Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Champions League preview

The European credentials of Manchester United and Chelsea will be given a thorough going over on Wednesday night.

Click here to check out the various ways you can watch the best of the Champions League on Sky Sports this season. Remember you can watch games on your PC. Online Sports
Manchester United will be looking to take another positive step towards a third consecutive UEFA Champions League final when they welcome Wolfsburg to Old Trafford.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side successfully negotiated a tricky trip to Turkey in their opening Group B encounter, with a solitary effort from Paul Scholes enough to see off Besiktas. Sports News
Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg were also victorious on Matchday 1, with Brazilian hit-man Grafite stealing the headlines as he bagged a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over CSKA Moscow.
The German outfit have recovered well in their last two league outings after suffering a recent wobble, which leaves them slightly off the pace in the defence of their title, but United will enter the game as firm favourites after moving to the top of the Premier League table on Saturday courtesy of a seventh straight success in all competitions.
Elsewhere in Group B, CSKA Moscow and Besiktas will get Wednesday's action up and running with an early kick-off on a plastic pitch in Russia.
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti will be hoping his side bounce back from a shock defeat at Wigan, which saw United knock them off top spot in the domestic rankings, when they head to Apoel Nicosia.
The Blues saw their unbeaten start to the season come to an abrupt end at the DW Stadium, as they went down 3-1 to the Latics, and they would have been hoping for an easier ask than a trip to the Cypriot capital in midweek.
Chelsea did overcome Porto 1-0 in their Group D opener, with Nicolas Anelka saving the day at Stamford Bridge, but they were far from impressive against the Portuguese champions.
In contrast, Apoel looked to be in fine fettle as they marked their debut outing at this stage of the competition with a commendable 0-0 draw away at Atletico Madrid.
The Spanish giants have endured a difficult start to the 2009/10 campaign, with pressure already mounting on boss Abel Resino, and they will be desperate to take a positive result from their meeting with Porto at Estadio do Dragao.
The heavyweight contest of the evening will take place in Germany as Bayern Munich prepare to play host to Juventus.
Bayern continue to struggle for consistency, but they are unbeaten at the Allianz Arena this term and will have taken heart from a 3-0 victory at Maccabi Haifa in their first Champions League outing.
Standing in their way, though, will be a Juve side yet to taste defeat in Serie A this season.
The Bianconeri were held 1-1 by Bordeaux a fortnight ago and they will want to get a first win on the board in a fiercely competitive group.
Bordeaux put in a brave showing in Turin that night, and lead the way once again in Ligue 1, and Laurent Blanc's side will fancy their chances of taking maximum points from a home date with Israeli outfit Maccabi Haifa.
While Group A remains difficult to call, Group C also boasts three sides harbouring ambitions of progressing to the latter stages of the competition.
AC Milan have taken the crown on seven previous occasions and will expect to be challenging once again in 2010.
A lacklustre start to their Serie A campaign does not bode well, with Leonardo's side currently wallowing in mid-table, but they displayed admirable battling qualities to snatch a 2-1 victory at Marseille in their Champions League opener and will be looking for more of the same against FC Zurich.
Marseille were disappointed to have taken nothing from their clash with Milan and the fixture list does not get any easier for the French giants.
They travel to Real Madrid on Wednesday to take on the 'Galacticos', who have already begun to shine this season.
Cristiano Ronaldo and co eased past Zurich on Matchday 1, while they have also made a 100 per cent start to their Primera Liga campaign - scoring 16 goals in five matches.


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