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What to look out for on UEFA Champions League Matchday 2

The 32 teams involved in the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League group stage will continue battling for the ultimate prize on 3/4 October. History could be made in the latest round of matches, with some elite names hoping to take centre stage.InformationGuideNigeria

We pick out some key talking points as European football’s most prestigious club competition heads into Matchday 2.

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Tuesday 3 October

Union Berlin vs Braga (18:45)
Salzburg vs Real Sociedad (18:45)
Man United vs Galatasaray (21:00)
Copenhagen vs Bayern (21:00)
Lens vs Arsenal (21:00)
PSV Eindhoven vs Sevilla (21:00)
Napoli vs Real Madrid (21:00)
Inter vs Benfica (21:00)

Wednesday 4 October

Atlético de Madrid vs Feyenoord (18:45)
Antwerp vs Shakhtar Donetsk (18:45)
Celtic vs Lazio (21:00)
Dortmund vs Milan (21:00)
Newcastle vs Paris (21:00)
Leipzig vs Man City (21:00)
Crvena zvezda vs Young Boys (21:00)
Porto vs Barcelona (21:00)

All kick-off times CET

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What to look out for

Kroos set to join one-team centurions
Napoli versus Real Madrid is arguably the pick of Tuesday’s games, but for Toni Kroos it will have added meaning as he could feature in the competition for the 100th time as a Merengues player, becoming the 27th man to reach the landmark for one club in the Champions League in the process.

The German midfielder still fulfils a vital role for Carlo Ancelotti’s men at the age of 33, with former Madrid player turned pundit Álvaro Benito noting when he came on against Union Berlin on Matchday 1: “Every time Kroos plays this season, things happen. He has football in his head. With [Luka] Modrić, he can create a lot of danger.”

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Sure enough, Kroos’ quick thinking to take a short corner caught out his fellow countrymen, starting the chain of events that led to Jude Bellingham’s winner. Who would bet against him being influential again in Naples?

Can Leipzig stop Haaland?
The last player Leipzig would have wanted to come up against in this season’s competition was Erling Haaland after the Norwegian scored five in Man City’s 7-0 home win against the Bundesliga club in last season’s round of 16. That showing was not a one-off either as the 23-year-old also struck six times in four matches against Leipzig when he was a Dortmund player. His overall haul stands at 11 goals in just six outings.

“I’m a bit blurry in my head so I don’t remember the goals,” said Haaland after his five-goal showing last term. “I remember shooting, not thinking. I was so tired after the celebrations. It’s a big night. I’m really proud to play in the Champions League – I love this competition, as everybody knows.”

Pep Guardiola’s talisman will certainly not be lethargic this early in the season, so Marco Rose’s side will need a seriously effective plan to stop Haaland adding to his record against them.

Pepe to lock horns with Barcelona again
Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Xavi Hernández – the names trip off the tongue when you think of the greats to feature consistently in Real Madrid versus Barcelona contests in recent years. The memories will come flooding back for another El Clásico colossus if he steps out against the Catalan club on Wednesday night, with Pepe set to face Barça for the first time since leaving the Spanish capital in 2017.

The 40-year-old took on Barcelona an astonishing 23 times as a Madrid player, winning ten and losing nine of those meetings, and the fire still burns in the Portuguese international as he revealed before Porto’s group stage campaign kicked off with a 3-1 win at Shakhtar: “It is important to show who we are and bring joy to millions of people,” he noted.NYSC Portal

Having failed to make it out of the group stage for the past two seasons, the Blaugrana will be keen to give themselves a buffer on the rest of their section by quelling Pepe’s ambitions this time around.

When are the UEFA Champions League group stage games being played?

Matchday 2: 3/4 October
Matchday 3: 24/25 October
Matchday 4: 7/8 November
Matchday 5: 28/29 November
Matchday 6: 12/13 December

Further ahead
• Teams face each other home and away on Matchdays 3 and 4, giving all 32 sides the chance to garner a head-to-head advantage over one of their section rivals.

• Ex-Inter defenders Milan Škriniar and Achraf Hakimi will know what to expect when former rivals Milan head to Paris for a pivotal Group F meeting on Matchday 3.JAMB Result

• Arne Slot’s Feyenoord beat Roma in their UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg last season but were eliminated in the away return. How will they fare in their double-header with fellow Rome outfit Lazio this season?

Check JAMB Result

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Emediong Silver

Emediong Ekpe is a graduate of English. A professional Sports journalist/analyst, and a spoken word artist. He is passionate about decimating information and putting smiles on people's faces via news writing. Whatapp: 08088735884

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