European football is back with a bang on BT Sport! Here's what to expect from the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League on Matchday 1

European club competitions get back underway on BT Sport, with a feast of football coming your way this week.

By George Mills Published: 10 September 2021 - 5.00pm

The long wait is finally over and another mouth-watering campaign of European football kicks off in earnest this week!

BT Sport will bring you exclusive coverage of the Champions League, Europa League and, for the first time ever, the Europa Conference League.

Nine British sides will be in action of the course of three consecutive nights - beginning on Tuesday 14 September - including reigning champions Chelsea, last year’s beaten finalists Manchester City and six-time winners Liverpool.

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After a summer of blockbuster transfers across Europe, there are no shortage of fascinating storylines to sink your teeth into too.

From Cristiano Ronaldo’s first appearance for Manchester United in the competition since the 2009 final, to Lionel Messi’s tournament debut in the royal blue of Paris-Saint Germain.

To whet your appetite ahead of a thrilling week of games on BT Sport, here are the games to look out for on your screens during Matchday 1.

Tuesday 14 September

You’d be hard-pressed to pick a better reason to tune in to the Champions League on Tuesday night than to catch Ronaldo’s European return for Manchester United.

On his first televised appearance for the Red Devils, the talismanic striker will be desperate to fire his side to three vital points to kick off the group stage in style against Swiss side Young Boys.

Ronaldo, 36, joined World Cup-winning centre back Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho among a trio of high-profile recruits for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this summer, as United enjoyed a productive transfer window.

Now blessed with arguably one of the deepest squads in the tournament, will they go all the way and secure the trophy for the first time since 2008?

Once the action is all over at the Wankdorf Stadium, we’ll head straight over to Stamford Bridge where reigning champions Chelsea begin their defence of the coveted trophy against Zenit St Petersburg.

Thomas Tuchel bolstered an already impressive squad with the additions of Romelu Lukaku and Saul during the window, both of whom bring a wealth of European experience to the table after spells at Inter and Atletico Madrid respectively.

They’ll be confident of getting off to a flyer against the visiting Russian champions who have struggled in the tournament in recent seasons, going out in the group stages for two years on the bounce.

If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, how about a barnstormer from the Nou Camp as Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona attempt to find their feet in the post-Messi era against 2019 champions Bayern Munich.

Rocked by the departure of the Argentine genius, Barca also saw Antoine Greizmann and Miralem Pjanic leave during a summer of much upheaval.

However, a new-look side featuring the likes of Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Luuk de Jong will fancy their chances of springing a shock having been liberated by the burden of expectation this year.

Bayern are also in the midst of a transitional year under new coach Julian Nagelsmann after his arrival from Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig.

The Bavarian giants managed to keep hold of prolific striker Robert Lewandowski, despite a summer of rumours suggesting the Pole fancied a move elsewhere, and the 33-year-old’s goals will be crucial if Bayern look to mount a serious charge to the latter stages once more.

Wednesday 15 September

It’s a tough act to follow Tuesday’s quality slate of curtain-raisers, but Wednesday night should provide more than enough intrigue to keep you glued to your TV screens once again.

With the best of the games all kicking off at 8pm, you’ll need to fire up your BT Sport app for some second screen viewing to stay across all games as Liverpool vs AC Milan, Man City vs RB Leipzig and Inter vs Real Madrid all get underway at the same time.

Liverpool fans won’t need a second invitation to revisit their shared footballing history with AC Milan, having played out one of the greatest European finals of all time against the Italian giants to lift the trophy in 2005.

But while that famous night in Istanbul will be front and centre at the mind of many among the Anfield faithful, Jurgen Klopp knows his side face an entirely different proposition as Stefano Pioli’s rejuvenated Rossoneri come to Merseyside.

It’s been seven years since the club last competed in the Champions League but after an impressive second-placed finish in Serie A last season, Milan will take up their rightful place among the European elite once more.

There aren’t many more difficult places to go than a midweek assignment at Anfield – but if they avoid defeat, Milan could prove themselves to be one of the dark horses to go deep in this year’s tournament.

Not far down the M62, Manchester City begin their own Champions League campaign against RB Leipzig as Pep Guardiola aims to put last year’s agonising defeat in the final behind him and mount a charge once more for the elusive trophy.

The record-breaking acquisition of England superstar Jack Grealish proved to be the only bit of incoming business this summer, despite rumours linking the likes of Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo to sensational moves to the Etihad.

However, in Grealish, City fans have already discovered they’ve got something special on their hands with the entertaining playmaker already proving a hit in the blue half of Manchester.

They’ll be favourites to cruise through the group stages, as has become customary under Guardiola’s stewardship, beginning with a home win over a Leipzig side recently weakened by the loss of manager Julian Nagelsmann and club captain Marcel Sabitzer to Bayern Munich.

But if neither of those ties tickle your pickle, then look no further than Inter vs Real Madrid at the San Siro on Wednesday night.

Drawn in the same Champions League group for the second successive season, the two sides played out a thrilling rivalry at the same stage of the tournament last year.

Beaten twice by the Spaniards, Inter will be keen to make use of home advantage and exact revenge this time around.

New managers will be in both dugouts this year, with Simone Inzaghi and Carlo Ancelotti replacing Inter’s Antonio Conte and Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane respectively.

Thursday 16 September

Bringing the midweek football fiesta to a buzzing conclusion on Thursday, we’ve got Leicester, West Ham, Rangers and Celtic in Europa League – as well as Tottenham’s debut in the inaugural Europa Conference League.

The early kick offs on Thursday bring you two belters to look forward to, beginning with West Ham’s debut in the Europa League group stage against Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb.

David Moyes’ Hammers side have made a flying start to the season powered by the continued emergence of Michail Antonio and he'll be desperate to keep up his good run of form to help fire the Londoners into to the latter stages of the tournament.

Football fans north of the border may have more of an interest in Celtic’s trip to Real Betis, kicking off at the same time, as Ange Postecoglou takes the Bhoys to Spain in what will be a real examination of his temperament on the big stage.

Celtic endured a miserable time in the tournament last year, exiting limply at the group stage in what proved to be the beginning of the end for ex-boss Neil Lennon.

Fans travelling from Glasgow will demand a much-improved showing from their side on the continent but Betis – who signed Arsenal wing back Hector Bellerin on loan this summer – are a talented bunch with ambitions of their own.

Later on that night, Glasgow rivals Rangers will be in action in their own Europa League opener as French giants Lyon travel to Scotland in what should prove to be a belter at Ibrox.

Fresh from securing a long-awaited Premiership crown last season, Steven Gerrard knows he can count on a fevered atmosphere inside the famous stadium as the Gers look to emulate their run to the Round of 16 last time out.

Arguably the pick of the ties on Thursday night also gets underway at 8pm - again you might want to get the BT Sport app on the go - as Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester face a thorough examination of their credentials as potential winners against Napoli.

It promises to be a typically spicy trip to the south Italian coast but it is a stage Rodgers and his Foxes have proven themselves worthy of with their performances in the Premier League over the past few years.

Having made several decent signings over the summer to bolster their squad depth, Leicester could be among the favourites to make a real run at the Europa League title this season.

And lastly, rounding off the evening of football on BT Sport, Tottenham enter the group stage of the first ever Europa Conference League with a potentially tricky clash away to French upstarts Rennes.

The home side have been weakened by the loss of midfield wonderkid Eduardo Camavinga after he joined Real Madrid over the summer, but in Jeremy Doku, Lovro Majer and Kamaldeen Sulemana, Rennes boss Bruno Genesio has some serious young talent on his hands in the north of France.

Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo knows how to deal with the strain of Thursday night European football having steered Wolves through to the quarter-finals of the Europa League two seasons ago.

With a more talented side at his disposal, Spurs should be heavy favourites this year and the Portuguese coach will be confident of making a deep run through to the latter stage of the Europa Conference League.

Click here for full times and broadcast details of every Matchday 1 fixture from all three competitions.