What we noticed from the second group games

30 Sep


What do you think of our choices? What stood out for you? Let us know using #UCL on @ChampionsLeague


Group A
Ludogorets Razgrad 1-3 Paris Saint-Germain
Arsenal 2-0 Basel

Group B
Beşiktaş 1-1 Dynamo Kyiv
Napoli 4-2 Benfica

Group C
Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-2 Barcelona

Celtic 3-3 Manchester City

Group D
Atlético Madrid 1-0 Bayern München
Rostov 2-2 PSV Eindhoven

Group E
Monaco 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen
CSKA Moskva 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Group F
Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Real Madrid
Sporting CP 2-0 Legia Warzsawa

Group G
Leicester City 1-0 Porto

København 4-0 Club Brugge

Group H
Sevilla 1-0 Lyon
Dinamo Zagreb 0-4 Juventus

Fantasy Football team of the week

Highlights: Watch Slimani's Leicester winner
  • Leicester already at home

For the second matchday running, Leicester followed a 4-1 domestic defeat with a UEFA Champions League victory, this time in the first European game at their current stadium. Claudio Ranieri’s men got the better of Porto with a goal from Islam Slimani, who had already scored five times against the Dragons in 2016 for Sporting. The Foxes are the first English side ever to win their opening two group games and winger Mark Albrighton said: “We know we’ve got four tough games coming up but we couldn’t have got off to a better start – two wins and two clean sheets. It’s a great base to build on.”

Highlights: Napoli 4-2 Benfica
  • Napoli on brink of history

Along with Leicester, Barcelona and Atlético, Napoli sit on six points and they were seldom in trouble as they saw off Benfica 4-2. Since both other matches in their group have finished level, if Napoli can beat Beşiktaş next time out (and they have won seven of their eight home fixtures in the UEFA Champions League proper) and Dynamo draw with Benfica, the Partenopei will become the first club ever to go through with three games still to play. Coach Maurizio Sarri said of the now trademark post-anthem San Paolo roar that helped inspire Napoli to victory: “It’s captivating. It’s something that remains on your skin, printed like a tattoo.”

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Highlights: Dortmund 2-2 Real Madrid
  • Dortmund point to thrilling future

The BVB-Madrid match was touted as a meeting of Europe’s future best and current best, and the tyros had a sting in their tail courtesy of André Schürrle, whose late equaliser was Dortmund’s second of the night. Thomas Tuchel fielded six players aged 22 or under in Julian Weigl (21), Ousmane Dembélé (19), Raphaël Guerreiro (22), Matthias Ginter (22), Christian Pulišić (18) and Emre Mor (19) and mustered 11 shots on target with their all-action style. “We wanted to use this opportunity to test ourselves at this level,” Tuchel said. “This game helps our confidence and we can learn a lot from it. As a youth coach, you wouldn’t dare dream of a game like this.” As for BVB’s current UEFA Youth League team, they also played out a thrilling encounter with Madrid, but were beaten 5-2.

  • Goals flying in

After 50 goals on matchday one, there were 47 more this week, the total of 97 strikes potentially putting the 2016/17 edition on course to be the first that averages more than three a game (the closest was 2012/13 with 2.94, its tally of 368 from 125 fixtures just seven short). The goals have been shared around too with 29 clubs off the mark and no one side yet to double figures. This underlines a trend: last year there had been 100 goals by this stage, and 97 in 2013/14; between 2002/03 and 2012/13 the corresponding number did not rise above 90 and was usually in the 70s.

Goal of the week vote

Highlights: Celtic 3-3 Man. City
  • Celtic find balance

Celtic, it’s true, have conceded ten but they will be feeling a whole lot better after their 3-3 draw with Manchester City (compared with the wake of their 7-0 loss at Barcelona) despite three times holding the lead, if never for more than nine minutes. Considering it was the first time City had failed to win under Josep Guardiola, Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was justified in saying: “I can’t criticise the team, but there’s always elements we can be better in. We were brilliant, the pressing and the energy. Every time we went forward we looked like we could score.”

Highlights: See Delaney's stunner for København
  • Wonderful København goals

The week’s biggest winners, along with Juventus, were FCK who are now unbeaten in 21 matches after their record UEFA Champions League-proper margin of victory – 4-0 against Brugge. Having also drawn their opening game at Porto, the Danish champions will take on Leicester twice with a real prospect of progress, and it was not just the display that convinced (they even missed a penalty) but also the quality of their goals. If Federico Santander’s volley to make it three was decent enough, the way Thomas Delaney struck the second was incredible. Visiting goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle, fresh from his penalty save, could only watch in wonder.

What do you think of our choices? What stood out for you? Let us know using #UCL on @ChampionsLeague

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