Last season, amid a raging pandemic, Bayern Munich got the better of Paris Saint-Germain to bag the UEFA Champions League. They couldn’t celebrate their sixth in front of the die-hard fans, of course, but the win mattered just the same.
The win wasn’t only for Bayern fans to enjoy, it was the entire footballing fraternity’s — it was a win of grit over uncertainty.
We’re still not sure if this year’s Champions League final would be any different — whether the fans would be present in the stands to create an electrifying atmosphere. However, the uncertainty won’t keep the teams from giving their best, to put their best foot forward.
With hope in our hearts, we must walk on, and cheer the warriors from the safety of our homes. At least, for the time being. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the top five fixtures of the first Matchday of the 2020/21 Champions League season.
#5 Lazio vs Borussia Dortmund — Tuesday
This Group F fixture would pit Serie A’s Lazio against Bundesliga high-flyers, Borussia Dortmund. In Rome, Champions League nights are always special, always on the cusp of delivering something memorable. And we believe, the pair won’t disappoint us on Tuesday night.
Dortmund’s Erling Haaland would undoubtedly catch the most eyeballs, but it would be foolish to take Ciro Immobile’s guile for granted. The two units are capable of producing fascinating football, and we’re certain to see some good goals.
#4 Ajax vs Liverpool — Wednesday
The Eredivisie giants hosting the rulers of England — Wednesday nights hardly get any better than this. Both Ajax and Liverpool have rich history, are known to create fine young talents, and can effortlessly deliver eye-catching football.
On paper, Liverpool, of course, have the advantage. However, that shouldn’t take anything away from the hosts. Ajax are coming into the match on the back of a fine 5-1 win over Heerenveen and would look to make the Reds — who would be without Virgil van Dijk — uncomfortable.
Jurgen Klopp’s team, on the other hand, have only managed to pick up a single point from the last two Premier League fixtures and would be eager to start the Champions League strongly.
#3 Chelsea vs Sevilla — Tuesday
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea have gone against the tide this season, managing to get some fine footballers on their roster. However, despite their menacing appearance, the Blues have been quite tame on the hallowed grounds of the Premier League.
Sevilla, on the other hand, have looked rejuvenated under former Real Madrid coach, Julen Lopetegui. Their passing has been superb, pressing excellent, and they always seem to find a way out of tricky situations; especially against stronger teams.
Yes, the Andalusians endured a defeat on Saturday, but that shouldn’t take anything away from the way they’ve performed since the start of the campaign.
#2 Paris Saint-Germain vs Manchester United — Tuesday
Every time Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finds himself in a tough spot, his beloved Manchester United manage to buy him some respite.
On Saturday, the Red Devils brushed off the embarrassing 6-1 defeat against Tottenham before the international break with a convincing win over at Newcastle United.
The 4-1 away win offered plenty of positives, but the real test is still on the horizon.
Against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, Manchester United won’t have the luxury of slipping up or making mistakes. They’d have to keep an in-form Neymar in check.
They won’t have much time to settle on the ball, as they’d be relentlessly pressed by some of the finest machines in the business. Yet, despite the odds, there’s still hope. There’s always that evergreen Manchester United spirit to fall back upon.
#1 Bayern Munich vs Atletico Madrid — Wednesday
Back in the day, Atletico Madrid used to be — only — lauded for being a lean and mean defensive unit. They didn’t have the means to play attractive football.
They could just grind out results when the chips were down. Now, the story’s a little different. They have some fine attackers at their disposal, including, but not limited to, the third-highest leading scorer of Barcelona, Luis Suarez.
Bayern Munich, however, have no reason to be envious of their rivals’ number 9.
They have quite a capable one of their own. Robert Lewandowski — who netted 55 goals in 2019-20 — already has seven goals this campaign and would love to get on the European scoresheet as soon as he can.
Allianz Arena would be a battlefield on Wednesday, and we couldn’t be more grateful.