UEFA Champions League matchday two starts this evening, with UEFA.com's team of reporters at every venue bringing you the latest updates from across Europe.
All times CET.
Tuesday 19.45, UEFA.com newsdesk
The blog is closing now with the game in Moscow finishing and the other seven starting in an hour. You can continue to follow events as they happen before, during and after tonight's games in the UEFA.com MatchCentre from 19.30, and UEFA.com will also have previews of all of Wednesday's action.
Tuesday 19.30, Paul Bryan at Santiago Bernabéu
Unlike the Stadio San Paolo, the Santiago Bernabéu here in Madrid sits silent as we await the first trickle of fans through the recently opened gates. The sun has slowly sunk behind the imposing west stand and we have perfect conditions for tonight's encounter between two teams who have won the European Cup 13 times between them.
Tuesday 19.27, Viktor Sharafudinov in Donetsk
Experienced APOEL defender Savvas Poursaitides says the Cypriot side are inspired by playing teams like Shakhtar. "Every APOEL player prepares himself for each Champions League match with a serious frame of mind," he said. "We simply cannot allow ourselves to choose which game is important and which one is not. We have started the tournament by defeating Zenit, so we will fight for victory in every other game. The team has many experienced, quality players from different countries. That what inspires us and makes us feel confident."
Tuesday 19.20, Steffen Potter in Leverkusen
Genk midfielder David Hubert is well aware of the test that Bayer Leverkusen pose. "We know quite a lot about Leverkusen and their way of playing, we watched the match against Chelsea and know they have a very good side," he said. "We know the way they play and we have been prepared to counter that. They are strong in attack, run a lot and are very physical."
As for facing Michael Ballack, he added: "He's of course a very big name and I will have to try to counter him. But I am not looking at the name so much, I never do."
Tuesday 19.11, Sébastien Blanchard in Marseille
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ivan Perišić began his senior career at FC Sochaux-Montbéliard so is well aware of what awaits at Marseille tomorrow night. "Marseille fans are known for being quite loud, like Dortmund's fans," he said. "I know that since I played for Sochaux. And I am happy to have the opportunity to play at the Stade Vélodrome."
Having opened his Bundesliga account during the 2-1 win at 1. FSV 05 Mainz on Sunday to add to his dramatic equaliser against Arsenal, the summer arrival from Club Brugge KV added: "I am in good form. After a slow start to my season, the goal against Arsenal gave me a lot of confidence. Then I was in the starting XI in the Bundesliga and it helped me again to gain even more confidence. I scored last weekend and I am feeling very good."
Tuesday 18.45, Richard Aikman at Stadio San Paolo
With three hours to go before kick-off a sea of humanity was already lapping at the feet of the huge bowl that is the Stadio San Paolo, flooding in from every rammed approach road and up from the underground. Now two hours from the start, the music is pumping and the ground already half-full. Every supporter, save for the few visiting Spaniards, is bedecked in light blue and white.
The anticipated showers have stayed at bay and those fans not yet in the ground are on standby near the rear entrance, awaiting the arrival of the players' coaches while singing songs and revelling in what feels like the pre-match build-up to a cup final.
Tuesday 18.00, UEFA.com newsdesk
The CSKA v Inter game has kicked off in Moscow and our MatchCentre has live updates. During the match you can have your say in the action in our Player Rater feature to influence our Team of the Week and earn a chance to win an exclusive matchday Back Stadium Pass courtesy of Heineken.
Tuesday 17.58, Artem Nefedyev in St Petersburg
Zenit's Portuguese forward Danny is looking forward to tangling with compatriots Porto and admits the game has been a topic of discussion among the national squad. "[Myself and Bruno Alves] exchanged a few words with João [Moutinho], Rolando and [Silvestre] Varela, but no serious conversations. We know that both teams are strong; when we meet next time there will be some talk. I'm still on good terms with many players at Porto I know from my youth days."
Tuesday 17.46, Sébastien Blanchard in Marseille
Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda is in upbeat mood for the visit of Dortmund after the upturn in his side's domestic form. "We are approaching this game in good shape; we have no particular worries today," the OM captain said. "We are on a good run even though we drew [with Valenciennses FC] at the weekend. But we are playing in a different competition and we are motivated. We are well rested, I think, and I'm sure we will have a good match tomorrow. We respect this Dortmund team but we do not fear any particular player."
Tuesday 17.29, Frankfurt
With the bus driver speeding on the way to the airport, Dortmund's team bus was stopped by the police and the driver fined. The departure of the Bundesliga champions' flight was postponed for around 50 minutes as a result − exactly the kind of slow start Jürgen Klopp's men will be keen to avoid at the Stade Vélodrome tomorrow night.
Dortmund's first-choice striker Lucas Barrios has been thoroughly missed in recent weeks due to a muscle injury, but despite coming on as a substitute in this weekend's Bundesliga win at 1. FSV Mainz 05, he will most likely not feature from the start in France. "If it can be avoided in any way, he will not be in the first XI," said coach Klopp.
Tuesday 17.11, Richard Aikman en route to Stadio San Paolo
The traffic in Napoli is horrendous, partly because of rush hour, partly because there's a game on. Since midday cars and scooters have been circling the stadium, flags and scarves aflutter. Our UEFA-branded car has been stopped three times already by curious supporters asking for free stuff. The driver, Domenico, says he's seen nothing like it since the 1990 World Cup.
Tuesday 16.54, Paul Bryan in Madrid
Autumn has officially arrived, although you would not know it in Madrid, where temperatures have reached 29C today. Pink-skinned Ajax fans are beginning to gather at the magnificent Santiago Bernabéu and some appear old enough to have witnessed all four of the Dutch club's successes in the European Cup.
Current coach Frank de Boer was part of the Ajax team that last triumphed in the competition in 1995 and he has plenty of experience facing Madrid from his days as a Barcelona player, winning two of nine games against the Merengues between 1999 and 2003. The former Dutch international insisted in yesterday's pre-match press conference that his players have learned from last year's 2-0 group stage defeat here and will look to play their possession game against the hosts this evening.
Tuesday 16.52, Vassiliki Papantonopoulou in Athens
Olympiacos coach Ernesto Valverde is unable to call on Francisco Yeste against Arsenal, the midfielder having failed to recover from a rib injury sustained at home to Marseille two weeks ago. Giannis Fetfatzidis and Giannis Maniatis also did not travel to London.
The good news for Valverde is that playmaker Ariel Ibagaza (right foot) has been cleared by the medical staff to play. The presence of Ibagaza is central to Valverde's plan for a positive result. He is expected to field his most experienced players in midfield − Ibagaza, Pablo Orbaiz and Jean Makoun − in an attempt to stifle Arsenal's creativity.
Tuesday 16.44, Andy James en route to the Fuβball Arena München
A handful of Manchester City officials paid a visit to the site of the Munich air disaster memorial in a show of solidarity with local rivals Manchester United. Twenty-three people lost their lives in the crash as United made their way back from a European Champion Clubs' Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade on 6 February 1958, among them former City goalkeeper Frank Swift.
Yesterday, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson thanked City for their gesture, which included laying a wreath. "It is refreshing," said Sir Alex, whose team host Basel tonight. "We appreciate that from Manchester City. It is a good sign that the game is not as bad as sometimes we think."
Tuesay 16.43, Matthew Spiro in Lyon
Lyon have enjoyed an exciting renaissance since the appointment of Rémi Garde as coach in the summer and there is strong sense of optimism in the city ahead of their first home game in the group stage against Dinamo.
OL's surge to the top of Ligue 1, where they are level with next Sunday's opponents Paris Saint-Germain FC, has coincided with Garde's decision to show faith in youth, and tonight's contest will offer another chance for France Under-20 players Clément Grenier and Alexandre Lacazette to show off their talents.
Tuesday 16.20, Steffen Potter in Leverkusen
Leverkusen beat Genk 4-1 in a pre-season friendly game, but Czech left-back Michal Kadlec is not taking too much comfort from that as Robin Dutt's side take on the Belgian champions again in Group E. "We could see than that they have quite good players, but you cannot compare these matches," he said. "For us, this is an important match following the [2-0] defeat at Chelsea on matchday one. We want to go through and this, at home, is a small final against Genk."
The 26-year-old was up against Petr Čech at Stamford Bridge and will take on another international team-mate on Wednesday in the form of Genk's left-back Daniel Pudil. "We talked about this match while we were on duty with the national team," revealed Kadlec. "We play in a similar position and know each other well. I am looking forward to playing against him.
"Not everyone has the honour of playing in the Champions League," added Kadlec. "It is something quite special. I did it a few times at Sparta Praha but I was very young then. We all have worked towards this for many years; this is a career highlight for everyone."
Tuesday 15.35, Athens
The Olympiacos squad flew into Luton airport earlier and are now relaxing ahead of tonight's training session at the Arsenal Stadium. Vassilis Torossidis, Avraam Papadopoulos and Olof Mellberg are the surving members of the Olympiacos team that lost 2-0 in north London almost two years ago to the day, a game in which goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis shone. With the former Greece No1 having retired in the summer, Franco Costanzo will have to be at his best to keep a first clean sheet of the season tomorrow night.
Tuesday 15.28, Philip Röber in Munich
The beer gardens are doing a roaring Oktoberfest trade as Bayern and City fans prepare for tonight's match by making the most of a beautiful late summer's day. Bayern defender Holger Badstuber will not play because of a cold, so Daniel Van Buyten, who had a loan spell at the City of Manchester Stadium in 2003/04, is expected to feature alongside another former City player Jérôme Boateng.
Meanwhile, 57% of people participating in a poll on the Manchester Evening News website believe City will win, with 23% going for a draw and only 20% a home victory. A cracking match is in prospect, for sure.
Tuesday 15.03, Madrid
Barcelona have arrived in Minsk – albeit with a slight delay – and are currently in their hotel relaxing ahead of ahead of this evening's training session at the Dinamo Stadion where they face BATE tomorrow night. Josep Guardiola and Javier Mascherano will field questions from the press from 17.45CET.
Tuesday 14.49, Diest
Having not played since 6 August because of a calf injury, playmaker Kevin De Bruyne will join Genk as they travel to Leverkusen for their Group E game on Wednesday. With Torben Joneleit now the only significant name on the Belgian champions' injury list, coach Mario Been was able to leave midfielder Fabien Camus and defender Anthony Vanden Borre behind.
Genk had a disappointing 1-1 draw against OH Leuven at the weekend, but Been says that will have no bearing on the Leverkusen match. "I believe in it 100%, but I am an extremely positive person," said the Dutchman. "That is what I want to get across to the players. To win, we will have to be at our best, have an extremely good day and not do stupid things like we did against Leuven."
Tuesday 14.38, Madrid
Valencia had a training session on the beach on Monday as they prepare for Chelsea's visit tomorrow. Unai Emery bussed his players from the club's training ground to the sands of El Saler where, before they set up nets for a game of football-stroke-volleyball, the man in charge issued a 30-minute team-talk.
Most of the buzz around Valencia surrounds the return of Juan Mata, who scored 33 goals in 129 Liga appearances at the club before switching to Chelsea last month. "It will be weird seeing Mata wearing a different shirt," Jordi Alba noted after taking a swim. "He's adapting really well at Chelsea and brings something new to the team."
Tuesday 14.27, Jamie Ried at Arsenal's London Colney training base
After a 1-1 draw at Dortmund on matchday one, Arsenal are eager to get a first Group F win at home against Olympiacos, with Mikel Arteta aware how much European success means to a club enduring a difficult spell in the Premier League.
"If we win tomorrow, massive," said Arteta. "If we don't, it's different. We had the chance to win at Dortmund and in the last minute conceded a goal. To be honest I think it was a fair result for both teams, but tomorrow if we are strong at home, we have a big big chance.
"I cannot wait," added the summmer signing from Everton FC. "Everybody says the atmosphere at [the Arsenal Stadium] is really, really nice for night games in the Champions League, so hopefully it's going to be like that tomorrow and we can give something good to the fans to support us."
Tuesday 13.53, Viktor Sharafudinov at the Donbass Arena
Having seen Shakhtar kick off their Group G campaign with a 2-1 defeat at FC Porto, Armenian forward Henrik Mkhitaryan is eager to stop the rot at home against APOEL on Wednesday. However, he is well aware that APOEL had a nasty surprise in store for Zenit, the Russian champions losing 2-1 in Cyprus on matchday one.
"We have lost our last three games in the Champions League, including our contest with Barcelona [in last season's UEFA Champions League quarter-finals], so we obviously need to win. We are well prepared for APOEL's visit, as the players have learned about their strengths and weaknesses from the coach. We should not forget what happened to Zenit. APOEL are a very strong side, but the Russians underestimated them."
Tuesday 13.32, Andy James en route to Fuβball Arena München
Having acclimatised to the competition with a 1-1 draw at home against Napoli, Manchester City are now focused on registering their first group stage victory away at Bayern. Roberto Mancini's side were impressed by the imposing Fußball Arena München, but the Italian coach insisted his side would not be fazed by their experienced opponents: "We're here to win, if possible, but we know it will be difficult."
City striker Edin Džeko scored four goals in his last five appearances against Bayern with VfL Wolfsburg but is yet to taste victory in the Bavarian capital. The towering Bosnian was full of respect for the 22-time Bundesliga champions: "This is why I'm here – to play against teams like Bayern, one of the best teams in the world. That's why I came to Manchester City."
Germany defender Jérôme Boateng, who signed from Bayern over the summer after a season with City punctuated by injuries, has been assured of a starting berth by coach Jupp Heynckes, though it remains to be seen who will play alongside him. With Holger Badstuber struggling with a cold, Daniel Van Buyten, who scored a rocket of a free-kick at the weekend, could retain his place.
Tuesday 13.26, Richard Aikman in Naples
For a town that lives and breathes calcio like Naples does, today is a very special day. Not since 1990 have they graced Europe's premier club competition and the anticipation is at fever pitch. The Stadio San Paolo will be sold out for tonight's game against Villarreal and even the players can barely contain their excitement.
Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi said yesterday: "I've been playing here since 2007, when Napoli had just got into Serie A, so this is unique and really exciting for me. In these last years this team has grown so much. It was amazing to play in Manchester City's stadium and tomorrow I will discover a Stadio San Paolo full of supporters: this is magic."
Tuesday 13.17, Madrid
Villarreal have made a slow start to the campaign – two wins in eight games in all competitions – but Las Provincias believes tonight's Group A encounter at Napoli could help the Yellow Submarine to find their best form.
"The bad show in the matchday one home defeat against Bayern must serve as a motivation for Villarreal, who have to improve tonight if they don't want to risk their place in a competition which holds beautiful memories for the club," the paper writes. "A good result combined with some eye-catching football at a difficult venue could be the perfect medicine for Juan Carlos Garrido's side."
Tuesday 12.38, Madrid
Spanish daily El País predicts that, with full-back Marcelo suspended and Fábio Coentrão injured, Madrid will call on Álvaro Arbeloa to deputise against "an Ajax team that have scored 21 times in the Dutch first division but have yet to register a goal in this season's UEFA Champions League".
Following yesterday's video session, Arbeloa noted that Ajax were "very quick going forward," while assistant coach Aitor Karanka mentioned that tonight's visitors to the Santiago Bernabéu are "better than last year", when Madrid put six unanswered goals past them in the group stage.
Tuesday 12.06, Paris
New signing Joe Cole scored his first goal for Lille at the weekend following his summer loan move from Liverpool FC, and as Les Dogues prepare for their game at Trabzonspor, the English international told L'Equipe that his French skills were coming along too.
"I love this language," said the 29-year-old. "I am learning by downloading a course off the internet and doing 20 minutes of study here and there. It is difficult for me, but all languages are difficult for Englishmen; it doesn't come naturally for us."
Tuesday 11.50, Denis Orlov at Dinamo Stadion
"It's impossible to play against Barcelona," said defender Yegor Filipenko as he looked ahead to BATE's game against Josep Guardiola's world-beaters on Wednesday. "I'm joking of course," he added cheekily.
The European champions' visit has caused a major stir in Belarus, with all 36,900 tickets for the game at Minsk's Dinamo Stadion sold out five days before the match. Now Filipenko hopes the Belarusian champions can give the home crowd a display to be proud of. "We all hope Lionel Messi will not be coming to Belarus, but joking aside, we will have to work out how to cope with him," he added. "We will think of something. For now we are feeling positive and are just arguing between ourselves about who gets to swap shirts with who."
Tuesday 10.39, Paris
Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris says his side have "no option but to win" as they take on Dinamo Zagreb in Group D. With Real Madrid at home to Ajax in today's other Group D game, Lloris said: "Madrid are the favorites to qualify. After them it is OL due to our European experience, but it is a three-way fight for second place. We had some regrets when we came back from Amsterdam [with a 0-0 draw on matchday one]; we have to do better at home."
Tuesday 11.21, Paris
Group F contenders Marseille have confirmed that midfielder Benoît Cheyrou will miss their game against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday due to a groin problem. He is likely to miss their next league game too. Striker André-Pierre Gignac (groin) and defender Djimi Traoré (foot) are also expected to be absent.
Tuesday 11.17, Munich
In Germany, Bild is excited about Bayern's game against Manchester City. "At last, a real opponent for Bayern," it writes. "Against the sharp shooters of Manchester City even goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will have some work to do. Today, Bayern have to do something unfamiliar: they have to push themselves."
Basel need to do something superhuman if they are to get the better of City's neighbours Manchester United, but Basler Zeitung is daring to dream, writing: "Basel are clearly underdogs at Old Trafford, but a a Basel win is not absolutely impossible. You only have to look back two seasons to find the last Swiss sensation in Europe's elite competition. On 30 September 2009 FC Zürich won 1-0 away against the mighty AC Milan."
Tuesday 11.13, Lisbon
The Portuguese press are feeling positive ahead of Benfica's game against Oţelul, with A Bola noting that "Benfica are in Bucharest to take three points". The paper quotes defender Ezequiel Garay, who says: "We can go far in the Champions League."
The sports paper also notes that two milestones can be reached in Bucharest; Javier Saviola is in line to make his 100th appearance in all competitions for the club, while Luisão can break António Veloso's record of 77 European appearances for Benfica as he gears up for a 78th UEFA game. Former forwards Eusébio and Nené are joint third in those rankings with 75 continental appearances.
Record is feeling equally positive about Benfica's search for a 90th win in this competition in light of the Eagles' 2-2 draw at Porto at the weekend. "Benfica are on a high and want to make history in the Champions League," it trumpets.
Tuesday 11.02, Milan
Gazzetta dello Sport has been sizing up the key factors that will decide the success or failure of the three Italian sides competing in the UEFA Champions League this week.
For Inter, the headline is 'Il Principe e il Pazzo' (the prince and the madman); a reference to the Nerazzurri attacking partnership of Diego Milito and Giampaolo Pazzini which is expected to lead the line at CSKA.
For Napoli, the pink newspaper focused on the '50,000-man charge', underlining the importance of the fans at the Stadio San Paolo as they take on Villarreal.
Meanwhile, as Milan take on Plzeň tomorrow, the paper believes the crucial factory will be the return from injury of Zlatan Ibrahimović.
Tuesday 10.46, Munich
Bayern defender Holger Badstuber has caught a cold, and coach Jupp Heynckes will decide in the run-up to kick-off in their game against Manchester City whether the German international can play. Should Badstuber drop out, that would be a blow to a Bayern defence that has conceded just once in 11 competitive games this season.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has not conceded in 838 minutes in all competitions (568 in the Bundesliga). At this stage in the league last season, Bayern had already leaked eight goals.
Tuesday 10.04, UEFA.com newsdesk
Some disappointing news for Inter overnight; defender Andrea Ranocchia pulled up with a thigh strain in the Nerazzurri's final training session in Moscow ahead of their meeting with CSKA. He will miss the match, and may be out for a while longer.
Tuesday 10.02, John Leonidou from Nicosia
APOEL FC striker Esteban Solari has urged his team-mates not to get "carried away" with their opening Group G victory against FC Zenit St Petersburg as the Cypriot team prepare to meet FC Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday. "We are totally focused ahead of what we know will be a very difficult game," said the 31-year-old.
"We need to be cautious and although we believe in our ability, we mustn't get carried away by the fact that we beat Zenit at home. Every game is different. We know just how to difficult it will be to try and secure a victory away from home, especially in this competition, but we will put up a fight and give 1000%."
Tuesday 10.00, UEFA.com newsdesk
Before we hear from our network of correspondents, why not take the opportunity to update your UEFA Champions League Fantasy Football selection and to check out other great interactive UEFA.com features: Predictor, Player Rater, and Classics. There are super prizes on offer, and do not forget Ups and Downs, which returns with a new poll on Thursday.
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