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Top teams prepare for matchday two

Published: Friday 28 September 2012, 9.19CET
Europe's top 32 sides return to the fray on UEFA Champions League matchday two with FC Nordsjælland, FC BATE Borisov and CFR 1907 Cluj all waiting to receive famous guests.
Top teams prepare for matchday two
Cristiano Ronaldo (left) will be one of the stars on show on matchday two ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 28 September 2012, 9.19CET

Top teams prepare for matchday two

Europe's top 32 sides return to the fray on UEFA Champions League matchday two with FC Nordsjælland, FC BATE Borisov and CFR 1907 Cluj all waiting to receive famous guests.

The 32 teams competing for European club football's most sought-after prize are already 90 minutes closer to the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley next May, but some of them are further down the road than others.

Following matchday one, certain clubs have stolen a march on their rivals in the race to reach the title-decider in London on 25 May. Those who stumbled at the first hurdle will be hoping this week brings greater success, while the matchday one victors will have designs on maintaining their momentum. UEFA.com gives you the lowdown on what promises to be an enthralling matchday two.

Tuesday's games
Group E (FC Nordsjælland v Chelsea FC; Juventus v FC Shakhtar Donetsk)
• Chelsea have finished as group winners in seven of their last nine campaigns, including last season, and qualified for the knockout rounds in the other two years.

• Shakhtar were successful on their last visit to Italy, beating AS Roma 3-2 in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League round of 16 – their first away win there at the eighth attempt. They followed up with a 3-0 win in the return leg.

Group F (FC BATE Borisov v FC Bayern München; Valencia CF v LOSC Lille)
• Bayern, European champions on four occasions, have lost three of their last four UEFA Champions League away games, winning one of their last five.

• Valencia are unbeaten against French opposition. Seven games have brought seven wins with 18 goals scored and three conceded. They have also gone 15 games, home and away, unbeaten against French sides.

Group G (SL Benfica v FC Barcelona; FC Spartak Moskva v Celtic FC)
• Whenever these two clubs have met, the winners have gone on to lift the European Cup, starting with Béla Guttmann's Benfica in the 1961 final in Berne.

• Celtic will want to improve on a damaging away record in the UEFA Champions League. Since their first group stage campaign in 2001/02, they have lost 19 of 20 matches on the road – the one exception a 1-1 draw at Barcelona in November 2004.

Group H (Galatasaray AŞ v SC Braga; CFR 1907 Cluj v Manchester United FC)
• Galatasaray enter the game on a run of one defeat in their last nine European home fixtures, although José Peseiro's Braga are on a six-match unbeaten sequence on their travels in Europe.

• United's only away success in last term's UEFA Champions League came on Romanian soil, 2-0 at FC Oţelul Galaţi through two Wayne Rooney goals. They ended the night with ten men after Nemanja Vidić's dismissal.

Wednesday's games

Group A (FC Porto v Paris Saint-Germain FC; FC Dynamo Kyiv v GNK Dinamo Zagreb)
• French visitors have got the better of Porto on home soil only once, FC Nantes winning 2-0 in the 1971/72 UEFA Cup first round to set up a 3-1 aggregate success. The other eight encounters have produced six Porto wins and two draws.

• Porto were 2-0 winners in Zagreb on matchday one, extending Dinamo's run of successive group stage defeats to seven.

Group B (Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC; FC Schalke 04 v Montpellier Hérault SC)
• Arsenal and Olympiacos also met on matchday two last season, Arsenal winning 2-1. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain marked his UEFA Champions League debut with an early goal and André Santos also scored his first for the Gunners to secure the points despite David Fuster's 27th-minute response.

• Schalke have won all three of their home games against French opponents but lost both away. They beat AS Nancy-Lorraine 1-0 in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup first round – although they suffered a 3-1 defeat in the return in France – and Paris Saint-Germain FC 3-1 in the group stage of the 2008/09 competition.

Group C  (RSC Anderlecht v Málaga CF; FC Zenit St Petersburg v AC Milan)
• Anderlecht have lost seven and drawn two of their last nine home games in the group stage and last won a UEFA Champions League fixture in Brussels in November 2003, 1-0 against Olympique Lyonnais.

• Zenit are bidding to extend a 16-match unbeaten home sequence in UEFA competition stretching back to a 2-1 loss to Real Madrid CF in their first UEFA Champions League home fixture on 30 September 2008.

Group D (AFC Ajax v Real Madrid CF; Manchester City FC v Borussia Dortmund)

• Ajax's hopes of progress to the 2011/12 round of 16 were ended in a 3-0 home defeat by Madrid on 7 December, José Callejón (14, 90) and Gonzalo Higuaín (41) scoring. Frank de Boer's men had needed only a draw to advance but Madrid's victory and Lyon's 7-1 triumph at GNK Dinamo Zagreb dropped them down to third.

• Although the clubs have never met before, Dortmund's first European away match came at City's old Maine Road home, against Manchester United FC in the 1956/57 European Champion Clubs' Cup first round, owing to Old Trafford's lack of floodlights. They were 3-0 down at half-time but fought back to 3-2 – the eventual aggregate score.

Last updated: 01/10/12 13.37CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/newsid=1867882.html#top+teams+prepare+matchday

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