MATCHDAY: Juventus Without Ronaldo Against Messi's Barcelona

News18
·3 min read

A look at whats happening around the Champions League on Wednesday:

GROUP E

Chelsea, with back-to-back 0-0 draws against Sevilla in the Champions League and Manchester United in the Premier League, is showing the team can have some solidity at the back under Frank Lampard after criticism of his defensive record. Now the English team will look to get its attack firing in a trip to Krasnodar, which will have some fans in attendance for its first home game in the group stage of the Champions League. The Russian team opened the group with a 1-1 draw at Rennes. In the other match, Sevilla will try to end a four-match winless streak in all competitions when it hosts Rennes. The Europa League champions have had two straight losses in the Spanish league.

GROUP F

Borussia Dortmund and Zenit St. Petersburg are both under pressure as they play in Germany after losing their first games. A 3-1 defeat to Lazio showed how Dortmund matches exciting attacking play with a brittle defense. Manuel Akanji returned with a goal in Dortmund’s 3-0 win over Schalke on Saturday after spending time in isolation following a positive coronavirus test, but Emre Can is out after a positive test on Friday. Zenit needs to bounce back from a loss to Club Brugge last week. No fans will be allowed at Brugge’s stadium following a decision by the Belgian government to reinforce anti-coronavirus measures. After missing the trip to Zenit due to the virus, Simon Mignolet, Michael Krmencik and Odilon Kossounou have all tested negative and can play for the Belgian champions.

GROUP G

The highly anticipated matchup of Cristiano Ronaldo against Lionel Messi is unlikely to happen as Ronaldo has reportedly not recovered from the coronavirus in time. Juventus refused to comment but Italian media reports that Ronaldo’s latest test was still positive for COVID-19 on the eve of his side’s match against Barcelona. lvaro Morata replaced Ronaldo against Dynamo Kyiv last week and scored twice in a 2-0 win. Barcelona got off to a good start by beating Ferencvaros 5-1 but coach Ronald Koeman is under pressure again after the team lost at home to Real Madrid in the Spanish league Saturday. Koeman will be without playmaker Philippe Coutinho because of an injury. Ferencvaros hosts Dynamo in the other match, with both teams looking for their first wins in the competition.

GROUP H

Paris Saint-Germain, last season’s beaten finalist, is under early pressure in its latest bid for an elusive Champions League title. The French club lost at home to Manchester United 2-1 in the opening round and cannot afford to drop points against competition newcomer Istanbul Basaksehir ahead of an upcoming double-header against Leipzig and with a trip to Old Trafford still to come. PSG has key players out injured and Neymar is having a lean spell, too, having drawn a blank in his last four games in Europe. Leipzig is keen to show its run to last season’s semifinals, where it lost to PSG, was no fluke by qualifying from a tough group. Julian Nagelsmann’s team remains unbeaten in all competitions ahead of the game at United and tops the Bundesliga.

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