The Union of European Football Associations Champions League for the 2016-17 season starts today and it sure has its own package of excitement; which is particularly unwrapped by the special opera anthem that accompanies every game.
Sadly, some big EPL clubs won’t be participating, but that hasn’t taken any bit away from the entertainment the competition will be offering this season.
Matchday 1 has got some eye- watering fixtures on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
Here are the fixtures in full:
Basel v Ludo Razgd
PSG v Arsenal
Benfica v Besiktas
Dynamo Kiev v Napoli
Barcelona v Celtic
Man City v B M’gladbach
Bayern Mun v FC Rostov
PSV Eindhoven v Atl Madrid
Bayer Levkn v CSKA
Tottenham v Monaco
Legia War v Bor Dortmd
Real Madrid v Sporting
Club Brugge v Leicester
FC Porto v FC Copenhagen
Juventus v Sevilla
Lyon v Dinamo Zagreb
Group A’s fixture between PSG and Arsenal is particularly a highlight for the day.
Arsenal’s record of consecutively qualifying for the Champions League 20 seasons stretch is more than commendable. However, they have failed to advance past the round of 16 for 6 straight seasons. It has largely been due to their finishing 2nd in the group which sees them get drawn unfavourably against a much tougher opponent (let’s just say Barcelona).
That could all change this season as they have a better chance of emerging group winners. PSG look like their only threat towards that goal. But given how the Ligue 1 side has struggled with Ibrahimovic’s departure, it looks much easier.
Group C is another group that interests many.
Barcelona will kick off their campaign with a visit from Celtic. Both teams are known opponents to each other and they recently met during pre-season international champions cup.
The Scotland side knows there is a slim chance of progressing beyond the group stage given their other opponents and will hope to cause an upset.
Manchester City have looked better under Pep Guardiola, but they face a tricky opposition in Borussia Monchengladbach today. The Bundesliga side are known for their well-executed style of play and have a great record against the Catalan manager who could only defeat them twice all through his days at Munich.
Group D also has a great game in PSV versus Atletico. Both sides played out a goal less draw last season when they met in Netherlands during the round of 16. The Eredivisie side will be putting up great play against last season’s finalists with that at the back of their mind.
Group E first set of games which is tomorrow is also keenly anticipated. Bayern Leverkusen and CSKA Moscow are both top teams in Germany and Russia respectively, and they sure want to land a first blow as early as possible in what is a very tough group.
The 2 other group members, Tottenham and Monaco will faceoff at Wembley and the hosts have a lot to do to keep the French side at bay.
Group F has Ronaldo playing against his childhood club Sporting Lisbon while Group G will see last season’s EPL surprise package, Leicester City pay Club Brugge a visit.
Group H has a star match in Juventus against 3-time Europa League winners Sevilla.