Ronaldo, Messi, Greenwood, Ziyech... plenty on the line
With help from Opta, take in a preview of Wednesday's Champions League games that sees Juventus, Barcelona and Manchester United in action.
Matchday three of the Champions League is upon us as teams reach the halfway point of the 2020-21 group stage, and Wednesday's action sees plenty of the heavyweights hoping to take advantage of theoretically weaker opposition.
Juventus were beaten by Barcelona last time out in the competition, but this time Andrea Pirlo will be able to rely on the services of Cristiano Ronaldo, who will no doubt be licking his lips at the prospect of facing leaky Ferencvaros.
Similarly, Barca will be strong favourites as they face Dynamo Kiev, while Manchester United go to Istanbul Basaksehir and Chelsea host Rennes.
However, Paris Saint-Germain could find themselves in a particularly tricky situation if they lose at an RB Leipzig smarting from their crushing by United.
Here is some of the key data from Wednesday's matchday three match-ups.
Barcelona v Dynamo Kiev: Messi and Griezmann poles apart
Although Barcelona are perhaps no longer the force we expect them to be, there is no doubt they will be firm favourites here, with the Catalans unbeaten in their previous 22 group games, while they could win five first-phase matches in a row for the first time since October 2017.
Lionel Messi's form early on this season has led to some criticism, but few have the pedigree he has and he boasts 20 goals in his previous 24 Champions League appearances.
Contrast that with the much-maligned Antoine Griezmann, however. The Frenchman has just two goals in 10 Champions League games for Barca, one every 373 minutes – he netted once every 190 minutes on average for Atletico Madrid.
Ferencvaros v Juventus: Ronaldo licking his lips
Juve were without talismanic forward Ronaldo in their previous two group games against Dynamo and Barca, the latter of whom beat the Old Lady – therefore he will be hoping to make up for lost time against Ferencvaros, whose seven goals conceded is the worst in the competition.
In that game against Barca, Juve failed to muster a single shot on target – aside from the three goals Alvaro Morata had chalked off for offside.
A defeat for Juve in Hungary would be a huge shock, but if it does happen, it will be the first time the Bianconeri have lost successive group games since October 2014. Coach Pirlo played in the second loss back then.
Istanbul Basaksehir v Manchester United: Red Devils on course as Greenwood eyes history
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was asked in his pre-match news conference if United felt more confident travelling to Istanbul knowing they would not be facing a vociferous crowd – after all, the Red Devils have lost on each of their previous two trips to Turkey.
United have struggled domestically of late, losing most recently to Arsenal on Sunday, but Champions League wins over RB Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain have them in fine shape in Europe – no team has ever failed to qualify after winning their first two group games, an omen they should not ignore here.
Marcus Rashford was the hero against Leipzig, but Mason Greenwood also netted to level his team-mate as the most prolific English teenager in UEFA competition with six goals. The 19-year-old will set a new record with another in Istanbul.
RB Leipzig v Paris Saint-Germain: Germans desperate to bounce back
Leipzig's 5-0 annihilation by United last time was their worst ever European defeat and the heaviest suffered by a German team since 2014 – Wednesday's match gives them the chance to bounce back against the team that beat them in the semi-finals last season.
PSG, of course, have plenty of attacking talents for Leipzig to contend with, though arguably chief among them, Kylian Mbappé - who has been directly involved in 22 away goals in the competition (14 goals, eight assists) - is out injured.
But the omens are not all great for PSG. There has only been one previous instance in the Champions League where a German coach has won away to a side managed by another German tactician.
Chelsea v Rennes
15 - Chelsea have only suffered one defeat in their previous 15 home games in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League (0-1 v Valencia last season), winning nine and drawing the other five games in this run.
3 - Hakim Ziyech scored his first goal for Chelsea in the Champions League on MD2, while he could become just the third player to score on his first two starts for the club in the competition after Didier Drogba in 2004 and Daniel Sturridge in 2010.
Sevilla v Krasnodar
13 - Including qualifiers, Sevilla are unbeaten in their previous 13 home games across all European competitions (W11 D2), with their last such defeat coming in April 2018 against Bayern Munich (1-2 in a Champions League quarter-final).
1 - Only one Russian side has ever won away at Sevilla in European competition, with CSKA Moscow prevailing 2-1 in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League in 2009-10.
Zenit v Lazio
4 - Zenit are hoping to avoid losing four consecutive games in the European Cup/Champions League for the first time in their history.
1 - Lazio will be aiming for their first away win in the Champions League since September 2003 (2-0 v Besiktas), having failed to win on any of their previous six trips in the competition (D2 L4).
Club Brugge v Borussia Dortmund
12 - Only Robert Lewandowski (15) has scored more Champions League goals than Dortmund's Erling Haaland (12) since the start of last season, with the Norwegian striker converting 12 of his 17 shots on target in the competition so far.
1 - Brugge goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has only ended on the winning side in one of his 13 appearances in the Champions League, drawing six and losing six of his 12 games since winning on his debut in the competition for Liverpool in September 2014 (2-1 v Ludogorets).
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