PARIS (AFP) – Manchester City will look to bounce back from an opening defeat at Bayern Munich when they host Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday, as Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea go to Lisbon.
AFP Sports looks at all the fixtures in Groups E, F, G and H on Tuesday:
CSKA MOSCOW vs BAYERN MUNICH
Bayern beat CSKA home and away in the group stage of last season’s Champions League and the Russian champions’ hopes of getting a result this time will not be helped by the fact the match will be played behind closed doors at the Arena Khimki.
CSKA, who trail leaders Zenit by four points at the top of the Russian Premier League, are being punished by UEFA for the bad behaviour of their fans during a group stage match last season.
The visitors have considerable selection problems just now, with Franck Ribery, Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcantara among those on the sidelines and Jerome Boateng doubtful, but they are yet to lose this season and have not even conceded a goal in their last five outings. Bayern beat Manchester City 1-0 on matchday one while CSKA were thumped 5-1 by Roma in Italy.
MANCHESTER CITY vs ROMA
After conceding late to go down 1-0 to Bayern in their group opener, the visit of Roma is already a must-win game for Manuel Pellegrini’s English champions.
Manchester City have scored 11 goals in winning their last two matches, but a meeting with a Roma side who have won all five Serie A games so far and thumped CSKA Moscow 5-1 two weeks ago promises to be a stiff test.
City have not beaten Italian opponents since a 3-0 victory over AC Milan in the UEFA Cup in 1978-79, and Roma coach Rudi Garcia said: “All the pressure is on them. They need to get a result at their home ground.”
Roma, who famously lost 7-1 across Manchester against United in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2007, have been without Daniele De Rossi for their last two games. Samir Nasri is on the sidelines for City with a groin problem.
APOEL vs AJAX
Cypriot champions APOEL earned plenty of plaudits for their performance in losing 1-0 to Barcelona at the Camp Nou in their Group F opener, but if they are to stand any prospect of progressing they will need to beat Ajax in Nicosia.
Ajax held Paris Saint-Germain to a 1-1 draw last time out and Frank de Boer’s side head to the Mediterranean island fresh from a 5-2 victory at NAC Breda at the weekend, a game in which Kolbeinn Sigthórsson scored a hat-trick.
The four-time European champions have performed poorly away from home in the competition recently but surely only a win would keep them in with a chance of finishing any higher than third in the section.
PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN vs BARCELONA
The Parc des Princes will be the scene for the heavyweight showdown of the French champions and Luis Enrique’s Barcelona. The clubs clashed in the quarter-finals 18 months ago, when Paris held their more illustrious opponents in both legs but lost on away goals.
PSG are desperate to win the most prestigious trophy in European football, but they have had a cumbersome start to the season and have drawn four of their last five matches.
“We are aware that last season we dominated the league and this year, with the same team and the same coach, we are not winning matches so easily,” says coach Laurent Blanc, a former team-mate of Luis Enrique at the Camp Nou.
In contrast, Barcelona have enjoyed an excellent start to the campaign and are still to concede a goal never mind lose a game. With Lionel Messi and Neymar in fine form, and Gerard Pique back in the squad, they look like marginal favourites against a PSG side missing Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi and with a doubt over Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
SCHALKE 04 vs MARIBOR
Schalke drew at Chelsea on match-day one, and should fancy their chances of reaching the last 16 from Group G as they prepare to host Slovenian champions Maribor in Gelsenkirchen. Jens Keller’s side are also fresh from beating bitter rivals Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the Ruhr derby on Saturday, confirming their upturn in form after a slow start to the campaign.
“To win in the derby is very important for the club, and even more so as both sides haven’t been doing well recently,” said Japanese defender Atsuto Uchida, and the Royal Blues will now hope to keep their good run going against a Maribor side who needed a late goal from Luka Zahovic to draw with Sporting in their opening group game.
SPORTING vs CHELSEA
Chelsea are yet to lose this season, although while Jose Mourinho’s side have been in imperious form in the Premier League, they stuttered to a 1-1 draw against Schalke in their Group G opener.
That puts more pressure on them to win at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon, where Chelsea will hope to be able to call upon top scorer Diego Costa, who has a nagging hamstring problem.
Sporting are unbeaten this season but Marco Silva’s side have drawn four of their last five games, including a 1-1 stalemate with Porto on Friday.
They have however won their last three home games against English opponents and will relish coming up against Mourinho, who worked as an assistant to Bobby Robson at Sporting two decades ago but is better known for his spells in charge of their great rivals Benfica and Porto.
BATE BORISOV vs ATHLETIC BILBAO
Athletic will be eager to get back to winning ways when they become the first visitors to BATE’s new Borisov Arena in a Champions League group game. Sixteen years on from their last appearance at this stage of the competition, Athletic kicked off in Group H by drawing 0-0 with Shakhtar Donetsk two weeks ago.
They have had a poor start to the season in La Liga, but the Basque club’s coach Ernesto Valverde said: “This is another competition, in which we are still unbeaten, and we will go out looking for a victory as always.”
BATE may dominate in Belarus but their difficulties in adapting to this level were laid bare in a 6-0 trouncing at the hands of Porto on match-day one.
SHAKHTAR DONETSK vs FC PORTO
Shakhtar’s status as one of the emerging powers in the European game has been diminished by the bloody conflict that continues to rage around their home in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.
Their state-of-the-art Donbass Arena was last month damaged by shell fire and they are now forced to host Porto in Lviv, over 1,000 kilometres away in the west of the country.
Despite the disruption, Mircea Lucescu’s side lie second in their domestic league and drew 0-0 at Athletic Bilbao two weeks ago.
However, they will face a stern test from Porto, whose unbeaten start to the campaign includes a 6-0 win against BATE. Julen Lopetegui’s side will be without the injured Ricardo Quaresma and Casemiro for the trip east.