Champions League: Bayern Munich, Chelsea show us what to expect from Day 1

2 months ago 26

The Champions League group stages kicked off with a shock.

Manchester United, complete with their big names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes lost 1-0 to Young Boys.

Although they were reduced to 10 men after Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s rash tackle was punished with a red card, you would not expect United to go on and lose to the Swiss side.

So, at the end of Match Day 1, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team find themselves bottom of Group A and in real danger of having a repeat of last season’s failure.

When faced with the challenge, Solskjaer once again proved he does not possess what it takes tactically to push a top team or top players over the winning line. This was shown in his abject subtitutions, with Jesse Lingard eventually giving away the ball for the winner.

Elsewhere, you wouldn’t call Bayern Munich hammering Barcelona 3-0 a surprise or a fluke. It was coming. In fact, more will come for the Catalans.

Without Lionel Messi in their ranks, Barca have been sufficiently stripped of goals, creativity and a talismanic presence. Although Memphis Depay has tried to pull his weight around, there is litte he can do when it comes to the big stages, with a mediocre supporting cast around him.

Bayern strolled around the Nou Camp, outpressing and outmuscling their hosts, giving a sense of Champions-elect. Or serious contenders at least.

Chelsea are another team that showed their hand early on. Under Thomas Tuchel, the Blues have unlocked a different level of resilience and grit. Zenit arrived at Stamford Bridge eager to frustrate the current holders.

Romelu Lukaku is proving to be a difference maker for the Premier League team. And in the 70th minute, he rose supremely to head home the winner – his fourth goal in his fourth appearance.

If Tuchel managed to win the trophy last season with an out-of-sorts Timo Werner, you probably should put your money on him doing it again with the Belgian powerhouse at his disposal.

On Wednesday, we will see Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain for the first time. These two are also favourites to go all the way in the competition.

But this year’s Champions League is already shaping up nicely.

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