Matchday one of the 2020/21 Champions League group stages continues on Wednesday evening with a further eight mouth-watering ties to kick off Europe’s elite club competition for another season.
As ever, there is bound to be plenty of betting interest in the outcome of Wednesday’s eight matches as punters look to bash the bookies on the European stage. A number of Europe’s biggest clubs such as Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Liverpool are all in action as they look to make positive starts to their respective European campaigns.
Continue on to learn more about each of the upcoming Champions League fixtures and the form of each side heading into their group stage openers.
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Champions League Matches Wednesday 21 October
RB Salzburg vs Lokomotiv Moscow – 5:55pm
Wednesday’s Champions League action kicks off in Austria, as RB Salzburg host Lokomotiv Moscow at the Red Bull Arena.
Salzburg gave a good account of themselves in the Champions League group stages last time out in a tough group that also featured Liverpool and Napoli. While they no longer have Erling Haaland amongst their ranks, they do still boast a talented squad that has won all eight of their games in all competitions this season.
Lokomotiv Moscow will be in a confident mood going into their trip to Austria after winning each of their last four games in the Russian Premier League. Unlike Salzburg, Lokomotiv isn’t a high-scoring team, with each of their last four wins coming by just a single goal and they will likely be looking to replicate a pragmatic approach again on Wednesday.
With such contrasting styles involved, it will be interesting to see how this game plays out and who will ultimately come out on top.
Real Madrid vs Shakhtar Donetsk – 5:55pm
The second early kick-off on Wednesday sees Real Madrid host Shakhtar Donetsk at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid will be looking to bounce back from a stunning defeat suffered at the hands of Cadiz at the weekend, with the newly-promoted team winning 1-0 on their trip to the Spanish capital. It was a huge upset for Zinedine Zidane’s side, who had started the season well initially, picking up 10 points from their first four La Liga games. They will also be looking to improve on last season’s disappointing Champions League performance that saw them eliminated at the round of 16 by Manchester City.
This will be a huge test for Shakhtar Donetsk, who have won just two of their previous six games in a below-par start to the season for the Ukrainian outfit. Shakhtar is a regular fixture in the Champions League group stages but have struggled to really assert themselves as serious knockout stage contenders.
Madrid is the deserved favourites coming into this one but will be taking nothing for granted after their weekend upset.
Ajax vs Liverpool – 8:00pm
One of Wednesday’s true glamour ties in the Champions League sees Ajax take on Liverpool at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
Despite losing Sergino Dest, Donny van de Beek and Hakim Ziyech in the summer, Ajax have made another strong start to the Eredivisie season with four wins from their opening five games. Erik ten Hag’s talented team made the semi-finals of the Champions League two seasons ago and have really put themselves on the map as a team to be feared on the continent once again.
Facing a Liverpool team that is winless in three and now without Virgil van Dijk for the rest of the season, now could be a good time to come up against Jurgen Klopp’s team, who will also be without goalkeeper Alisson. They are winless in three games in all competitions and have conceded nine goals in their last two Premier League games.
That said, Klopp’s Liverpool tends to respond well to adversity and they will be well aware of the challenge presented to them in the shape of Ajax on Wednesday.
Manchester City vs Porto – 8:00pm
Manchester City’s Champions League campaign will begin with a visit from Portuguese giants Porto at the Etihad Stadium.
A tough opening four fixtures have resulted in Manchester City finding themselves sat 11th in the Premier League table, though they do come into Wednesday off the back of a win. The 1-0 victory over Arsenal was the first time Pep Guardiola’s team have picked up three points since the opening weekend of the season.
Porto, like their opponents, has taken seven points from their opening four games of the domestic season. They come into this game off the back of a two-game winless run, having been defeated 3-2 by Maritmo and were held to a 2-2 draw by Sporting Lisbon last time out. This will also be Porto’s first time back in the Champions League group stages since 2018/19.
The pressure will really be on Guardiola to deliver in the Champions League this season after they lost to Lyon in the quarter-finals of the competition last time out.
Midtjylland vs Atalanta – 8:00pm
Having gone unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions, Midtjylland will be in a confident mood heading into their Champions League opener on Wednesday evening. Their 4-1 win over Slavia Praha in the qualifying rounds secured their first ever appearance in the Champions League group stages and they have glamorous ties against Liverpool and Ajax to look forward to.
Atalanta was just minutes away from reaching a Champions League semi-final against RB Leipzig until Paris Saint-Germain’s late heroics back in August. The Serie A side will have been wondering what could have been over the course of the summer but returned to domestic action in great form, winning each of their first three games.
However, a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Napoli at the weekend leaves them with the need to respond in style on Wednesday night in Denmark.
Olympiakos vs Marseille – 8:00pm
Marseille makes their long-awaited return to the Champions League on Wednesday evening with a tricky test away to Olympiakos.
Olympiakos are in strong form heading into their opening Champions League after earning 10 points from their first four matches in the Greek Super League. However, they will certainly be at a disadvantage in this tie without their effervescent, often intimidating supporters in attendance for this important game on Wednesday.
Marseille fans have been waiting for this day since 2013, which was the club’s previous appearance in the Champions League. It’s been a tough spell for what is one of the biggest clubs in French football, though their talented squad will be feeling confident of making an impression on the European stage.
With Manchester City being the clear favourites in this group, it will likely be between Olympiakos, Marseille and Porto to battle it out for the second qualifying spot.
Bayern Munich vs Atletico Madrid – 8:00pm
There will be many punters keeping an eye on this huge European tie between Champions League holders Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid. Both of these clubs will be amongst the favourites to win the Champions League this season and Wednesday’s game could have a huge say in who tops their group.
Bayern Munich has made a strong start to the season, having won each of their last four matches in all competitions. Hans-Dieter Flick would love nothing more than to retain their Champions League title this season and Wednesday’s game should be a good indication on whether they will be able to do so or not.
Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid have made an unbeaten start to the new La Liga season, winning two and drawing two of their opening four matches. Atletico fans will be delighted with the start Luis Suarez has made to life since joining from Barcelona, scoring three goals in his first four appearances for the club.
Inter Milan vs Borussia Monchengladbach – 8:00pm
Finally, Inter Milan take on Borussia Monchengladbach in their opening Champions League group game at the San Siro.
Antonio Conte’s team have established themselves as a force in Italian football once again, though they have failed to pick up three points in their previous two Serie A outings. First, they drew 1-1 away to Lazio before two Zlatan Ibrahimovic goals saw AC come out on top 2-1 in the Milan derby. Romelu Lukaku will be in a confident mood after scoring four goals in his opening four appearances.
Borussia Monchengladbach fans will be disappointed at the prospect of missing out on a trip to the San Siro, but will be thankful at the fact they are back in the Champions League. This is the German club’s first appearance in the competition since 2016 where they were drawn alongside Barcelona, Manchester City and Celtic. However, they will need to improve on their return of five points from their opening four Bundesliga games if they are to compete in this tough group that features Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk.