With the delayed 2019-20 UEFA Champions League season concluding only in August this year, the new season couldn’t have come any sooner. However, the football fans across the world were in for a treat as the draw was held on October 1 revealing a host of mouth-watering UCL fixtures in the coming months.
Here are the five UCL fixtures that promise to have the thrill that every football contest deserves.
MANCHESTER UNITED vs PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
Manchester United’s primary threat in their Champions League Group H will be Ligue 1’s Paris Saint-Germain. With Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Mauro Icardo, the French side boasts of the most potent attacking talent on paper and will be tough to deal for Manchester United.
Though the Red Devils had gotten the better of PSG in away goals after a 3-3 aggregate in their last and only outing in history, when they both faced in the round of 16 of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League season, such upsets don’t often repeat themselves.
However, with Edinson Cavani further bolstering United’s firepower upfront, the English side does pack a punch coming into the fixture. The other two sides in the Group H are RB Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir.
JUVENTUS vs BARCELONA
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus face Lionel Messi’s Barcelona in, perhaps, the most enticing UCL fixture that the draw has thrown up. The two absolute European giants have faced each other quite a few times in the UEFA Champions League previously and the contest has always been close.
Though Barcelona had run away with the pie in the 2014-15 UCL final, the biggest stage they have ever faced, the Old Lady have had their fair successes against the Catalans. While Juventus had won the 2002-03 UCL quarter final when they faced for the first time ever, Barcelona have the bragging rights after they dumped Juventus out with a 3-0 aggregate win in the 2017-18 group stage.
However, with Andrea Pirlo having an incredible squad at his disposal, Ronaldo and Co. will be difficult to handle for Ronald Koeman’s in-transition team. The other two sides in Group G are Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencvárosi.
SEVILLA FC vs CHELSEA
Quite interestingly, Sevilla and Chelsea have never faced each other in any competition before, which makes this contest unpredictable.
Under Julen Lopetuigi, Sevilla come to the UEFA Champions League as the UEFA Europa League champion, where they defeated Manchester United and Inter Milan on their way to glory. Hence, the Spanish side won’t be short of confidence approaching this fixture.
Chelsea, on the other hand, had designed their summer transfer window specifically for the UEFA Champions League. With Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz joining the Blues, Frank Lampard has a team capable of pulling off some major upsets on the biggest of stages. However, the manager is yet to get his combinations right. The two other clubs in Group E are Krasnodar and Rennes.
REAL MADRID vs INTER MILAN
Two of the oldest giants of European football, who have featured some of the world-class players at their clubs, Real Madrid and Inter Milan will clash for the first time since the 1998-99 UCL season.
A lot has changed over the last two decades regarding the statures of the clubs. While Inter Milan have gone from the ruler of Europe to a Europa League regular, Real Madrid created history by winning UCL three consecutive times before going into transition again. Inter, however, lead Real Madrid 7-6 in head-to-head across all competitions.
The balance will tilt towards Real Madrid for the UCL group clashes this time though, for Zinedine Zidane’s vast experience in winning the tournament. Inter’s Antonio Conte, on the other hand, is still finding his way with a rich squad in hand. However, both are placed in the tricky Group B where they play Borussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk as well.
BAYERN MUNICH vs ATLETICO MADRID
Defending champions Bayern Munich are pitted against La Liga giants Atletico Madrid in Group A. After Diego Simeone’s team eliminated the previous defending champions, Liverpool, in the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League season, Bayern Munich are not taking them easy.
Though the Bavarians remain the better side on paper by length and breadth, the likes of Jan Oblak, Luis Suarez and Yannick Carrasco represent Atletico Madrid’s unparalleled grit that is desired by every football club.
The last time they both met was in the group stages of the 2016-17 Champions League and each had won their home fixture 1-0. Though Bayern lead the head-to-head 3-2 against Atletico Madrid, Hans-Dieter Flick will keep all his bases covered.
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