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An unmissable week of European football awaits: What to look out for on Matchday 3
The Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League return to BT Sport for another huge week of action.
Another huge week of European football has arrived, with several must-see matches coming your way.
From Lionel Messi’s sensational strike against Man City to Cristiano Ronaldo’s late salvo against Villarreal, we’ve already witnessed some unbelievable moments and there promises to be even more drama as Europe’s top competitions return.
We’ve rounded up all the big storylines and talking points ahead of this week’s action to whet your appetite ahead of another blockbuster week.
Tuesday 19 October
All eyes will be on the Europa League on Tuesday afternoon when Celtic host Hungarian side Ferencvaros at 3.30pm.
Due to COP26 – the UN Climate Change Conference – taking place in Glasgow in November, Celtic and Rangers are not permitted to play at home on Matchday 4.
With Rangers playing at Ibrox on Thursday, Ange Postecoglou’s men begin the European week at the unusual time due to champions League matches kicking off later in the evening.
Ferencvaros have also lost both their matches and anything other than a win will leave Celtic with a mountain to climb to qualify from a testing group.
The Belgians will go into the clash full of confidence after following up their memorable 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-German with an impressive 2-1 win over RB Leipzig in Matchday 2.
City were dealt a blow when Ferran Torres was ruled out until the end of the year, but they could welcome back Gabriel Jesus and Ederson who didn’t feature at the weekend after playing for Brazil last Friday.
The English champions will leapfrog Tuesday’s opponents with a win in what promises to be an entertaining encounter in northwest Belgium.
The 2019 winners have been in scintillating form in recent weeks, with the talismanic Mohamed Salah producing several hugely influential displays.
“He is top. We all see it. Who is better than him?” Klopp told BT Sport after another masterful performance from the Egyptian against Watford on Saturday.
Unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions – including successive wins in the Champions League this season – they are primed for another imperious season but will be wary of a talented Atletico outfit who famously dumped them out of the competition in March 2020.
Also on Tuesday, FC Sheriff’s remarkable European journey continues with a trip to Milan to take on Inter. After back-to-back wins over Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Madrid, can they spring another almighty surprise and extend their perfect record?
Paris Saint-Germain host RB Leipzig in Man City’s group and AC Milan travel to Porto in a consequential match for Liverpool.
Wednesday 20 October
The Europa League again kicks off proceedings on Wednesday when Leicester, who have endured a horror start to their European campaign, head to Moscow to take on Spartak.
The Foxes have picked up one point from their opening two matches and are bottom of Group C, but they were fully deserved 4-2 winners against Man United in the Premier League on Saturday and could be turning a corner after an indifferent start to the season.
Brendan Rodgers side were vastly superior at the weekend and will be looking to revive a stuttering European with a win at Otkrytie Arena.
United are in Champions League action later that evening when they host Italian side Atalanta in a crunch Group F clash at Old Trafford.
Fresh concerns have been raised about manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a patchy run of form continued with Saturday’s implosion at the King Power Stadium.
Only a last-gasp winner from Cristiano Ronaldo saved them on Matchday 2 after another poor performance and United face a huge week with a massive meeting against Liverpool coming up on Sunday.
In a huge week for the club, United can ill afford to rely solely on Ronaldo to conjure up old magic against a gifted and astute Atalanta outfit.
Thomas Tuchel’s side are top of the Premier League after successfully negotiating a tough start to the season but were not at their best in Europe last time out when they were beaten 1-0 by Juventus.
“I think we started not sharp enough,” the manager said after the lethargic display in Turin. “We had possession. But I think the first 12 or 15 minutes we could have harmed them much more.”
The Blues survived a second-half onslaught to beat Brentford 1-0 at the weekend and will be looking to take a huge stride towards to the knockout stage in Europe with a win over Malmo at Stamford Bridge.
The Swedes have lost their opening two matches by an aggregate score of 7-0 and should trouble Chelsea on Wednesday evening.
Young Boys also host Villarreal in Man United’s group while Chelsea supporters will be keeping one eye on Zenit’s clash with Juventus.
Thursday 21 October
The Europa League and Europa Conference League take centre stage on Thursday with three British clubs in action.
Tottenham are first up with a Conference League clash against Dutch side Vitesse in what has all the ingredients of an entertaining encounter.
Spurs are on four points in Group G after backing up an unconvincing performance against Rennes with a resounding victory over Slovenian side Mura, courtesy of a 20-minute hat-trick from Harry Kane.
They returned from the international break with a 3-2 win against Newcastle at a frenzied St James’ Park but need to be wary of a talented Vitesse side who also won at the weekend.
Rangers go in search of their point in the Europa League this season when host Danish outfit Brondby at 8pm.
The outlook is looking bleak for the Glasgow club after defeats to Lyon and Sparta Prague and Thursday’s clash is feeling increasingly like a must-win for Steven Gerrard’s side.
They were denied at the death by Hearts in the Scottish Premiership at the weekend but are still well positioned to defend their league crown.
Whether they can improve their fortunes on the continent remains to be seen on a huge night for Rangers.
Conversely, West Ham are vying to make it three wins from three against Genk at the London Stadium.
The Hammers have won four of their last five matches and have been mightily impressive in Europe, beating Dinamo Zagreb and Rapid Vienna in their opening two games.
Another win would put them in a commanding position in Group H at the halfway stage.