UEFA Champions League: Real Madrid, Manchester City seek third wins in European football
Real Madrid and Manchester City have two wins from two matches played in the Champions League and are primed to qualify for last-16.
A look at what’s happening in the Champions League on Wednesday:
Chelsea are one of the top teams in early trouble in the group stage heading into a double-header against AC Milan, with the first match taking place at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have just one point from their first two games and have a recently hired manager, Graham Potter, who is still working out his best team and best formation just two matches into his tenure. In the 1-1 draw with Salzburg in the second round of group games, Potter went with a 3-5-2 but reverted to a 4-3-3 for the win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.
He has some tough choices in defense, with Kalidou Koulibaly — one of Chelsea’s many expensive offseason signings — yet to play a minute under Potter and the likes of forwards Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech pushing for starts. Marc Cucurella could return from illness.
Milan lead after collecting four points from games against Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb, who meet in Austria in the other game.
Real Madrid can take full control of the group with a home win against Shakhtar Donetsk, which would give the defending champions a five-point lead after only three matches.
Madrid got off to a perfect start to the season in all competitions but were held 1-1 at home against Osasuna in the Spanish league on Sunday for their first setback.
Leipzig host Celtic for a clash between the two bottom teams in Group F. Leipzig are bottom after losing both of their games so far, but new coach Marco Rose has restored some confidence and overseen a marked improvement since taking over. Leipzig warmed up for Celtic with a 4-0 win over Bochum at the weekend.
Manchester City can move to the brink of qualification for the last-16 with a home win over FC Copenhagen and might not need Erling Haaland to do so. The Norway striker, who has taken the Premier League by storm with 15 goals in eight games, played the entire match in the 6-3 win over Manchester United on Sunday while a number of key players were brought off midway through the second half.
Haaland may be kept fresh for bigger matches ahead, while City manager Pep Guardiola has injury concerns over right back Kyle Walker and holding midfielder Rodri.
City have already beaten Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund in the group stage and would advance with back-to-back wins over Copenhagen.
Dortmund are in second place on three points and travel to Sevilla in the other match.
With Presnel Kimpembe out injured for several weeks, Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier doesn’t have many options at center back for the trip to Benfica for a match between two teams on a maximum six points. After missing out on signing Milan Skriniar this summer, PSG have to deal with makeshift solutions until the next transfer window opens, with midfielder Danilo Pereira or right back Nordi Mukiele available to play alongside Sergio Ramos and Marquinhos.
In contrast, Juventus have zero points after losing their opening two Champions League matches for the first time. Massimiliano Allegri’s side travel to Maccabi Haifa, who are also pointless.
Juventus are also struggling in Serie A but appear reinvigorated after the international break and beat Bologna 3-0 this past weekend.
Pele was hospitalised on Tuesday for respiratory infection amid ongoing treatments for colon cancer, a condition first diagnosed in September 2021.
Pele is currently admitted at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo since Tuesday
Brazil football legend Pele was hospitalised this week amid ongoing cancer treatments.