English Clubs Continue to Struggle
Officially a third of the way through the UEFA Champions League Group Stage, the picture of what’s to come has become even more clear. For some, that picture is a grand one that includes qualification the Champions League Knockout Stage. For others, however, the picture is an ugly one.
For the most part, English Clubs in this year’s Champions League are looking at the latter. Forced to come from behind to earn a 2-1 victory over Hoffenheim, Manchester City were the only English side to earn a victory on matchday two. Suffering losses in their matches, both Liverpool and Tottenham showed that they still remain a ways off of truly contending this season while Manchester United continued their dire form with a drab 0-0 draw against a visiting Valencia side.
However, with four matchdays still to go in the group stage, a lot can still change. But for now, let’s take a look at the results from the second matchday of the group stage with this edition of the UEFA Champions League Round-Up.
Atletico Madrid 3-1 Club Brugge
Borussia Dortmund 3-0 AS Monaco
Standings: 1. Dortmund 6pts, 2. Atletico 6pts, 3. Club Brugge 0pts, 4. Monaco 0pts
Earning two wins in two matches, both Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid have established their early dominance at the top of Group A. While Atletico earned a 3-1 home victory over a much less talented Club Brugge side, Dortmund also took home a 3-0 win against a visiting AS Monaco side, a result that also establishes themselves as a true contender at the top of the group. Awaiting both sides now is a faceoff between the two clubs on the third matchday as Dortmund will play host to Atletico.
PSV 1-2 Inter Milan
Tottenham 2-4 Barcelona
Standings: 1. Barcelona 6pts, 2. Inter 6pts, 3. Tottenham 0pts, 4. PSV 0pts
While Barcelona having two wins in two matches is not a real shock, the story of the competition so far may just be Inter Milan. Following their 2-1 defeat against Tottenham on the opening matchday, Inter continued to show their talent as it took home a 2-1 win in Holland against a solid PSV side. Now 6pts up on third place Spurs, Inter Milan have put themselves in a great position for their next match when they travel to Camp Nou to take on Barcelona. Spurs on the other hand, find themselves in a must win match next time out when they travel to the Netherlands to take on PSV.
Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 Red Star Belgrade
Napoli 1-0 Liverpool
Standings: 1. Napoli 4pts, 2. Liverpool 3pts, 3. PSG 3pts, 4. Red Star 1pt
Like their fellow English clubs, Liverpool also struggled on the second matchday of the Champions League Group Stage. Allowing a late 90th minute goal, the Reds suffered a shock loss to Italian giants Napoli. While not the end of the world, the result does prove that while Liverpool may be a truly great Premier League side, they still have a ways to go to contend in Europe this season. Also of note was Paris Saint-Germain’s dominant 6-1 victory over Red Star Belgrade, setting the club up for a potentially huge third matchday when they host group leaders Napoli.
Porto 1-0 Galatasaray
Lokomotiv Moscow 0-1 Schalke
Standings: 1. Porto 4pts, 2. Schalke 4pts, 3. Galatasaray 3pts, 4. Lokomotiv Moscow 0pts
Of all the groups in this year’s UEFA Champions League, Group D may be the only one staying true to the script this season. Seen by many as the top two clubs in this group, both FC Porto and FC Schalke find themselves tied atop the group. Following their opening matchday draw to each other, Schalke would earn a 1-0 win in Russia against Lokomotiv Moscow while Porto defended their home pitch advantage by defeating Turkish side Galatasaray 1-0.
Bayern Munich 1-1 Ajax
AEK Athens 2-3 Benfica
Standings: 1. Ajax 4pts, 2. Bayern 4pts, 3. Benfica 3pts, 4. AEK 0pts
That was very unexpected. Traveling to Germany to take on German Giants Bayern Munich, Ajax managed to come back from an early 1-0 deficit to earn a 1-1 draw against one of the bigger favorites in this year’s Champions League. With the draw, Ajax have also placed themselves at the top of Group E for the time being, a major shock given the club’s recent record in the UEFA Champions League. Also of note in this group was Benfica’s 3-2 win in Greece over AEK Athens, setting up the Portuguese side for an extremely important matchday three contest against Ajax.
Hoffenheim 1-2 Manchester City
Olympique Lyon 2-2 Shakhtar Donetsk
Standings: 1. Lyon 4 pts, 2. Man City 3pts, 3. Shakhtar Donetsk 2 pts, 4. Hoffenheim 1pt
Oh what a day it could have been. Trailing 1-0 after just 44-seconds against Hoffenheim, Manchester City would need a late second-half strike from David Silva to defeat the German club by a 2-1 score, finally getting the defending English Premier League Champions on the board during this year’s Champions League. In France, Olympique Lyon scored two goals in two minutes to earn a 2-2 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk which allowed the side to retain their spot at the top of Group F.
CSKA Moscow 1-0 Real Madrid
AS Roma 5-0 Viktoria Plzen
Standings: 1. CSKA 4pts, 2. Real Madrid 3pts, 3. Roma 3pts, 4. Viktoria Plzen 1pts
While not the only shock of the second matchday, CSKA Moscow’s victory over Real Madrid was the biggest. Earning a 1-0 win on a famous night inside the Russian capital, CSKA gave their supporters a result that they will never forget. For Real though, one has to wonder if the result is because of the major time difference between Moscow and Spain or if it is potentially a sign of things to come. Back in Italy, AS Roma earned a decisive 5-0 victory over Viktoria Plzen, setting themselves up for a major showdown at home against CSKA on the next matchday.
Juventus 3-0 Young Boys
Manchester United 0-0 Valencia
Standings: 1. Juventus 6pts, 2. Man United 4pts, 3. Valencia 1pt, 4. Young Boys 0pts
Continued dominance by Juventus and a toothless effort from Manchester United. Those were the two headlines chosen to represent Group H. Earning a 3-0 win over Swiss side Young Boys, the Italian giants are a perfect two wins in two matches in this year’s Champions League group stage. On the other side of the coin though, Manchester United were absolutely drab in their first home match of this year’s Champions League. However, despite this 0-0 result, United appear to still be in a good position to qualify from this group. Given this result though, the Red Devils cannot take anything for granted going forward.