Real Madrid v RB Leipzig
The reigning Champions League winners return to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in action in the competition that they have won five times in the last decade. It comes after a 3-0 trouncing of Celtic in Matchday 1 which puts them second in Group F after Shakhtar Donetsk shocked Leipzig with a 4-1 win in Germany.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team now come into this game having rested several key players, including defender Dani Carvajal and midfield duo Aurélien Tchouaméni and Luka Modrić, as they beat Mallorca 4-1 on Sunday afternoon. That game featured a goal and an assist from Rodrygo Goes, who is vying with Eden Hazard to start in the number nine role with Karim Benzema out injured. At 7.0 to be first goalscorer, the young Brazilian averaged a goal every 101 minutes in the competition with five strikes across 504 minutes in 2021/22.
Leipzig bounced back this weekend with new coach Marco Rose overseeing an impressive 3-0 win against his former team Borussia Dortmund. The Germans will be hoping to maintain that new manager bounce but would need to become the first German side since Schalke 04 in 2015 to win at the Bernabéu if they are to do so. Four different teams have visited since then with a record of two draws and three defeats.
Real Madrid remain the only side yet to taste defeat in Europe’s top five leagues this season, with seven consecutive wins since they kicked off the campaign with a UEFA Super Cup win over Eintracht Frankfurt. That confidence and the potent attacking threat of Vinícius Júnior should mean that Leipzig, who have conceded 2.3 goals per game away this season, will struggle to withstand the barrage of the champions.
Maccabi Haifa v PSG
There were no upsets in Group H in matchday one, with Maccabi Haifa putting up modest resistance as they lost 2-0 away to Benfica and PSG claiming a 2-1 win over Juventus that should have been made more comfortable. It would be a colossal upset if the Israelis were to seriously trouble PSG here.
Firstly, there is a lack of Champions League experience from the hosts. This is the club’s first time in the competition since 2009-10, when they finished pointless through six games and failed to score a goal. Similarly, they finished bottom of their Conference League group last season and notched only once at home against Feyenoord, Slavia Prague and Union Berlin.
While history does not bode well for the home side, neither does their current line up. Although Frantzdy Pierrot has been in good form for the hosts, the 27-year-old was playing second division football in France last season and has no scoring pedigree at a level of any note.
PSG, meanwhile, are now headed up by Christophe Galtier, who arrived at the club considered a pragmatist. The football has been brighter than fans might have imagined, but while there is still something of a soft side to the Parisians, they have kept three clean sheets in their last four games.
Don’t expect them to go all out to win this game by a landslide. The coach admitted his players were tired after the weekend’s 1-0 win over Brest, and it would be little surprise to see them try to establish a lead of a couple of goals then simply seek to manage it, replacing key figures in the process.
With the home side boasting only a modest attack and PSG perhaps thinking more practically than in previous seasons, back the guests to keep a clean sheet.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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