moscow vs Viktoria Plzen
The poor state of Moscow’s Arena Khimki pitch led to this match being moved to St Petersburg. CSKA and the Czech champions both lost their opening games and are expected to fight it out for third place in Group D behind Bayern Munich and Manchester City. CSKA’s preparations for this encounter have not been the best, they have failed to win, or even score, in their last three domestic matches. In contrast, Plzen are still unbeaten in the Czech league and have won five and lost two of their last seven European away games.