European football is coming down with a large number of empty stadiums, but with the Champions League group working in stages and Bayern Munich starting to defend the trophy, working on the field for the biggest club on the continent this week is business as usual. All of Hansi Flick’s winning team have a glamor tie to go home to Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. Earlier on Tuesday, Paris Saint-Germain had beaten Manchester United in last season’s final against Bayern.
AFP Sport finds some storylines to watch over the next few weeks:
Messi vs Ronaldo
He is one of the two best players of his generation and holds the record for scoring 11 Ballon d’Ors and two most runs in the history of the Champions League. Following the clash between Barcelona and Juventus in Group G, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will now renew their individual competitions.
The Portuguese superstar has not faced him since leaving Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018.
Ronaldo is currently isolating himself after testing positive for the Covid-1 for and must pass a negative test before entering the match against Barca in Turin on October 2. The return trip to Camp Nou is scheduled for December 8.
Both sides need to move on from the group of Dynamo Kiev and Ferenvaros, but both Messi and Ronaldo have been seen running from time to time to win the Champions League. Messi, now 33, has won four campaigns, while Ronaldo, 35, has won five.
Will Man UTD drop out of their group?
Manchester United began their campaign in Paris Saint-Germain after a repeat of their dramatic last-16 meeting in 2018-19, when the Red Devils thanked them for the late penalty.
This was a high point as Ole Gunnar Solskjन्नr’s Old Trafford manager. He had his 14th win in 17 matches as a caretaker and soon after that he got a permanent job. But United were knocked out of the semi-finals by Barcelona and did not qualify for last season’s Champions League.
United came in third to return to the first table in Europe in charge of Solskjer’s first full campaign, but serious doubts remain about his managerial ability and he is in a tough group with semi-finalists RB Leipzig and Turkish champions Istanbul Basakshir. As well as PSG.
Knives will stay out for the Norwegians if they fail to make it to the knockout stage.
Will Holland star again?
Earling Brot Holland was last season’s Champions League star before the competition was interrupted by a coronavirus (or epidemic) epidemic all over the country.
Red Bull was the subject of eight bowling appearances for Salzburg in the Norwegian group. After moving to Borussia Dortmund in the winter, he scored two more runs in the last 1 in the PSG defeat. Dortmund lost at number one.
Holland, who scored a total of 44 club goals last season, was 20 in July. He already has 11 for the club and the country this season, and Dortmund are hoping he can help them out of a group that includes Zonit St Petersburg, Lazio and Club Bruges.
Atlanta: Dark horses are no more
The Atlanta runway, where they suffered a crushing PSG defeat in the semi-finals, would have been heartbreaking, even if their hometown of Bergamo had not been devastated by the first wave of the coronavirus epidemic.
Despite losing the first three group games, Gian Piero Gasparini’s side qualified for the last 16 and then went on to beat Valencia 8-4 in the Champions League campaign. He finished third in Serie A to return to Europe’s elite club competition.
But Atlanta no longer has a surprise package and now prefers to move on from their group with Liverpool and ahead of Ajax and Danish champions Midgeland. Will they continue to grow despite being black horses?
Atlanta will no longer have new kids but four teams are in the group for the first time.
Ren is the first interesting player in the Renaissance to win the third title in France in the first year since winning the France Cup. In Julian Stephen he has the best young coach in Europe, while midfielder Eduardo Cuminga is probably the youngest coach in world football. They are in a tough group, though another newcomer from Chelsea, Sevilla and Russia’s Krasnodar.
Midgeland will face Liverpool, Atlanta and Ajax. Meanwhile, after breaking the dominance of Istanbul veterans in Turkey, Basakshir is expected to create problems for PSG, Manchester United and Leipzig.