The Champions League is back, and even the coldest of heart will be rubbing their hands together in anticipation. Sevilla get things going from a Spanish perspective in this evening’s early kick-off, locking horns with Salzburg at the Sanchez-Pizjuan.
Sevilla are a competent outfit under Julen Lopetegui, the Basque coach who’s gotten the best out of the squad assembled by Monchi. They’ve finished fourth in consecutive seasons in La Liga, and currently sit sixth in the league table with a game in hand.
Lille and Wolfsburg are the other clubs in what’s the kindest group in this season’s draw. Sevilla, the kings of the Europa League, will be keen to transfer their pedigree to Europe’s top table; if you think they can, V9bet is a good site to place your wager. They made it to the last 16 last season only to suffer a humbling at the hands of Erling Haaland and Borussia Dortmund.
Villarreal will be looking to do something similar, having qualified for this season’s Champions League thanks to their victory in last season’s Europa League. Manchester United, the club they beat to win it, are in their group, but it’s Atalanta they face at La Ceramica later on this evening. Young Boys complete the draw.
Unai Emery, who enjoyed success with Sevilla in a previous life, has recruited intelligently since taking over at Villarreal in the summer of 2020 and will hope to improve on last season’s seventh-placed finish in La Liga. The Yellow Submarine currently sit 13th in the league table, and like Sevilla have a game in hand.
Barcelona face Bayern Munich at Camp Nou tonight, in a re-run of the 8-2 defeat they suffered in Lisbon in the quarter-final of the 2019/20 Champions League. They’ve fallen on hard times as they embark on life post-Lionel Messi, but have shown green shoots this term. Also in their group are Benfica and Dynamo Kyiv.
Luuk de Jong has just been signed from Sevilla on loan, the deal done on an active transfer deadline day that saw Antoine Griezmann leave Camp Nou for Atletico Madrid. Given Sergio Aguero, Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele are all out injured, he and his compatriot Memphis Depay will be key in attack.
Real Madrid travel to Italy tomorrow evening to face Inter at San Siro, a team fresh off a Scudetto but much-changed over the summer. Atletico host Porto at the Wanda Metropolitano at the same time their neighbours kick off in Milan. Both Madrid clubs have started the season fast, with ten points from their opening four games. The former sit top and the latter sit third.