Atletico braced for Ronaldo meeting, PSG out to continue home form - Champions League in Opta numbers

By Sports Desk September 18, 2019

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid begin their respective Champions League campaigns with huge tests against Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus in the pick of Wednesday's action.

Atletico will be smarting from last season's 3-2 aggregate defeat to Juve in the round of 16, when Cristiano Ronaldo – a consistent nemesis of theirs during his time in LaLiga – netted a hat-trick in a 3-0 second-leg win to see the Old Lady into the quarter-finals.

Madrid get started away to PSG, who will be aiming to continue their fine run at home in the group stage despite being without Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.

Last term's beaten finalists Tottenham, Premier League champions Manchester City and German giants Bayern Munich are also in action.

Below, we have highlighted the key data ahead of Wednesday's contests.

Club Brugge v Galatasaray

4 - After losing their first two matches in the 2018-19 Champions League, Club Brugge remained undefeated in their final four (W1 D3) – should they avoid a loss in this match, it will be the best unbeaten run by a Belgian side in the competition took on its current format in 1992.

12 - Galatasaray's new striker Radamel Falcao has scored 12 goals in the Champions League, just one goal off the record by a Colombian player in the competition: Jackson Martinez with 13.

 

Paris Saint-Germain v Real Madrid

21- PSG are unbeaten in 21 Champions League home games in the group stage (W15 D6), not losing since December 2004 against CSKA Moscow (1-3). 

1.97 - Real Madrid have averaged the most goals per game (2.13) in Champions League history. PSG are third on 1.97, with Barcelona the only club separating them in the rankings (2.02).

Olympiacos v Tottenham

8 - Olympiacos are winless in eight Champions League matches (D1 L7) since a 2-1 win against Dinamo Zagreb in November 2015. It is their joint-longest winless run in the competition alongside a streak that ended in October 2003.

50 - Mauricio Pochettino's will oversee his 50th European game as manager of Spurs on Wednesday. Only Bill Nicholson (55) has presided over more for the club.

 

Bayern Munich v Red Star Belgrade

36 - Robert Lewandowski has scored 36 goals in just 52 Champions League appearances for Bayern – only Thomas Muller has scored more for the club in the competition (42 goals in 105 games).

17 -  Red Star conceded more goals in the group stage of the 2018-19 Champions League than any other team (17).

Dinamo Zagreb v Atalanta

11 - Dinamo Zagreb have lost their last 11 consecutive Champions League matches, their joint-worst run in the competition. Only Anderlecht have lost 12 successive matches in Europe's elite competition, that run coming between December 2003 and November 2005.

3 - Just three of the nine Italian clubs to have participated in the Champions League before Atalanta have won their opening match in the competition: AC Milan in 1992, Juventus in 1995 and Udinese in 2005.

 

Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City

79 - Excluding own goals, 79 of Shakhtar's 124 Champions League goals have been scored by Brazilians (64 per cent) – only Barcelona (85) have seen more goals scored by Brazilians than Shakhtar, while Braga (11-12 – 92%) are the only team to have had a higher proportion of goals scored by players from Brazil.

124 - Gabriel Jesus scored a hat-trick for City in their last meeting against Shakhtar in November last year, inspiring a 6-0 win. Of the 73 Brazilians to have scored four or more goals in the Champions League, Jesus has the best minutes-per-goal (124) ratio.

Atletico Madrid v Juventus

54 - Atletico will be competing in their first Champions League season without Antoine Griezmann since 2013-14. He scored or assisted 54 per cent of their goals in the competitions (19 goals, 7 assists) between September 2015 and March 2019 before leaving this year for Barcelona.

25 - Juventus star Ronaldo has scored 25 goals in his career against Atletico, having tormented them regularly in derbies with Madrid and netted a hat-trick last term for the Bianconeri. Only against Sevilla (27) has he scored more in all competitions.

 

Bayer Leverkusen v Lokomotiv Moscow

0 - Bayer Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz has yet to win a Champions League game as a manager (D2 L4, with Dortmund). Each of Leverkusen's past four managers have failed to win their first Champions League match in charge.

7 - Lokomotiv forward Jefferson Farfan will be looking to score in his seventh different Champions League campaign (2004-05, 2005-06, 2007-08, 2010-11, 2012-13 and 2018-19). The only Peruvian to have scored in more seasons is Claudio Pizarro (eight).

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    Paddy McNair scored twice as Northern Ireland's sublime first-half showing was enough to earn a thrilling 3-2 win over the Czech Republic on Monday.

    Michael O'Neill's side suffered a disappointing Euro 2020 qualifying defeat to Netherlands on Thursday but bounced back in style with a superb opening 45 minutes.

    McNair got them on their way with a fine finish in the ninth minute before Jonny Evans doubled the advantage midway through the opening period.

    The impressive McNair scored a second five minutes prior to the break before the hosts set up a tense finale with two goals in as many minutes from Vladimir Darida and Alex Kral in the second half, but the away side saw out the win.

    The visitors started with a spring in their step and powered into a ninth-minute lead.

    Liam Boyce's pass from the left wing found McNair on the edge of the penalty area and the Middlesbrough midfielder took a touch past Ladislav Krejci before slotting into the bottom-right corner.

    They deservedly doubled their advantage midway through the first half when Evans reacted quickly after a goalmouth scramble from a corner to scoop home his fourth international goal.

    McNair then scored his second after 40 minutes, latching onto Steven Davis' throughball before rounding the onrushing Jiri Pavlenka and slotting into an empty net.

    The hosts improved markedly after the restart and reduced the deficit with quick-fire goals in the 67th and 68th minutes.

    First, Darida crashed an effort into the roof of the net from Zdenek Ondrasek's lay-off before Kral superbly whipped into the bottom corner from 18 yards after turning inside Craig Cathcart.

    The resurgent hosts did most of the pressing in the closing stages – Ondrasek rightly seeing a goal ruled out in stoppage time after he had bundled the ball out of Michael McGovern's hands – but Northern Ireland ultimately held on for an impressive win on the road.

    What does it mean? First-half blitz too much for hosts

    O'Neill said this game could be good practice ahead of a potential Euro 2020 play-off and he will be delighted with the way his side went about their business inside the opening 45 minutes. He will be less pleased with the way they lost focus in the second half, allowing the Czech Republic to get back into the game courtesy of some sloppy defending. 

    McNair makes his mark

    After scarcely featuring for Middlesbrough last season, the 24-year-old is very much back in favour this campaign, starting every game for the Championship side. That is bearing fruit for his country, with the former Manchester United man scoring two fine goals in what was a superb display at the heart of the Northern Ireland midfield.

    Simic run ragged by visitors

    Making just his second appearance for his country, Stefan Simic endured a game to forget. He was consistently out of position during a torrid opening 45 minutes and suffered the ignominy of being hauled off at the break.

    What's next?

    The Czech Republic round off their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with Group A games against Kosovo and Bulgaria next month, while Northern Ireland face a daunting double-header against Netherlands and Germany.

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    Tottenham have re-signed free agent goalkeeper Michel Vorm on a short-term deal to provide cover for injured skipper Hugo Lloris.

    The 35-year-old had been without a club since being released by Tottenham when his contract expired at the end of last season.

    However, with Lloris out for the rest of 2019 with an elbow injury sustained in the 3-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on October 5, the Premier League side have moved to bring in Vorm until the end of the season.

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    Neymar is expected to be out for four weeks after the Paris Saint-Germain star suffered a hamstring injury on international duty.

    The Brazil forward was withdrawn in the 12th minute of the Selecao's 1-1 friendly draw with Nigeria on Sunday.

    PSG announced Neymar had an MRI scan on Monday that confirmed the injury, which will be re-evaluated in eight days.

    Neymar has played just five games for PSG this season owing to an ankle injury picked up in June.

    The ex-Barcelona forward did not make his first appearance until September, having attempted to force a move away from the club he joined for a world-record €222million fee in 2017.

    He was booed by the home fans on his return to the side in a 1-0 victory over Strasbourg, in which he scored a spectacular overhead kick winner.

    The 27-year-old has four goals in his five games for Thomas Tuchel's men, who have a two-point lead in Ligue 1 and have two wins from two in the Champions League.

    Speaking after the stalemate with the Super Eagles, Brazil coach Tite said Neymar was not a pre-match injury risk.

    "It would be irresponsible and incompetent of me [to play him if he was a doubt]," Tite explained.

    "I would have to receive the complaints of the coach and the president of PSG if that happened."

    Neymar posted an image on his Instagram story of him back in Paris and receiving treatment for the injury.

    The length of Neymar's absence means he is likely to miss two Champions League games with Club Brugge and Ligue 1 matches with Nice, Marseille, Dijon and Brest.

    In the same announcement, PSG said Kylian Mbappe is “positively following his recovery programme” after missing the game against Angers last time out.

    Edinson Cavani, who has been out since August with a hip issue, continues training with the squad.

    Julian Draxler (foot) and Colin Dagba (thigh) have returned to training.

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