A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Wednesday:
Atletico Madrid vs. Feyenoord (Group E)
Atletico Madrid will try to extend its winning streak to four matches when it hosts Feyenoord. Diego Simeone’s team has won three in a row in the Spanish league, including 3-1 against city rival Real Madrid, since drawing 1-1 with Lazio in its Champions League opener. Feyenoord has won six straight in all competitions, including 2-0 in the tournament opener against Celtic.
Celtic vs. Lazio (Group E)
Having lost 2-0 to Feyenoord, Celtic already faces a struggle to meet manager Brendan Rodgers’ target of remaining in Europe beyond 2023. Whether it be qualifying for the round of 16 or dropping down into the Europa League, Rodgers wants his team in continental competition in the New Year. Celtic hosts Lazio, which drew 1-1 with Atletico Madrid in its opening group game after goalkeeper Ivan Provedel headed in a late equalizer. Lazio is enduring a miserable start to the league season with just two wins in seven matches.
Dortmund vs. AC Milan (Group F)
Borussia Dortmund will be expected to produce a more spirited performance against AC Milan than it did in its opening loss at Paris Saint-Germain – especially in front of its own fans. Dortmund coach Edin Terzić, sporting director Sebastian Kehl and club advisor Matthias Sammer all criticized the team after its 2-0 loss in Paris. It has since eked out a 1-0 win over in-form Wolfsburg and on Friday it defeated Hoffenheim 3-1 away despite playing the last 20 minutes with a player less. They were the first signs that Dortmund is finally getting over the loss of Jude Bellingham to Real Madrid in the offseason. Milan drew at Newcastle 0-0 in its opening game. That followed immediately after a 5-1 humiliation in the Serie A derby but the Rossoneri have won three league games since then to sit level with Inter Milan at the top of the Italian standings. Coach Stefano Pioli has been playing recorded sounds from Dortmund home games to prepare his team for the atmosphere in the stadium.
Newcastle vs. PSG (Group F)
Newcastle’s return to the Champions League saw it drawn in a tough group with European giants Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund. And no matchup in the group is more intriguing than Saudi-backed Newcastle vs. Qatari-owned PSG. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has already made a big impression on Newcastle after backing a takeover of the club in 2021. Its financial backing has led the Magpies back into the Champions League to compete with Europe’s biggest clubs once again. PSG, meanwhile, has signed some of the greatest players in the world since being bought by Qatari Sports Investments (QSI) including Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar. Messi and Neymar left in the summer and Mbappe’s contract only runs until the end of the season. This could be his last chance to lead PSG to the Champions League title.
Leipzig vs. Manchester City (Group G)
Leipzig is confident of avoiding a repeat of the 7-0 loss it endured on its last visit to Manchester City. Leipzig drew at Bayern Munich 2-2 on Saturday in the Bundesliga, where an opening loss to Bayer Leverkusen is the team’s only defeat so far this season. New signings Xavi Simons, Loïs Openda and Benjamin Šeško have quickly settled in with nine goals between them in the Bundesliga so far. Both City and Leipzig won their opening games in Group G.
Red Star Belgrade vs. Young Boys (Group G)
Red Star Belgrade took an unlikely halftime lead at Etihad Stadium in its Champions League opener at Manchester City before losing 3-1 to the defending European champions. It will hope to take — and keep — the lead at home against Young Boys. The Swiss club also lost its opener 3-1 at home to Leipzig.
Porto vs. Barcelona (Group H)
Forward João Félix heads back to Portugal when Barcelona faces Porto looking for its second win in the tournament. Félix played for Porto as a youngster before eventually joining fierce rival Benfica at age 15. He was signed by Atletico Madrid in 2019. Barcelona, which opened with a 5-0 rout of Antwerp at home, will be without Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and Raphinha because of injuries. Porto beat Shakhtar Donetsk 3-1 in its first game. It had won six and drawn one in the Portuguese league before it lost at Benfica 1-0 on Friday.
Antwerp vs. Shakhtar Donetsk (Group H)
After Antwerp was thrashed 5-0 by Barcelona, former Belgium international Toby Alderweireld said such a result would perhaps create anger within the Belgian club and prompt a strong reaction. It turns out to be more wishful thinking than reality. Antwerp has drawn its last three games 0-0 and is on a run of four games without a goal. Shakhtar Donetsk also lost its opening match in Group H, a 3-1 defeat to Porto. The Ukrainian team is again in exile this season because of the war in its country.
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The Associated Press