Zidane out to avoid record-equalling loss, Klopp eyes first Italian victory - Champions League in Opta numbers

By Staff Writer 3 November 2020 31
Zidane out to avoid record-equalling loss, Klopp eyes first Italian victory - Champions League in Opta numbers

Squads are being stretched, injuries are piling up and managers are moaning, but there is no let up as the Champions League group stage rolls around for a third straight week.

There were hard-fought wins, thrilling draws and a few teams on the end of thrashings on matchday two.

Real Madrid's European form continues to cause concern after they followed their loss to Shakhtar Donetsk with a draw at Borussia Monchengladbach; Inter, who are also yet to win, are next up on Tuesday.

Holders Bayern Munich are away to Salzburg, Liverpool head to Atalanta, and Manchester City host Olympiacos with all three clubs aiming to maintain 100 per cent starts.

Salzburg v Bayern Munich: Bavarians brilliant on the road

The defending champions have maximum points from the first two games of their Group A campaign and the omens are good for them as they go to Austria next, with Die Roten unbeaten in 14 away matches in the competition – two shy of the record set by Manchester United between 2007 and 2010.

Whatever the outcome, there is a strong possibility this contest will be a thriller. Since the start of last season, Bayern (58) and Salzburg (38) are among the top three teams in terms of the number of goals their Champions League matches have seen.

Salzburg's Dominik Szoboszlai has found the net in each of his past two appearances in the competition and could become the first Hungarian player to find the net in three consecutive Champions League matches.

Real Madrid v Inter: Zidane keen to avoid unwanted record

Madrid are winless in their past four Champions League matches (D1 L3), which is their worst run in the competition since September 2006 when they went five without a victory. Zinedine Zidane made his last appearance in the competition as a player during that run, and will be out to avoid equalling that record as coach.

Inter have lost eight of their previous 10 Champions League away games in Spain (W1 D1). Although in the history of Europe's premier club competition, only against Lyon (30 per cent) do Madrid have a lower win percentage than they do against Inter (33 per cent, three wins in nine games) among teams they have faced at least five times.

Arturo Vidal could be a lucky charm for the Nerazzurri as he bids to become the first player to score against Madrid in the Champions League for three different clubs, having previously done so during his time at Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Atalanta v Liverpool: Klopp eyes first Italian away success

Jurgen Klopp has lost all five of his away Champions League matches in Italy, losing to Napoli three times plus defeats to Juventus and Roma during his managerial career with Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund. Only former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson (6) has lost more away Champions League games on Italian soil than Klopp.

The Reds will have to keep an eye on Atalanta's Duvan Zapata, who has been directly involved in six goals in five starts in the competition for the club (four goals and two assists), in the first competitive meeting between the two clubs.

Liverpool's Diogo Jota will attempt to follow his Premier League goalscoring feats in the Champions League. Jota can become only the second player to score in his first two starts in the competition for the Reds, following Robbie Keane back in 2008.

Manchester City v Olympiacos: Torres can match Mbappe and Haaland

City are unbeaten in their past 13 games in the group stage of the Champions League (W10 D3), winning five of the six games at the Etihad Stadium in this run (D1).

Pep Guardiola won has his two previous Champions League matches against Olympiacos, winning 3-0 away and 4-0 at home as Bayern Munich boss in the 2015-16 group stage.

City winger Ferran Torres is looking to become the third-youngest player in competition's history to score in four consecutive appearances (20 years, 248 days), behind only Kylian Mbappe (18 years, 120 days) and Erling Haaland (19 years, 107 days).

Other fixtures:

Lokomotiv Moscow v Atletico Madrid

5 - Should Atletico win they will have beaten Lokomotiv more often than any other side in major European competition, having defeated them four times already.

3Joao Felix scored in both Champions League matches against Lokomotiv last season - no Atleti player has ever scored in three consecutive games against an opponent in the competition.

Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Monchengladbach

7 - Shakhtar’s two Champions League starting line-ups this season have featured seven players aged 21 or younger – they could become the first team to do so three times in the competition.

9 - The last nine German teams to visit Ukraine in the Champions League have all failed to win (D6 L3). Bayern's victory over Dynamo Kiev in December 1994 is the most recent.

Midtjylland v Ajax

14 - Ajax will be without Dusan Tadic in Denmark. Since making his debut in the competition for Ajax in September 2018, he has been directly involved in more goals than any other player for the club with 14 (seven goals and seven assists).

14 - The number is also the total shots the Danish side have had on goal in this season's competition; they have the highest expected goals total (2.08) of any of the three teams yet to score.

Porto v Marseille

12 - A defeat in this match for Marseille would see them become only the third team in history to lose 12 consecutive matches in Europe's premier club competition, after Anderlecht (12 between 2003 and 2005) and Jeunesse Esch (16 between 1973 and 1987).

5 - Porto have won five of their past six home games in the Champions League, with their only defeat in this run coming in April 2019 against Liverpool; the team who went on to win the competition that season.

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