Matchday four in the group stage of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League is headlined by the return matches between Juventus and Manchester United, Internazionale and Barcelona, as well as Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.
The latter clash between the La Liga giants and Bundesliga title hopefuls could well be the game of the round. BVB handed Atletico their heaviest defeat (0-4) under manager Diego Simeone when the teams met at the Westfalenstadion, with the German side underlining their status as one of the most exciting attacking teams in European football this season.
Yet Simeone and Atletico are masters at working out a team’s strengths and strangling the life out of them with clever tactics. A repeat win for Dortmund – especially one of such comfort – would be very unlikely against the host team, which may well deploy Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey in a destroyer role.
Lionel Messi will continue to be absent for Barcelona when they head to Internazionale, but the ‘Blaugrana’ have coped very well without him thus far. They defeated the Italians giants 2-0 when the teams met at Camp Nou on matchday three, and notably hammered Champions League title holders Real Madrid 5-1 in ‘El Clasico’ this past weekend.
Inter will be a much tougher nut to crack at the San Siro, with manager Luciano Spalletti gradually moulding his side into strong competitors at both domestic and European level. If they can feed former Barca striker Mauro Icardi with the right service (and perhaps use the speed and power of Senegal’s Keita Balde off the bench), then the Italians will have a decent shout at a revenge victory.
Another Italian side to watch is Serie A leaders Juventus, who will welcome Manchester United to the Allianz Stadium in Turin for their return match. The ‘Bianconeri’ claimed a 1-0 win at Old Trafford on matchday three, but the score line did not reflect their dominance of the game.
The showdown will once again see both Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba facing up to their former teams, and it will be interesting to see the reception the French midfielder receives at Juve following his big-money move from the club two years ago. The Red Devils will need Pogba to be in top form if they are to have any chance of an upset win in Italy.
Other key matches to keep an eye out for include the return between Kalidou Koulibaly’s Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain (the teams played out a thrilling 2-2 draw in the French capital), Hakim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui will look to guide Ajax to another victory over Benfica, Riyad Mahrez will hope to continue his fine form for Manchester City when they host Shakhtar Donetsk, and caretaker coach Santiago Solari will look for a win in his first Champions League match in charge of Real Madrid when they head to the Czech Republic to face Viktoria Plzen.
Key match stats
Juventus v Manchester United – Head-to-Head
Matches played 13
Juventus wins 6
Man United wins 5
Internazionale v Barcelona – Head-to-Head
Matches played 7
Internazionale wins 1
Barcelona wins 4
Atletico Madrid v Borussia Dortmund – Head-to-Head
Matches played 5
Atletico wins 1
Dortmund wins 3
UEFA Champions League fixtures, 6-7 November
Tuesday 6 November
19:55: Monaco v Club Brugge – LIVE on SS6 & Max1
19:55: Red Star v Liverpool – LIVE on SS5
22:00: Atletico Madrid v Borussia Dortmund – LIVE on SS2
22:00: Tottenham Hotspur v PSV – LIVE on SS6
22:00: Internazionale v Barcelona – LIVE on SS5
22:00: Napoli v PSG – LIVE on SS8, Max1
Wednesday 7 November
19:55: CSKA Moscow v Roma – LIVE on SS5 & Max1
19:55: Valencia v Young Boys – LIVE on SS6
22:00: Bayern Munich v AEK Athens – LIVE on SS2
22:00: Benfica v Ajax – LIVE on Max1
22:00: Olympique Lyon v Hoffenheim
22:00: Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk – LIVE on SS6
22:00: Viktoria Plzen v Real Madrid – LIVE on SS8, Max2
22:00: Juventus v Manchester United – LIVE on SS5