FC Bayern München's leadership of UEFA Champions League Group C comes under fierce scrutiny at the Stadio Delle Alpi tonight as Matchday 3 promises to make the issues in all the groups a little clearer.
The 2001 champions have impressed this time around, winning 1-0 at Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC before trouncing AFC Ajax 4-0. Now they take on a Juventus FC side who have also achieved a perfect start with six points from two games. Victory for either would make it difficult for them not to qualify. At the same time the two teams still pointless in the section meet in Amsterdam.
Leaders all away
Indeed, all four group leaders in action this evening face away ties. FC Dynamo Kyiv have a three-point advantage in Group B but will be wary of a return to form from Real Madrid CF, who looked to be heading for a second straight defeat on Matchday 2 before turning things around against AS Roma.
Madrid are without David Beckham while defender Walter Samuel is suspended. For the visitors, Latvian international Maris Verpakovskis is banned but midfielder Valentin Belkevich returns from injury. In the other game, Roma will want to put their first point on the board when they visit Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
The home match against RC Deportivo La Coruña offers Liverpool FC the opportunity to close the gap on Olympiacos CFP in Group A. There is a strong Spanish element at the Anfield club and that gives Liverpool an edge according to Deportivo coach Javier Irureta, whose side are bottom of the section with one point from two outings.
"They start with a bit of an advantage because their coach [Rafael Benítez] has a comprehensive knowledge of our team and knows us better than we know them," said Irureta. Olympiacos travel to AS Monaco FC hoping to add to their four points but knowing they haven't won any of their last 20 Champions League away games.
United in Prague
Manchester United FC will be seeking another solid performance at Group D's bottom club, AC Sparta Praha, who have still to register their first point in the pool. Whether the English team can match their 6-2 Matchday 2 triumph over Fenerbahçe SK – inspired by debutant Wayne Rooney - however is another matter. The other fixture sees the Turkish champions at home to Olympique Lyonnais.
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