Champions League matchday: Desperate Real Madrid face Inter Milan; Atalanta host Liverpool
Last-placed Real Madrid are approaching the match against Inter Milan as a final after starting their campaign with a home loss to Shakhtar and an away draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach
A look at what’s happening in the Champions League on Tuesday:
European champions Bayern Munich are cruising towards a spot in the knockout stages after beating Atlético Madrid and Lokomotiv Moscow, and next up is Salzburg.
The Austrian club have one point from two games. However, there are reasons for Bayern to be concerned. Bayern looked fatigued in their 2-1 wins over Lokomotiv and Cologne last week and squad issues are once again in focus after club president Herbert Hainer said a new contract for David Alaba is off the table after talks broke down.
Salzburg won plaudits for their combative approach against another European champion, Liverpool, last season in a 4-3 loss and coach Jesse Marsch wants another brave showing. “Aggressive is always better than passive,” he said on Monday. Atlético head to Russia to face Lokomotiv in the other game.
Last-placed Real Madrid are approaching the match against Inter Milan as a final after starting their campaign with a home loss to Shakhtar and an away draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Another setback could jeopardize Madrid’s chances of advancing and lead to their first group-stage elimination in three decades.
The teams which caused problems for Madrid meet as Shakhtar Donetsk host Borussia Mönchengladbach in Ukraine. Gladbach tried to emulate Shakhtar with a surprise win over Madrid last week but had to settle for 2-2 after Madrid's Casemiro scored in stoppage time.
Marseille's return to the Champions League is turning into a bitter experience. Back in the elite tournament for the first time in almost seven years, the 1993 European champion travel to Porto looking to avoid a third consecutive loss. Undone by a flurry of individual errors, Andre Villas-Boas' side was overrun by Manchester City at the Velodrome in a 3-0 loss during their previous outing.
The Marseille coach has been given a few extra days to fix the problems and get his players ready for Porto after a coronavirus outbreak forced the postponement of their French league game. City gp for a third straight win when Olympiakos visit Etihad Stadium, with the English team still likely to be without their two strikers — Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus. Jesus is back in light training, however.
Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini is looking for a result from one of their two matches against Liverpool to stand it in good stead for its final group match showdown against Ajax. Liverpool top Group D with six points, two more than Atalanta and five more than Ajax. Midtjylland is bottom with zero points. Gasperini expects Liverpool to finish top of the group and for Atalanta to battle with Ajax — a surprise semifinalist two seasons ago — for the second qualifying spot.
After the doubleheader against Liverpool, Atalanta host Midtjylland before traveling to Ajax for their potentially decisive final group match. Ajax has travelled to Denmark with just 17 players to face Midtjylland, including Kjell Scherpen as the only goalkeeper. Scherpen has not played a first-team game for Ajax since joining the club last year.
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European champions Bayern Munich and Qatari side Al-Duhail, who qualify through being hosts, are the only teams yet confirmed for the competition with other continental tournaments around the world delayed by the coronavirus.
Inter played with the ferocity coach Antonio Conte had been demanding and Sassuolo barely had a sight of goal apart from a curled effort from Filip Đuričić that hit the outside of the right post.
Inter Milan are bottom of Group B after losing 3-2 in Spain, despite coming from two goals down to equalise before Real snatched victory.