TNT Sports Reload - Episode 13Oct 10
The next two matches are likely to make or break a team’s Champions League campaign, as clubs face each other home and away.
Matchday 3 kicks off with the first of the fixtures on Tuesday, which sees one of the biggest games of the group stages – Liverpool vs Rangers.
Plus, Spurs travel to Germany to face Frankfurt off the back of defeat in Portugal.
Elsewhere in Europe there’s more massive matchups as Ajax play Napoli, Inter travel to Barcelona and Marseille meet Sporting CP.
Tuesday 4 October
Liverpool vs Rangers – 6.30pm (8pm kick-off) live on BT Sport 2
Liverpool’s last-minute winner against Ajax in their last Champions League match has certainly made things look a lot rosier for Klopp and his men.
The Reds now know that a couple of wins in their next two fixtures against Rangers should leave them well placed to top the group.
On paper they certainly have the players to get the job done, but Rangers will be hoping the excitement and emotion around the fixture will play into their hands.
Expect an electrifying Anfield for this one. Liverpool go into the game with injuries to Scotsman and Celtic fan Andy Robertson, as well as Naby Keita. But they have more than enough cover and quality within their ranks to cope.
Roberto Firmino is a case in point, coming into the team and making an impact. He scored twice at the weekend as Liverpool drew 3-3 with Brighton at home.
Rangers really need to take something from this fixture to be in with a chance of qualifying or even finishing third after two defeats from two so far.
The Gers currently sit bottom of Group A, but have won their last two domestic fixtures to stay in touch with Celtic at the top of the table.
Defender James Sands will miss the match after being sent off in Rangers’ 3-0 defeat to Napoli on Matchday 2.
We’ll wait and see whether Giovanni van Bronckhorst opts for Morelos or Colak up front. Both played and scored in the weekend win over Hearts, with Colak starting and Morelos coming on shortly after the hour.
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Spurs – 7.15pm (8pm kick-off) live on BT Sport 3
These two clubs currently share three points in Group D having both won one and lost one, so these next two fixtures could be vitally important.
The first game kicks off in Germany, with Frankfurt buoyant off the back of an away victory in Marseille. Spurs on the other hand, suffered late defeat to Sporting Lisbon in Portugal.
Domestically, Frankfurt have improved after their win in France, with two victories on the bounce, including their weekend win over top of the table Union Berlin.
Spurs go into the game off the back of a disappointing defeat in the North London derby. Antonio Conte made four subs after the sending off of Emerson Royal, admitting that the game was over at that point. There could be a starting spot for Matt Doherty of Djed Spence, or Conte might continue with Royal seeing as he'll be suspended for three Premier League matches now.
It will be interesting to see whether Conte sticks to his preferred 3-4-3 formation or opts for a 3-5-2 setup.
Ajax vs Napoli – 7.45pm (8pm kick-off) live on BT Sport 5
The Dutch champions were denied a point at Anfield last time around when the Reds struck late. Now Ajax will need to claw something back against Napoli in their back-to-back fixtures to remain in the hunt for Champions League qualification.
Ex-Spurs man Steven Bergwijn has hit the ground running on his return to Ajax and he’ll be hoping that he can outpace the Italian’s defence and help Ajax pick up three points.
In the Eredivisie Ajax are currently second in the table with 19 points. They could've gone top at the weekend but could only manage a 1-1 draw against GA Eagles.
They may have been ordered by the courts to change their shirts so not to display an image of the late, great Napoli hero Diego Maradona, but everything else seems to be going right for Neapolitans right now.
Luciano Spalletti’s men currently sit top of Group A with two impressive wins against Liverpool and Rangers. They’re doing well domestically too, sitting at the top of Serie A after their 3-1 victory over Torino at the weekend.
In their last Champions League match, against Rangers, Tottenham loanee Tanguy Ndombele even got on the scoresheet after being subbed on in the final minutes.
Club Brugge vs Atletico Madrid – 7.45pm (8pm kick-off) live on BT Sport 6
Club Brugge have been the surprise package of the Champions League so far, topping Group B with two wins from two games, including a thumping 4-0 victory over Porto.
It’s even more surprising, because domestically Club Brugge are faltering, sitting third in the league eight points behind Royal Antwerp.
However, the Belgians are likely to face their toughest test in their next pair of fixtures against Atletico Madrid.
Atleti lost to Leverkusen last time out and are stuttering in La Liga, recently losing to bitter rivals Real Madrid at home. They did however record a 2-0 away win at Sevilla at the weekend.
With Joao Felix, Morata, Carrasco and Lemar available, Atletico will always pose a threat. Plus, expect Antoine Griezmann to make an appearance from the 60th minute onwards – the Frenchman is scoring goals for the club despite having his minutes severely limited.
Griezmann is currently on loan at the club from Barcelona, and will command a €40m transfer fee to the Catalans if he plays more than 45 minutes in 50% of the matches. Griezmann scored a dramatic late winner against Porto on Matchday 1 to secure all three points.
Porto vs Leverkusen – 7.45pm (8pm kick-off) live on BT Sport 7
Porto are in desperate need of a win after suffering heartbreak against Atletico Madrid, when Antoine Griezmann struck 11 minutes into injury time, and humiliation against Club Brugge, who secured a famous 4-0 win on Matchday 2.
Porto coach Sergio Conceicao complained that his team wasn’t aggressive enough, which is remarkable when they boast notorious hard man Pepe at the heart of their defence. The defeat led to the coach’s car coming under attack outside the Estadio do Drago after the game.
Porto are chasing down Benfica at the top of the Portuguese league and secured a dramatic late point against Estoril in their first domestic tie after their Champions League hammering.
For Leverkusen the story is reversed. They’re currently languishing near the bottom of the Bundesliga after a 4-0 defeat to Bayern Munich, but are sitting in second in Group B of the Champions League with one win and one defeat going into their back-to-back fixtures against Porto.
The German side’s 2-0 victory over Atletico on Matchday 1 was seen as a surprise by many, but has left them in good shape going into their matches against Porto, despite a 1-0 defeat to surprise package FC Brugge.
Chelsea loanee Callum Hudson-Odoi has looked a real threat on the ball and could be the key to Leverkusen breaking down Porto’s defence on the break away from home.
Bayern Munich vs Viktoria Plzen – 5.30pm (5.45pm kick-off) live on BT Sport 4
Despite a few hiccups in their domestic league, Bayern look the real deal in the Champion League.
The German champions currently sit top of Group C with wins over two of their toughest opponents, Barcelona and Inter Milan.
Those results leave them in a great position going into their back-to-back fixtures against Czech champions Viktoria Plzen.
Bayern have to be considered as one of the favourites to lift the trophy, with the like of Sane, Mane, Gnabry and Coman providing a pacy attack for defences to deal with.
At the other end of the pitch Hernandez, de Ligt and Upamecano look commanding. However Coman and Hernandez look likely to miss the match through injury. Two more wins could see Bayern through with tough games to spare.
Viktoria Plzen knew what they were stepping into when the Group C draw was made. It was never going to be easy for Plzen to overcome three European giants in Inter, Barca and Bayern.
Their two games against Bayern could put an end to any further European football this season after a 5-1 defeat to Barcelona and a 2-0 loss to Inter in their last match.
Inter Milan vs Barcelona – 7.45pm (8pm kick-off) live on BT Sport 4
Bayern Munich go into Matchday 3 with maximum points already and two upcoming fixtures against Group C outsiders Viktoria Plzen. The next two fixtures between Inter and Barca are likely to be decisive.
Inter come into the game off the back of a 2-0 win over Viktoria Plzen, while Barca suffered a 2-0 defeat to Bayern. Both clubs face injury problems, with the Italians having doubts over the fitness of Romelu Lukaku, Hakan Calhanoglu and Marcelo Brozovic.
The Catalans have doubts over the fitness of Jules Kounde, Frenkie de Jong, Memphis Depay and Hector Bellerin.
Inter are currently faltering in Serie A, losing 2-1 to Roma at the weekend, but with Nicolo Barella banging in beauties, plus Dzeko and Correa up front they always pose a threat.
Barcelona shot to the top of La Liga after their 1-0 win over Mallorca at the weekend and Real Madrid's 1-1 draw against Osasuna. Barca can always rely on Champions League legend Robert Lewandowski to get them goals, as he did at the weekend. The Polish striker currently has just Messi and Ronaldo ahead of him in the all-time Champions League goalscoring chart.
Marseille vs Sporting CP – 5.30pm (5.45pm kick-off) live on BT Sport 1
Marseille are desperate for a win in Group D of the Champions League after losing their first two matches. They now face table-topping Sporting CP, who secured a late win against Spurs on Matchday 2.
Despite a bright start against Spurs on Matchday 1, which ultimately led to a 2-0 defeat, the French side are yet to score in the competition.
Even with the likes of Dimitri Payet, Gerson and Alexis Sanchez among their ranks, Marseille have been unable to find a breakthrough.
In defence, they’ll welcome back Chancel Mbemba after his professional foul on Son which he received a red card for against Spurs.
In Ligue 1 Marseille are doing well, currently sitting in second place and not too far behind PSG. They’ll need to find similar form in the Champions League, and fast, or they’ll on their way out of Europe.
In a reverse of fortunes Sporting CP have been struggling in their domestic league, but are doing really well in the Champions League.
Their side is full of pace on the counter attack and they’re yet to concede a goal.
Forwards Machado Trincao, Pereira Goncalves and Marcus Edwards are proving a real handful, and as they showed against Spurs they have players off the bench who can make a difference. Both Dias Fernandes and Gomes Lourenco scored after coming on in their last match.
Ex-Spurs man Marcus Edwards has been getting a lot of the plaudits. During his time in North London Mauricio Pochettino likened him to Messi, and now we’re starting to see why.
He almost scored an unbelievable goal against his former side at Estadio Jose Alvalade, but was denied by a good save from Hugo Lloris.
If Sporting can take all three points from this fixture they’ll be confident of coming through this tough group.