UEFA Champions League matchday three is upon us, with UEFA.com's network of reporters bringing you the latest updates and team news from the venues and beyond. Click on the links at the bottom of this article for background on any of the 16 matches.
All times CET.
Monday 21.22, Nick Aitken in Manchester
Villarreal CF have yet to score any goals or points in Group A so far, but Diego López believes their improving defence may help the Yellow Submarine sink Manchester City FC, who are a point better off, on Tuesday. "Not conceding in Sunday's match [a 0-0 draw with Getafe CF] was a step in the right direction for us and we'll need to put in another good defensive performance tomorrow," said the 29-year-old goalkeeper. "But it'll be a huge test for us at the back while we'll also have to find our feet going forward and cause them problems."
Monday 20.55, Paul-Daniel Zaharia in Bucharest
Manchester United failed to win either of their opening matches against Group C pacesetters Benfica and Basel, and midfielder Park Ji-Sung said his team would not take anything for granted when they take on pointless Oţelul in Romania. "We saw Oţelul play their first two Champions League matches and they are good, but we have prepared well because we have to win," he said. "We won't underestimate them and we will have to give it our best in order to win."
Monday 20.43, Elvir Islamović in Zagreb
Ajax forward Miralem Sulejmani has found a special source of motivation from the birth of his son as the Amsterdam club go in search of their first Group D victory in Zagreb. "I know Dinamo are very good and everything starts from captain Milan Badelj," said the Serbian international. "They are playing in front of their fans so it's logical to expect them to attack us but we will get our chance to find some holes in their defence. This will be a crucial game for us. My son was born on Sunday and I am happy that everything went fine and have found extra inspiration from my baby."
Monday 20.10, Ben Gladwell in Basel
Nicolás Gaitán has played a key part in Benfica's Group C campaign thus far, setting up the opener against Manchester United and the winner at Oţelul, but the midfielder is under no illusions as to the task ahead in Basel.
"This is a very important game but it will be difficult," he said. "It would be a big step towards qualifying and we have got to keep our concentration. We have a lot of confidence in our own strength and we feel we can win every game if we give it our best so it doesn't matter who are seen as favourites."
Monday 19.43, Aurélien Sagnier in Lille
Draws in their opening two matches have left Lille third in Group B as they prepare to host the three-time European Cup winners but defender Franck Béria is certain his team will not be fazed by the stature of their opponents.
"Inter are a prestigious team and one of the greatest European clubs but when you are on the pitch, you don't pay attention to who is in front of you," said the 28-year-old. "Since we couldn't get the results we wanted in the previous matches, we'll have to get some points [now]. We can't wait to play a team like Inter."
Monday 18.59, Aurélien Sagnier in Lille
Wesley Sneijder returns for Inter having missed the 3-2 defeat of PFC CSKA Moskva last time out with a thigh injury and the Dutch midfielder is confident the Nerazzurri can put their disappointing domestic form to one side when they travel to winless Lille in Group B.
"I'm happy to be back with the team after three weeks out," he said. "I don't mind the pressure regarding my return as I have always played my best games under pressure. It's time to fight together and get victories but Lille are a strong team and they have very good individual players so we'll have to be careful."
Monday 18.24, Paul-Daniel Zaharia in Bucharest
Sergiu Costin knows Group C strugglers Oţelul Galaţi will have to play beyond themselves if they are to get off the mark in the section at the expense of Manchester United. "It's the most important match of my career," said the club captain. "We will have to be totally focused. I know our form has not been good but I'm confident we'll regroup and the results will then come. Against Manchester United we have to give more than our best."
Monday 17.15, Steffen Potter in Frankfurt
Dortmund will be without right-back Patrick Owomoyela for Wednesday's match against Olympiacos, while striker Lucas Barrios is a major doubt. Barrios required an injection in his back after training today, with a decision to be made tomorrow as to whether he will travel to Athens. Owomoyela, who marked his first appearance since April with a goal in a 2-0 win at SV Werder Bremen on Friday, has an adductor injury and is expected to be sidelined for a fortnight.
Monday 16.04, Marco Ghighi in Naples
Napoli host an impenetrable Bayern team on Tuesday in a meeting of the top two in Group A. The German side have not conceded a goal for 1,108 minutes in all competitions, since a 1-0 defeat by VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach on 7 August, and have been scoring freely at the other end.
"Bayern München are the best team in the world at the moment together with Barcelona," said Marek Hamšík. "Bayern have a lot of players in the German national team. Most of them are still young, but I've played against them with Slovakia and I can assure you that they are very experienced."
Monday 16.04, John Leonidou, Nicosia
APOEL will go into their Group G match against Porto on Wednesday "on a wave of optimism", according to midfielder Gustavo Manduca. "We know that a very difficult game awaits us but everybody is still expecting us to get a good result," said the 31-year-old, who scored against Zenit on matchday one.
"That is because we had two good results against Zenit and Shakhtar and this has a created a wave of optimism all around us. The other teams in our group will keep a close eye on our game. The outcome will play a very important role in shaping the future of the group."
Monday 15.05, UEFA.com newsdesk
UEFA.com spoke to former Russian international Dmitri Alenichev about the prospects of CSKA and Zenit on matchday three. We also sat down with Ajax coach Frank de Boer to discuss his side's Group D double-header with Dinamo Zagreb, heard from Ernesto Valverde on Olympiacos's campaign so far and got Rémi Garde's thoughts on the rivalry between his Lyon team and Madrid. These and a selection of other UEFA Champions League-related videos can be viewed here.
Monday 14.01, Steffen Potter in Frankfurt
The plane carrying Bayern landed in Naples at 13.00, leaving behind the cold of Munich for spring-like temperatures of 20C. "After a long time we are back to play Napoli. We must not underestimate them and we want to remain as leaders − that means we must not lose," said chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who remembers the only previous European encounter between the clubs, the 1989 UEFA Cup semi-final, when Napoli won 2-0 at home and drew 2-2 in Germany. "They had us well under control in both matches. I hope things will be better this time, but it will be a difficult game, especially for our defence."
Monday 13.50, Paul Bryan in Madrid
Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido has plenty to ponder on board today's flight to Manchester from Valencia's Manises airport. Having suffered successive Group A defeats against Bayern and Napoli, the Yellow Submarine take on Premier League leaders Manchester City on Tuesday with form and injury concerns.
Already shorn of strikers Marco Ruben (toe) and Nilmar (knee), the Liga team can add Javier Camuñas to their absentee list after the forward complained of a thigh problem. Also out is former Spain midfielder Marcos Senna, who suffered a thigh strain in the scoreless draw with Getafe CF on Saturday, a result that means the Madrigal club have won just two of their last 15 fixtures in all competitions.
It is not all bad news for the travelling party, however, as Borja Valero is available following a two-game suspension, while Mateo Musacchio has recovered from a thigh complaint.
Monday 13.09, Elvir Islamović in Zagreb
Sammir is promising an improved performance from Dinamo Zagreb after the Croatian league leaders suffered their first defeat of the domestic season on Saturday, 2-1 against NK Zadar. "I expect victory against Ajax, of course," said the midfielder. "We can at least be at the same level as they are, and we will be much better than in our last two matches. It wasn't good in Zadar, we lost that match, but I have a feeling that it will be much better against Ajax."
Monday 13.06, Nick Aitken at Carrington, Manchester
"If you consider Spain are among the best national teams in the world, in terms of club sides we're getting there too. We're on the right track," said Manchester City's David Silva, scorer of two superbly taken goals for the Roja against Scotland on 11 October, when speaking at Monday's press conference.
Monday 12.30, Paul Bryan in Madrid
Spanish daily El País pays tribute to Madrid's in-form forward Gonzalo Higuaín in its edition this morning, claiming that in the Argentinian, the Santiago Bernabéu has a new idol. Higuaín struck his second successive Liga hat-trick in the Merengues' 4-1 weekend win against Real Betis Balompié.
It was his third treble in four games after he also hit three for Argentina in a recent 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying victory against Chile. "Few players are as cherished by the Madrid following and fewer have arrived at the club with a smaller possibility of prospering," the paper explains.
Signing for Madrid from CA River Plate as an 18-year-old at the end of 2006, Higuaín was forced to battle with Raúl González, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robinho for a place up front. Moreover, despite having seen coaches and presidents come and go in the past five years, and having undergone surgery on a back problem, El Pipita has improved season on season to arrive at a current strike rate of a goal every 39 minutes. Tuesday's visitors to the Santiago Bernabéu, Lyon, have been warned.
Monday 12.28, Dmitri Rogovitski from Moscow
Kirill Nababkin has not lost faith in CSKA's prospects of qualifying from Group B despite the Army Men having collected just a point from their first two matches. "We're playing at home, so we need to win," the right-back said of the encounter with Trabzonspor. "We have our backs against the wall, but we're still capable of progressing from the group."
It is forecast to be 2C in the Russian capital come kick-off on Tuesday, but that does not bother Nabakin. "I hope supporters will wrap up and come to Luzhniki Stadium to help us with their passionate support," he said.
Monday 12.25, UEFA.com newsdesk
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