Messi out to match Neymar, Liverpool bid to end winless Atletico run – Champions League in Opta numbers

By Sports Desk October 19, 2021

The Champions League group stage reaches the halfway point this week and Tuesday provides another set of tasty fixtures.

Liverpool travel to Atletico Madrid seeking revenge two seasons on from their last-16 exit to Diego Simeone's side in the pick of the games.

Real Madrid and Manchester City are each looking to respond to defeats last time out when they take on Shakhtar Donetsk and Club Brugge respectively.

Elsewhere, Paris Saint-Germain host RB Leipzig and two of Europe's great entertainers in Ajax and Borussia Dortmund face off in Amsterdam.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the key Opta data ahead of some key contests.

 

Atletico Madrid v Liverpool: Reds face bogey side

Following their last-16 exit to Atletico two seasons ago, Liverpool are winless in four Champions League meetings with the LaLiga champions – only Basel have they faced as many times without winning in Europe's top competition.

The Reds have also lost six of their past seven games on Spanish soil in the tournament since beating Real Madrid in the 2008-09 last 16, though they were victorious at the Wanda Metropolitano against Tottenham in the 2018-19 final.

Mohamed Salah opened the scoring in that meeting with Spurs and he has more recently scored in each of his past five away games for Liverpool in the Champions League – the longest-such streak by a Reds player in the competition.

Shakhtar Donetsk v Real Madrid: Will Ancelotti be Los Blancos' lucky omen?

Shakhtar beat Madrid home and away in the group stage last season and could become just the third side to win three in a row against Los Blancos in the competition after Bayern Munich and Juventus.

While Madrid's recent record against the Ukrainian outfit is poor, head coach Carlo Ancelotti has won all four of his previous Champions League games against Shakhtar – only against Bayern (six) and Liverpool (five) has he won more often.

Prior to their shock defeat at the hands of Sheriff last time out, Madrid beat Inter 1-0 at San Siro in their opening Group D contest. However, not since 2014-15 have they won their opening two Champions League away games.

 

Paris Saint-Germain v RB Leipzig: History not on Germans' side

After netting in PSG's win against Manchester City three weeks ago, Messi is looking to join Neymar (2017), Alex (2012) and George Weah (1994) in scoring in his first two home games for the club in the competition.

PSG have a great record against German opponents, having won seven of their eight meetings with Bundesliga clubs on home soil, though the exception in that run was in April this year when Bayern won 1-0 at the Parc des Princes.

The Ligue 1 side do not tend to slip up at home in the group stage, losing just one of their past 28 such games – against Manchester United in October 2020 – and netting 2.7 goals per game on average.

Club Brugge v Manchester City: Pep seeking response to Paris pain

Ahead of this first ever meeting with City, Brugge are winless in 12 matches against English opponents in all European competitions since beating Chelsea in the Cup Winners' Cup 26 years ago.

The Belgian champions are unbeaten in their past four home group matches in the Champions League, though, picking up eight points across that run – only once have they gone five in a row without defeat (a run of six that ended in October 2019).

But Pep Guardiola will be confident of City getting their campaign back on track following defeat in Paris, the Catalan coach having lost successive away games in the competition once previously when in charge of Bayern in 2014-15 (against Porto and Barcelona).

 

Other fixtures:

Ajax v Borussia Dortmund

2 - Dortmund have won their previous two major European matches in the Netherlands, both in the Champions League. Their last defeat on Dutch soil was in the 2002 UEFA Cup final against Feyenoord.

3 - Ajax are aiming to win their opening three games to a Champions League campaign for the first time since 1995-96 under Louis van Gaal, the season in which they last made it all the way to the final.


Besiktas v Sporting CP

4 - Sporting have failed to win a European match on Turkish soil, drawing three times and losing once, with that loss coming against Istanbul Basaksehir in February 2020 in the Europa League. Besiktas, though, have won just once in 11 home Champions League games, beating RB Leipzig 2-0 in September 2017.

3 - Sporting lost their opening two group matches, against Dortmund and Ajax, and are at risk of losing three in a row for the first time in the current group-stage format.


Porto v Milan

6 - Porto have kept a clean sheet in six of their past seven games in the group stage of the Champions League, though they did concede five times in their last outing in the competition against Liverpool.

7 - Including qualifying matches, seven of Milan's eight away matches in UEFA competitions in Portugal have ended as a draw, with their only win coming against Porto in March 1993 courtesy of a Jean-Pierre Papin goal.


Inter v Sheriff

- Inter have failed to score in their previous three home Champions League games (the last two group games in 2020-21 and against Madrid this term). They have never previously gone four major UEFA European home games without scoring.

- Sheriff are looking to become just the third team this century to win their first three games in the Champions League, after Leicester City in 2016-17 and Malaga in 2012-13.

Related items

  • Women's Euros: Spain's Putellas suffers ACL injury Women's Euros: Spain's Putellas suffers ACL injury

    Spain's Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas will not feature in the Women's Euros after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

    Barcelona captain Putellas finished as the Champions League's top goalscorer with 11 goals last season, ending her domestic campaign with 18 league strikes.

    Putellas, who has scored 27 goals in 100 international appearances and also picked up FIFA's The Best Women's Player award in 2021, was expected to provide creativity from out wide for La Roja, but faces a lengthy spell out of action after suffering the injury in training ahead of Spain's opening game against Finland on Friday.

    An update issued on the side's official website read: "The tests carried out on the Spanish international on the afternoon of this Tuesday, July 5, 2022, at King Edward VII's hospital in London, have confirmed that the captain of the Spanish women's national team suffered a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee."

    Putellas' injury is a huge blow for Spain and the tournament as a whole, with the 28-year-old one of the biggest stars of the women's game.

    Spain, whose group also includes Germany and Denmark, were already without their record goalscorer Jennifer Hermoso due to injury.

  • Wimbledon: 'It's only going to get tougher' says Norrie, but semi-finalist vows to 'take it to' Djokovic Wimbledon: 'It's only going to get tougher' says Norrie, but semi-finalist vows to 'take it to' Djokovic

    Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie has pledged to take the fight to Novak Djokovic in their last-four tie.

    Norrie defeated world number 58 David Goffin 3-6 7-5 2-6 6-3 7-5 on Tuesday to seal his progression to a maiden grand slam semi-final.

    He is the first British man in the Open Era to reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon after Roger Taylor, Tim Henman and Andy Murray.

    The world number 12's reward is a tie against top seed and reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, who is in the hunt for a 21st grand slam title. Yet that daunting challenge is not dampening Norrie's enthusiasm.

    "It's great to get this now but it's only going to get tougher," said Norrie in his on-court interview.

    "I'm going to take it to Novak and hopefully you guys can get behind me and I'm sure you will."

    Jannik Sinner became the first player to win two sets against Djokovic at Wimbledon since Roger Federer did so in an epic final in 2019, but the Serbian hit back to win 5-7 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 on Centre Court.

    Djokovic has now won 84 singles matches at Wimbledon in the main draw, a tally that trails only Federer (105).

    Norrie has won two titles on the ATP Tour this year, but acknowledged it was hard to get an immediate grip of what he has achieved so far at Wimbledon.

    "I think just winning a match like this, I'm in shock. I don't know what to say now," the 26-year-old said.

    "I have flashbacks of all the hard work and all the sacrifices I have had to make and it's definitely paid off – and it feels pretty good."

  • Pochettino 'proud' of Paris Saint-Germain tenure after making way for Galtier Pochettino 'proud' of Paris Saint-Germain tenure after making way for Galtier

    Mauricio Pochettino expressed his pride at ending his Paris Saint-Germain tenure as a Ligue 1 champion after his departure was confirmed.

    PSG confirmed Pochettino's long-expected exit on Tuesday, appointing former Lille and Nice coach Christophe Galtier as his replacement on a two-year contract.

    Despite PSG winning their 10th Ligue 1 title in dominant fashion last season, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Pochettino since a spectacular collapse in a 3-2 aggregate Champions League defeat to Real Madrid in March.

    That represented PSG's fourth last-16 Champions League elimination in the last six seasons, while the former Tottenham boss also missed out on the Ligue 1 title to Lille – coached by Galtier – in his first half-season in France.

    Since Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) acquired the club in 2011, meanwhile, only Carlo Ancelotti (63.6) has recorded a lower win percentage as PSG boss than Pochettino (65.5).

    But writing on Instagram, Pochettino chose to focus on his successes and expressed his gratitude at being given the chance to lead the club, for whom he made 95 appearances as a player.

    "I want to wish everyone at PSG the very best for the future – the owners, the board, the players, all the staff and the supporters," Pochettino wrote.

    "To Nasser [Al-Khelaifi, PSG president] – I want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of the PSG family again.

    "We enjoyed some amazing moments and big wins all together and, as a coaching staff, with every experience we always take learnings to advance our evolution for the future.

    "We are proud to finish as league champions at a club that has meant so much to me and my family, from my time here as a player and a captain, and now as a coach."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.