UCL Game On: Arsenal Vs Bayern Munich; Barcelona Vs BATE; Chelsea Vs Dynamo Kyiv
Arsenal plays host to Bayern Munich as they look to register their first points in the Champions League campaign at the Emirates Stadium.
After defeats in Croatia against Dinamo Zagreb and at home to Olympiakos in their opening two games of the competition, the Gunners need a big performance against the reigning Bundesliga champions to keep their hopes of qualification to the knock-out stage alive.
Arsenal must fashion a win in the first of the back-to-back fixtures with the German side at the Emirates to have any chance of progressing. Bayern have not conceded a goal in the Champions League and have scored eight, which puts Arsenal’s task into yet sharper relief.
Bayern on the other hand are off to a perfect start with Pep Guardiola’s side scoring eight times and conceding none, picking up six points along the way. Bayern Munich have reached the competitions semi-finals each of the last four years and looks primed for another deep run.
The Bavarian team are primed for more points in a line up consisting of one of the best goalies in Neuer. Douglas Costa will be keen to score big with storng backing from David Alaba.
The pressure is on Arsenal, but if Xabi Alonso and Philipp Lahm play their game, the Gunners can win big time. Wenger needs to find the weak spots in the Bavarians.
Barcelona vs BATE
Barcelona’s star-studded line up looks formidable as they face BATE Borisov in Champions league on Tuesday.
But anything can happen in this beautiful game, and the Belarus minnows are definitely the dark horses here.
Barcelona enters the fray without Messi and Andres Iniesta due to injuries and are showing signs of indiscipline in their defense.
Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen helped Barcelona win both the Champions League and Copa del Rey last season, while Chile shotstopper Claudio Bravo helped win the Spanish league title to complete the rare treble of titles.
But just a few months later Ter Stegen has lost his mastery of Barcelona’s area and has conceded 17 goals in eight matches, one more goal than the total he conceded in 21 matches last season.
With Barca’s defense looking porous to effective attacks, with opposition scoring four goals in a single game three times this season, BATE can dream of an upset.
Barcelona beat BATE 4-0 and 5-0 the last time they were drawn together in the group stage four seasons ago.
Instead of focusing on past humiliations, BATE’s ex-coach Viktor Goncharenko, a club legend who won eight titles there, has goaded Barcelona, telling Belarusian media the Catalan giant “is really not what it should be” with Messi and Iniesta unavailable.
Goncharenko urged the team to channel the spirit of 2012, when BATE won 3-1 at home against Bayern Munich, that season’s Champions League winner. “To put up decent resistance” against Barcelona, “you have to start by going into this game in the same peak of form that we had against Bayern.”
Chelsea sit at the third spot in Group G with Dynamo Kyiv sitting atop with Porto. The trip to Ukraine will test the Blues from Stamford Bridge to prove their true mettle as the Champions in this league.
The all-important Diego Costa was instrumental, scoring in the victory, his first goal for Chelsea since MatchDay One in the win over Maccabi Tel Aviv. Chelsea’s relies on Costa’s nose for goal far too much for a side boasting world class talent.
Hazard has not scored in 15 games and looks to return to the starting XI with Pedro and Loic Remy left behind through injury. Mourinho also has a decision at right-back with Ivanovic still unavailable.
Chelsea have looked fatigued and sluggish in the Premier league, and the team requires some fresh blood. The defense has looked confused at times. Adding young and inexperienced players in the midst has caused further turmoil for Mourinho.
Dynamo Kyiv has a 38-game unbeaten run in the domestic league. Andriy Yarmolenko is the star player of the group, having scored four goals on the Ukrainian Premier League season while adding another in the Champions League. An expected 4-5-1 set-up, with the outside midfielders dangerous in attack, could prove dangerous against a narrow Chelsea team.
Chelsea are playing for pride and need to rekindle their champion spirit.