Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined the Champions League's 40-plus club on a miserable night for Milan, as the Swede insisted: "We have to do better."

A 1-0 defeat in Porto means the Serie A giants have yet to pick up a point through three rounds of Group B games.

They have never begun a group-stage campaign so poorly, points-wise, and it will now take a remarkable effort to claw themselves back into last-16 contention.

Luis Diaz's second-half strike gave Porto the points at the Estadio do Dragao, making the November 3 re-match at San Siro in two weeks' time particularly huge for Milan.

This is the Rossoneri's first season back in the elite UEFA club competition since the 2013-14 campaign, and it has been a tough examination to date.

Ibrahimovic promised Milan would fight for as long as they remain mathematically capable of making progress, claiming he remained "confident" of a turnaround, albeit realistic about their shortcomings on Tuesday.

"Today was our worst match in the Champions League," said Ibrahimovic. "Unfortunately we are still on zero points after three games.

"We must remember that this team is back in the Champions League after so many years and games like this will give experience to the whole group."

Speaking to Mediaset Canale 5, he added: "Players were missing, but this is part of football. I just got back and I'm happy to play."

Injuries and COVID-19 cases have left Milan depleted, but Ibrahimovic said: "I don't want to find excuses. In the next match we have to do better. There are three games left and, as long as there is a chance, we will try. I am confident."

The Swedish striker was used as a substitute, coming on just before the hour mark to become the first outfield player aged 40 or over to appear in the Champions League since Ryan Giggs for Manchester United in April 2014.

Ibrahimovic also became just the second 40-year-old to appear for Milan in the competition, after former defensive stalwart Alessandro Costacurta.

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli accepted his side were second best on the night in Portugal, praising Porto's efforts.

The Italian outfit have lost their last five games in the Champions League, but two of those came against Atletico Madrid at the last-16 stage eight seasons ago.

Pioli said of Porto: "They did better in terms of clarity, technique and how they were on the pitch. We didn't start well, we had to manage the ball better.

"There were situations where we could have created some more danger, but we didn't succeed in doing so. The performance wasn't the best. At this level, if you don't play with clarity it becomes difficult. They did better than us."

Playing with Lionel Messi is "easy" for Kylian Mbappe, who knows Paris Saint-Germain must find a higher level than they did against RB Leipzig on Tuesday.

Messi scored twice to take his tally of Champions League goals to 123 as PSG came out on top 3-2 in a thrilling encounter at Parc des Princes.

While he is yet to find the net in Ligue 1, Messi has now scored three times in UEFA's flagship competition for his new club, taking him level with Mauro Icardi and Neymar for the most goals inside three Champions League appearances for PSG.

With the injured Neymar watching from the stands, Mbappe played a crucial part in both of Messi's goals, first teeing up the 34-year-old to restore parity after Nordi Mukiele made it 2-1 to Leipzig, before winning the penalty from which the Argentine coolly chipped home the winner.

Mbappe opened the scoring in a frantic match, finishing brilliantly in the ninth minute to take his number of direct goal contributions for PSG in the Champions League to 40.

The youngster has already scored 28 goals in the Champions League; the most by any player in the competition before their 23rd birthday, ahead of Messi (25). Mbappe did, however, pull rank over Messi late on to take a second penalty, denying his team-mate the chance of a hat-trick, only to send his effort into the stands.

"We found each other tonight, it was good," Mbappe told RMC Sport when asked about Messi.

"Now, Neymar will come back. We will have to be good together, all three of us. We will need to be efficient. But, it's easy to play with Messi."

While Mbappe and Messi got PSG out of trouble and sent Mauricio Pochettino's side back to the top of Group A, it was another performance largely lacking in control, with Leipzig having 18 attempts in total, eight more than their hosts managed.

Andre Silva, who cancelled out Mbappe's opener, had previously hit the woodwork, while former PSG midfielder Christopher Nkunku also went close on several occasions. 

Though he is revelling in his growing relationship with Messi, Mbappe insisted the trend of performances cannot continue.

"In the league, we may be a bit laborious, but we have nine wins in ten games," he said. "We have to do better, it's true. For the moment, we are not playing well, [but] we are winning. But I think we have to play better to win more calmly."

It was a sentiment echoed by Marquinhos, who was also full of praise for Mbappe's display.

"Paris won, that's the most important thing," he said. "You have to suffer, there is no gift in football. We knew that there would be no easy matches. The main thing is to win, to gain confidence and experience.

"It's great to have a player like [Mbappe]. He's a very important player in the team. He plays great matches. It's very important to have him fresh, with confidence. He helps us on the field, it is very good for us that he is there."

Edin Dzeko admitted he is sometimes guilty of missing simple chances after leading Inter to an important 3-1 Champions League win over Sheriff.

The Bosnia-Herzegovina striker scored an expert volley in the first half to put the Nerazzurri ahead at San Siro on Tuesday.

Sebastien Thill levelled with a fine free-kick, but Dzeko set up Arturo Vidal to restore Inter's lead and Stefan de Vrij made certain of just their second win in 10 Champions League matches.

Dzeko's superb finish came after he missed an easier chance when through on Dumitru Celeadnic's goal 17 minutes in.

And the 35-year-old, who has scored seven goals in 11 appearances in all competitions since being signed to replace Romelu Lukaku, accepted he often fails to make the most of more presentable openings.

"Sometimes I make difficult goals seem easy and other times I miss easy goals!" he said to Sky Sport Italia.

"It might be a question of concentration, but the important thing is to have scored tonight.

"We deserved much more in Rome [against Lazio], but the important thing is there was another match where we could give everything like we have today. We did well after taking only one point from two Champions League games."

Inter's first win of their Champions League campaign moved them to within two points of Group D leaders Sheriff and Real Madrid and gave a major boost to their hopes of reaching the last 16.

Vidal felt the victory was vital not just for their European campaign, but to give the team confidence ahead of Sunday's Serie A clash with Juventus.

"It was a really perfect night for us," Vidal told Inter TV. "We needed a win by this sort of margin to gain confidence, also in terms of looking at Sunday's game.

"We want to progress in the Champions League and we needed to win today. We lost a really bad game against Lazio last Sunday. Today, we had a good game that gives us confidence for the future."

Diego Simeone justified his decision to not shake Jurgen Klopp's hand by highlighting the contrasting cultures after Atletico Madrid were downed 3-2 by Liverpool.

Antoine Griezmann's brace drew Atletico level at 2-2 before the Frenchman was dismissed in the second half – the loanee becoming the first player in the competition to score two-plus goals and be sent off in the same match.

Mohamed Salah then converted from the spot to restore the Reds' lead before Simeone's side had a stoppage-time penalty overturned by VAR after Diogo Jota had allegedly shoved Jose Gimenez.

The Egypt forward's winner meant the LaLiga side conceded more than twice in a Champions League home game for the first time under Simeone, last doing so against Porto in 2009.

After the match, Simeone sprinted down the tunnel as he snubbed a full-time handshake with Klopp, but the Atleti head coach insisted there was no malice in the gesture.

"I don't normally greet after the game," he said.

"I do not like it and I think it is not healthy because there will always be someone who is not satisfied with the game.

"They have a different culture, which I do not share. If I see [Jurgen] Klopp now, I have no problem greeting him."

Klopp collected Liverpool's first win in five attempts against Atletico in the Champions League, while victory ended a five-game winless run against Spanish sides in the competition.

However, centre-back Felipe was left disappointed after the game as he explained his confusion with the overturned penalty decision, albeit the 32-year-old admitted his vision for the Griezmann sending-off was impaired.

"I don't know what the rule is but, for me, it is clear that it is a penalty," Felipe told Movistar.

"He [the referee] went to the VAR to look, then he went to go and look again – it is clear that he had doubts.

"The other way around [for Liverpool's penalty], it was a very fast decision. We have to fight our own battles, but it is a bit unfair.

"The play [by Griezmann] was for yellow and that's it because he's looking at the ball and trying to control it."

Jurgen Klopp said Diego Simeone's decision to not shake his hand following Liverpool's incredible 3-2 Champions League win over 10-man Atletico Madrid "was not so cool".

Simeone stormed down the tunnel at full-time in Tuesday's European classic at Wanda Metropolitano after a couple of big refereeing decisions went against Atletico.

Atleti had two-goal star Antoine Griezmann sent off for a contentious red card for a high boot with the game poised at 2-2 and saw a strong penalty shout overturned by VAR late on.

While not pleased with Simeone's snub, Liverpool manager Klopp could understand his opposite number's frustration on an evening of high drama in the Spanish capital.

"We don't like that but yes the situation is clear," Klopp told BT Sport. "I want to shake his hand. His reaction for sure, like mine, was not so cool. 

"The next time we see each other we will shake hands definitely. It's nothing. He was obviously angry, not with me but with the game. There is nothing else."

Griezmann netted his sixth Champions League double in Atleti colours to cancel out early strikes from Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita before being issued a straight red card.

He had his eyes on the ball and caught Roberto Firmino in the face with his boot, becoming the first player to score twice and be sent off in the same Champions League game.

Salah went on to score a second for the Reds from the penalty spot to put them in front, but more drama followed late on when Diogo Jota shoved Jose Gimenez in the box.

Daniel Siebert pointed to the spot, only to overturn the decision before substitute Luis Suarez could step up after the referee was asked by VAR to check the pitchside monitor.

Atleti's players reacted angrily, but Klopp believes the officials got each of the big calls correct.

"I saw it and our penalty is a penalty. I think the other one [for Atletico] is not a penalty but I didn't expect it [to be overturned]," Klopp said. 

"I think it's the right decision. The red card was for sure unlucky but it is a red card. A foot in the face. It can happen."

Liverpool's victory at the scene of their 2019 Champions League final triumph against Tottenham brought an end to a four-game winless run against Atleti in the competition.

The Reds, who had lost their previous five games against Spanish opposition in UEFA's flagship club tournament, are five points clear at the top of Group B at the midway point.

In a game that had a bit of everything, including another record for Salah as he scored for a ninth Liverpool match running, Klopp was just happy to escape with all three points.

"It was a tough game. Honestly, how we win it, I couldn't care less! On a night like this, getting three points is really nice," he said.

"We did surprisingly well at the beginning. Did we expect it to be that defensive? Probably not. It was not so easy. 

"We scored two wonderful goals then played good football. It was 2-0 then obviously Atletico are not too bothered about having possession. 

"The first goal we gave away then the second, it was nice play but the gaps we had there...That was not alright. 

"At half-time I think everyone in the stadium thought it was only going one way and we thought 'let's give it a proper try again'.

"We played a really solid second half in a tough game with intense football from both teams. We got the penalty, then there was a red card and obviously it was in our favour."

Erik ten Hag hailed Ajax after the Eredivisie giants made it three wins from three games in the Champions League thanks to a stunning 4-0 rout of Borussia Dortmund.

Ajax produced a merciless performance in Amsterdam, where Dusan Tadic's free-kick deflected off Marco Reus to set the tone before Daley Blind, Antony and Sebastien Haller also scored in Tuesday's rout.

With the Dortmund demolition, Ajax have now won their opening three Champions League matches in a season for the first time since 1995-96, when they went on to reach the final, losing to Juventus on penalties.

Ajax have also scored 11 goals through three matchdays, their most at this stage of a European Cup/Champions League campaign since scoring 26 times in their first three games in the 1979-80 season.

"Of course I'm incredibly proud of my team," Ajax head coach Ten Hag told Amazon Prime. "We produced a fantastic performance and played some incredible football.

"When two teams with this philosophy want to attack like that then it becomes an open shoot-out, which we won tonight."

Ajax condemned Dortmund to their heaviest defeat in European competition since losing 4-0 to Sochaux in the UEFA Cup in November 2003, while it was the Bundesliga side's heaviest ever defeat in the European Cup/Champions League.

Ten Hag added: "Being good in possession was one of our first priorities tonight. My players were exceptional in that regard and created a lot of chances.

"What pleased me most though was the way we pressed. I'm happy that we won and that we won with fantastic football, but there are three games to go."

Haller, meanwhile, became the first African player to score in their first three Champions League appearances since Didier Drogba in 2003 – the Ivorian has six goals and two assists in his three games so far for Ajax.

He also equalled the Ajax record for scoring in consecutive Champions League matches, following in the footsteps of Patrick Kluivert (1995), Jari Litmanen (1996) and team-mate Tadic (2018).

As for man-of-the-match Blind, he scored his first goal in the Champions League since his strike for Manchester United against Benfica in October 2017.

It was his first for Ajax in the competition and came 29 years and 347 days since his father Danny Blind scored his last goal in UEFA European competition for Ajax, against FC Rot-Weiss Erfurt in the UEFA Cup in November 1991.

"We were very good on the ball in the first half," Ajax attacker Steven Berghuis told RTL 7. "We created so many chances, we combined well, and had depth in our game.

"We made sure not to lose the ball quickly, because then you play into their hands. Instead we kept the ball for long periods, and that weakens them."

Luis Diaz's second-half finish propelled Porto to their first win in the Champions League this season as they beat Milan 1-0 to leave the Italians staring at an early exit.

Sergio Conceicao's side were demolished 5-1 by Liverpool in their previous European outing, while Stefano Pioli's men suffered last-minute heartbreak against Atletico Madrid to leave both sides winless from their first two Group B games.

Diaz looked to seize the early initiative but was denied by the woodwork after just four minutes, with Medhi Taremi then spurning a series of chances.

However, Diaz managed to break the deadlock at Estadio do Dragao after the interval to condemn Milan to consecutive European away defeats for the first time since April 2012.

Diaz almost offered the hosts the perfect start, the Colombia international drilling a low drive against the left post before Taremi curled narrowly wide.

Olivier Giroud then misdirected a header after Rafael Leao's cross created Milan's first presentable opportunity, with Taremi missing a headed chance of his own before poking wide as Porto failed to make their first-half dominance pay.

Taremi remained persistent in his pursuit of the opener after the interval, dragging a left-footed strike narrowly off target after capitalising on Fikayo Tomori's mistake.

Tomori made amends with a last-ditch block to deny Otavio before Mateus Uribe arrowed just the wrong side of the left-hand post, but Porto did not have to wait much longer for their deserved opener.

The visitors felt Ismael Bennacer was fouled by Taremi in the build-up but referee Felix Brych disagreed as Diaz fired into the bottom-right corner after 65 minutes, with Pepe angling a rare left-footed effort wide three minutes later.

Pioli's team never looked like finding a late equaliser as Porto recorded their seventh clean sheet in their last eight group-stage matches in the competition.

Mohamed Salah made history by scoring in a ninth successive match for Liverpool to earn the Reds a dramatic 3-2 win over Atletico Madrid, who had two-goal Antoine Griezmann sent off and a late penalty contentiously overturned.

In-form forward Salah opened the scoring inside eight minutes in Tuesday's breathless Champions League tie before Naby Keita volleyed in a second five minutes later as the visitors took complete control at Wanda Metropolitano.

That was the earliest Atletico had gone two goals down in a Champions League match, though they hit back before half-time through Griezmann's double.

Griezmann was sent off early in the second half for a high boot on Roberto Firmino and Liverpool made the man advantage count when Salah scored a second of his own from the penalty spot.

Liverpool, who were given a late reprieve when a penalty awarded for Diogo Jota's shove on Jose Gimenez was overruled following a check of the pitchside monitor, now hold a five-point lead over Atletico and Porto at the top of Group B.

At 29 years and 130 days, Liverpool fielded their oldest starting line-up in a match since September 1953 and their experience showed in a fast start that saw them open the scoring early on.

Salah's left-footed shot from outside the box took a deflection on its way past Jan Oblak and was later credited to the Egypt forward after some initial confusion over who the final touch came off.

Atleti continued to be pushed back and they found themselves two goals behind soon after when Felipe's poor defensive header fell nicely for Keita to thump home with a dipping first-time shot from 18 yards.

But the home side soon settled and were back in the game thanks to a slight touch from Griezmann to help Koke's shot into the bottom-left corner, the goal allowed to stand after a lengthy VAR check for a possible offside in the build-up.

Griezmann was then denied by Alisson when played clean through on goal, but the France international made amends by taking Joao Felix's pass in his stride and coolly slotting past the Liverpool goalkeeper.

Alisson and Oblak continued to be called into action in a frantic end-to-end match, but momentum shifted back in Liverpool's favour with 52 minutes played with Griezmann's straight red card.

Jurgen Klopp's side made a spell of pressure count 12 minutes from time as Mario Hermoso barged into Jota inside the box and Salah, who missed a penalty against Milan in Liverpool's opening group match, buried the spot-kick.

There was still time for more drama in the Spanish capital, with referee Daniel Siebert pointing to the spot for Jota's challenge on Gimenez, but the decision was controversially overturned before substitute Luis Suarez could step up and take the penalty.

Vinicius Junior scored twice as Real Madrid got their Champions League campaign back on track with a commanding 5-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk.

Having suffered a shock defeat by Sheriff last time out in Group D, Carlo Ancelotti's men endured no such difficulties at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.

Sergey Krivtsov's own goal got the ball rolling for the visitors seven minutes before half-time, while Vinicius' quickfire double put them in control after the break.

Further strikes from Rodrygo and Karim Benzema completed the rout as coach Ancelotti claimed his fifth straight victory over Donetsk in this competition.

Despite a bright start at the scene of their 2018 Champions League final triumph over Liverpool, Madrid had a scare in the 23rd minute.

Indeed, Ferland Mendy was forced to clear Ismaily's dangerous cross with Mateus Tete lurking for a tap-in.

But it was the 13-time European champions who hit the front in extremely fortuitous circumstances after 37 minutes, as Lucas Vazquez's hopeful ball towards Benzema was sliced beyond his own goalkeeper by skipper Krivtsov.

Benzema was involved again as Madrid doubled their lead within six minutes of the start of the second half. After Donetsk were caught in possession from a throw-in, the skipper found Luka Modric, whose perfectly weighted first-time ball was delicately finished by Vinicius.

The Brazilian grabbed his second in emphatic fashion just five minutes later.

Receiving the ball from Benzema on the left flank, he embarked on a jinking run into the heart of the hosts' defence before sweeping the ball past Anatolii Trubin.

Vinicius then turned provider in the 65th minute, demonstrating tremendous vision to cut the ball back for Rodrygo to thump into the roof of the net. Benzema completed the scoring with a neat finish in the dying moments of the contest.

Lionel Messi scored twice in the space of seven minutes as Paris Saint-Germain grabbed a 3-2 victory over RB Leipzig in a thrilling Champions League encounter.

Kylian Mbappe had earlier fired PSG into a ninth-minute lead, yet Andre Silva deservedly pulled Leipzig level in what was another laboured and imbalanced performance from PSG on Tuesday.

Shorn of the injured Neymar, Mauricio Pochettino's team looked set to be punished when Nordi Mukiele scored Leipzig's second to put them ahead just prior to the hour at Parc des Princes.

However, Messi was on hand to stem Leipzig's hopes of a first Champions League win of the campaign with a somewhat fortuitous finish, before the former Barcelona superstar chipped home the winner from the penalty spot.

Mbappe slammed a second penalty high over the bar in stoppage time, though PSG still moved to the top of Group A.

Inter ended a three-game run without a home goal in the Champions League as they secured an important 3-1 victory over Sheriff on Tuesday.

With just one point from their opening two matches of 2021-22 and only one victory from their past nine games in the competition, the pressure was on the Nerazzuri to deliver at San Siro.

Edin Dzeko broke the deadlock 34 minutes in, but Sebastien Thill, who scored a stunning winner against Real Madrid on matchday two, drew Sheriff level early in the second half.

Inter responded well, though, Dzeko setting up Arturo Vidal to restore their lead and Stefan de Vrij adding a third to make certain of three points.

Dzeko had failed to beat Dumitru Celeadnic from a simpler position in the middle of the box earlier in the first half, making his breakthrough goal all the more impressive.

After Vidal flicked on Federico Dimarco's corner, Dzeko arrowed a controlled left-footed volley into the top-right corner through a crowded penalty area.

Sheriff had offered a threat despite leaving Samir Handanovic relatively untested, and few neutrals would have begrudged them their equaliser, Thill curling home a superb free-kick from more than 25 yards out.

Inter's response was exemplary, though. Only six minutes later, Vidal controlled Dzeko's pass and slotted beneath Celeadnic at his right-hand post, and Denzel Dumfries spurned a chance for a third soon afterwards.

Compatriot De Vrij showed more precision, though, firing home a low finish on the turn from Dumfries' header back across goal.

It could have been a more one-sided scoreline by the end, Ivan Perisic crashing a shot off the crossbar and Lautaro Martinez seeing a volley tipped over by Celeadnic.


What does it mean? Inter reignite Champions League campaign

Inter's win put them on four points from three games in Group D, two behind Real Madrid – who were 4-0 winners at Shakhtar Donetsk – and Sheriff.

Should Simone Inzaghi's men win the reverse fixture against the Moldovan champions, they will be in a strong position to progress to the last 16.

Viva Vidal

This was the first time Vidal had scored and assisted a goal in a Champions League game since he did so for Juventus against Chelsea in 2012.

While not quite the same colossus he was nine years ago, the Chile midfielder remains a supremely useful and experienced asset.

Shoot to Thill

Thill is fast making a name for himself with spectacular Champions League goals. His stunning winner at the Santiago Bernabeu was followed up here by a magnificent, measured free-kick that was too much for Handanovic to keep out.

Unfortunately for Sheriff, he could not stop Inter breaking through the lines with increasing ease as the game wore on.

What's next?

On matchday four, Sheriff host Inter on November 3. More immediately, the Nerazzurri must prepare for Juventus in Serie A this Sunday.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has hailed his side's 5-1 win over Club Brugge as "one of the best performances" they have produced in Europe.

Riyad Mahrez scored twice, with Joao Cancelo, Kyle Walker and Cole Palmer all getting on the scoresheet too, while Hans Vanaken netted for the hosts in Belgium.

It was a scintillating showing from last season's losing Champions League finalists and Guardiola believes they could have won by an even greater margin.

"[It was] one of the best performances we have done in Europe, definitely," Guardiola said after the match. "I looked over Brugge in the international break. I looked at many games. I know how good they did against PSG.

"We found a lot of passes with Phil [Foden]. We had runners in behind. We could have scored more goals, we had many chances. All of us are delighted with the performance we have done."

Palmer scored his first Champions  League goal for the club, becoming only the third teenager to do so for City after Foden and Kelechi Iheanacho, and Guardiola is prepared to be patient with the gifted 19-year-old.

"Cole has a special quality in front of the box, a talent that is difficult to find," Guardiola continued. "When he has the ball there, most of the time it ends up in the net. It’s difficult to find that.

"I know how it works with young players. We have to be calm and patient. His position is the second team but at the same time he trains with us and works with our principles.

"I am happy with the goal. He could have done a few actions a little bit better, but that is normal. It is experience."

Palmer will hope to eventually tread the same path as Foden, who performed admirably as a false nine, setting Cancelo up for the opener with a delightful lofted ball into the box. 

Foden has six goals and six assists in the Champions League for City - the only player to provide more under Guardiola in the competition before turning 22 is Lionel Messi (14 - nine goals and five assists) - and the 50-year-old tactician made special mention of the 21-year old's versatility and quality in the final third.

"Yeah, definitely [Foden can play anywhere]," Guardiola added. "He can play as a striker. He can go in behind. He is not in a static position.

"Phil is a special talent. We don't have a striker who scores 25 goals, I have to put players near the box to score goals. He is one of the guys, Sterling is one of the guys, Riyad is and Gundogan. Phil is someone who you feel can create."

Mohamed Salah became the first player in Liverpool history to score in nine successive matches with his early strike in Tuesday's Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid.

The Egypt forward guided in a left-footed drive from just outside the box that was initially credited as a James Milner goal due to the shot taking a deflection on its way through.

However, the goal was later awarded to Salah and with that the 29-year-old broke yet another record as he extended his remarkable scoring streak.

Salah's run started with a penalty to help the Reds to a 1-1 draw with Chelsea on August 28 and he followed that up with goals against Leeds United, Milan, Crystal Palace, Brentford, Porto (two), Manchester City and Watford.

That impressive solo goal against Watford on Saturday made Salah the fourth Liverpool player to net in eight straight matches alongside Sam Raybould (1902-03), John Aldridge (1987-88) and Daniel Sturridge (2013-14).

He moved outright first in that list with his goal at Wanda Metropolitano, with that strike also meaning he has scored in each of his last six away games for Liverpool in the Champions League.

Only Sergio Aguero has scored in more successive away matches in the competition for an English club, the now-Barcelona striker finding the net seven games on the spin for Manchester City between 2017 and 2019.

Bayern Munich defender Dayot Upamecano may be fierce in the heat of battle, but Julian Nagelsmann says his centre-back is so peaceful he would hesitate to swat a fly.

Both Upamecano and Nagelsmann joined the Bayern ranks in the close season, leaving RB Leipzig to join the nine-in-a-row Bundesliga champions.

On Wednesday, Bayern take on Benfica in the third round of Champions League group games, looking to extend a dazzling start that has seen them beat Barcelona 3-0 and score a thumping 5-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev.

Manuel Neuer is in line for a 100th appearance in the competition with the Bavarians, which would make him the fourth player for the German giants to reach the landmark.

In front of Neuer, Upamecano is establishing himself as a fixture at the heart of the Bayern backline, and head coach Nagelsmann is convinced there is a hardman element to his game, as well as the nature of a gentle giant.

"Upamecano has taken an incredible development, he has an incredible defender's gene," said Nagelsmann.

"He loves to defend. Obviously, he has a good physique. He seems mad when looking at him but he's the opposite. He is a really kind and peaceful person that has a great character. I like working with him. He's rather shy and introspective but he is a great human being.

"He looks a lot more evil than he is. I think he has never in his life hit a mosquito on the wall and probably won't do that in the future. Also from his family, he got a lot of positive things on his way while growing up. You still notice that today."

Bayern thumped Bayer Leverkusen 5-1 in the Bundesliga on Sunday, scoring all their goals by the 37th minute as Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry both hit doubles.

The result sent Bayern to the top of the table, their now familiar position.

"There's always potential to improve," said Nagelsmann. "The question is if you have to improve or stay at your level. We'd be happy if we could keep the level of the minutes seven to 45 from the Leverkusen game. Then we could have a great away game in the Champions League."

Speaking in his pre-game news conference, the Bayern boss added: "I expect Benfica to be typically like a great team from Portugal with great footballers. They have two, three key players who I don't want to mention here because then they could prepare accordingly. But basically they're a team that like to have the ball and are used to it from their league. They had different possession stats in the first two Champions League games than in the league."

Bayern have never lost to Benfica in European competition, posting seven wins and three draws in their 10 previous games, including two victories in the Champions League.

In the history of the European Cup and its subsequent Champions League guise, Bayern's eight unbeaten games against Benfica (W5 D3) is the joint most achieved by one team against an opponent since the tournament began in 1955. That means a record could be achieved on Wednesday, surpassing Bayern's eight-game undefeated record against Spartak Moscow (W5 D3) and Barcelona's proud record in clashes with Lyon (W5 D3).

The omens are good: Bayern Munich are on a run of 19 unbeaten away matches in the Champions League (W15 D4), since losing 3-0 at Paris Saint-Germain in September 2017.

They must be wary, though, that Benfica drubbed Barcelona 3-0 last time out in this competition.

Nagelsmann addressed the question of whether the Bundesliga might be becoming boring, given Bayern are clearly so strong compared to their rivals. It would be a major surprise were they not to carry off the title again this season.

"I don't know, I'm on the other side now," said Nagelsmann, previously boss of a Leipzig team that fought to challenge the Bavarian giants. "I think it is always easier to do everything yourself to be successful and not get into whining mode. I always acted like that and I think it's better that way.

"Of course, it is easier to speak from my position as Bayern manager now. It is easier managing a team with this quality, this greed and the desire to confirm your victories. I think that our team is being rated unfairly, leaving out the lack of tension in the league.

"But first, you have to give credit if a team is able to become champions 10 times in a row and still having this greed after [the treble-winning campaign of] 2020 and wanting to continue. I think it is remarkable to talk about our effort of character and not just the quality that we have, that's for sure."

Massimiliano Allegri insisted Juventus should not get carried away with their upturn in form as they have not yet achieved any success this season.

The Bianconeri struggled at the start of Allegri's second tenure, losing consecutive league matches after drawing their Serie A opener against Udinese.

However, after defeating Roma 1-0 on Sunday, Juve have now won four top-flight games in a row and six consecutive fixtures across all competitions as they prepare to face Zenit in Wednesday's Champions League clash.

But despite the positive change in results, Allegri dismissed suggestions that his side's upturn in form could be seen as a breakthrough – warning that Juve have not achieved anything yet.

"It is not the turning point of the season, we needed results," Allegri responded to reporters at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"The performances have improved as an approach; we have also improved in the final third where we needed a bit of clarity.

"At the beginning, we made good performances, but the results went against us with our mistakes.

"It takes calm; we don't have to be enthusiastic now because we have not done anything."

Juve have never lost against Russian opposition in Europe across eight previous encounters, while they are also looking to win their opening three matches of a Champions League campaign for the first time since 2018-19 – again under Allegri.

The Bianconeri have managed to keep four clean sheets in their last four games in the competition as well, and Allegri pinpointed their willingness to defend as a decisive factor for the improvement in results.

"I feel like smiling when they tell me 'your Juve'," the head coach said of his team's identity.

"I have good players, it's normal that at the beginning I didn't know everyone well. Right now, the team also likes to defend and this is a good thing.

"We need to improve – both the offensive and the defensive parts – then, the results increase self-esteem and you work with more serenity."

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