Matchweek two: 1-5 October

The UEFA Champions League returns for matchweek two and our live coverage will bring you all the build-up, live updates and reaction from across Europe.

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by UEFA.com newsdesk - 01/10/2012

Christian Châtelet, French newsdesk:
LOSC president Michel Seydoux wants his side to bounce back from defeat at the hands of BATE when they travel to Valencia on Tuesday. "A draw would be a good result," he said. "Our aim is to make fewer mistakes than two weeks ago against Borisov. I expect my team to restore some pride." Three key players are set to miss the trip to Spain with Salomon Kalou, Marvin Martin and captain Rio Mavuba nursing injuries. Valencia centre-back Adil Rami (right) is suspended following his red card against Bayern last time out and will miss the chance to face his former club.

 

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UEFA.com Spanish newsdesk:
Missing from Valencia's UEFA Champions League matchday one defeat away to Bayern because of a head injury, midfielder Fernando Gago returned to help his team achieve only their second win of the season against Real Zaragoza at the weekend and Spanish daily El Mundo reported that with the Argentinian on board, the 2000 and 2001 finalists look a much improved side.

"From the beginning, the best news for Mauricio Pellegrino's side was Gago's presence," the newspaper explained. "The 26-year-old gave his team the type of balance they had been missing in their past few games and Zaragoza could not compete against a rival who dominated for almost the entire match." Valencia fans will be hoping the recent acquisition from Real Madrid can put in a similar performance as the Liga side look to register their first points in Group F in tomorrow's home encounter against LOSC.

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Vladimir Bogachov at the Bayern press conference:
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes has spoken to the media of his surprise at BATE's remarkable performance against LOSC in their opening game, and has underlined that there are no easy games in this competition, as his charges prepare to face an Aleksandr Hleb-inspired home side.

"BATE will have a slight advantage as they play at home, and with BATE's season in full swing Bayern have no advantages," said Heynckes. "I have to say that I was surprised with BATE's performance and their victory in Lille. BATE played a great game in France, so we must take them very seriously. Playing in the Champions League is a big challenge for our side.

"I pay a lot of respect to Aleksandr Hleb, who I remember playing in the Bundesliga. He is perhaps BATE's key player, and he has found his Stuttgart form," added Heynckes. "BATE have become Champions League regulars in recent years and performed with relative success. They are a unique team. As for our side, we have ambitious targets, but it is too early to speak about them. First of all we have to qualify from our group."

 

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Vassiliki Papantonopoulou in Athens:
Olympiacos players are getting ready for their match against Arsenal under a scorching sun, as Athens has enjoyed temperatures up to 34C on the first day of October. Unfortunately there are also various question marks surrounding the starting lineup that Leonardo Jardim will pick for Wednesday. With Vassilis Torossidis and Tassos Papazoglou sidelined, the first puzzle to solve is the right-back position. There is also the goalkeeper question; recently Jardim had said that he would go with Balázs Megyeri in UEFA Champions League matches and with Roy Carroll in the domestic league. However, he seems to have second thoughts about that. There is also the issue of Drissa Diakite. The latest signing of the Greek champions is fit and could make his Olympiacos debut in London. That will depend also on the results of François Modesto's late fitness test.

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A self-proclaimed small club, CFR have big ambitions in the UEFA Champions League. Rafael Bastos, their two-goal match winner against Braga, tells UEFA.com that he believes his side "have the quality to cause an upset."

 

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Türker Tozar from the Galatasaray press conference:
Coach Fatih Terim attended the Galatasaray press conference ahead of matchday two and pointed out that neither result in the opening week in Group H was an accurate reflection of the displays on the pitch. He anticipates a hotly-contested affair in Istanbul.

"Our team's performance against Manchester United was seen by many," said Terim. "We played well, and would have made any Galatasaray fan proud, but we ultimately lost three points. Also, Braga might have lost to CFR Cluj but when you listen to comments, a lot of people say the result of the game did not reflect the football on the field. Braga are a team who need to be taken seriously for sure. In their last match, they defeated Vitória SC 2-0 away. It will be a difficult match tomorrow. We need our fans more than any time for this game."

 

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UEFA.com French newsdesk:
Attacking midfielders Jérémy Ménez and Ezequiel Lavezzi will be part of PSG's team to travel to Porto on Wednesday despite missing this weekend's 2-0 win over FC Sochaux-Montbéliard. Ménez was rested against his former side due to muscular pains and Lavezzi has not played since 20 September with a thigh injury. As a result, Mathieu Bodmer (knee) and Thiago Motta (back) are the only absentees for the French capital club.

 

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Dmitri Rogovitski in Moscow:
Sport-Express, having described Celtic's victory over Motherwell (2-0) on Saturday, added: "The attention of every supporter is fixed on Moscow, where two Spartak matches take place on Tuesday. One of them is between the fans' teams and that is why visiting fans have been urged to bring their boots to the Russian capital."

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Stefan Lecca from the CFR Cluj press conference:
A confident CFR coach Ioan Andone spoke in positive fashion to the media ahead of the visit of Manchester United tomorrow, showing no sign of nerves and speaking only of his team seeking a second win in Group H.

"It will be a great match for us and for Romania too," said Andone. "We hope to get a good result. Both teams won their first match in the group and it would be nice to qualify together for the next stage. We have a few players with experience in the Champions League, and we have all Romania behind us. I hope our enthusiasm will make a difference - if we manage to score, we will have a chance to win. I don't think you can speak about fear against United."

The confidence was not echoed by Ricardo Cadu, CFR defender and captain, who added: "I don't know if Wayne Rooney will play, he was absent for quite a long time, but if he does play it will be even harder for us. I think Manchester United have a 90% chance of winning, we have 10%, but we will do everything to win."

 

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Pelle Rasmussen from the Nordsjælland press conference: 
Awaiting the arrival of reigning champions Chelsea for the Danish side's first home match in the UEFA Champions League, Nordsjælland coach Kasper Hjulmand admitted his club were revelling in the occasion and called for his players to show their mettle on Tuesday night.

"We are really looking forward to this match. We are proud to be here and out first home game is going to be special. We are happy and proud to be in the Champions League. We are a young club – only 10 years old – and we are progressing slowly. We have won back-to-back cups and then last season we won the title.

"This is the biggest test of all," he added. "Chelsea are the reigning champions of Europe and top of the English Premier League. They are one of the best clubs in the world. We have to trust ourselves, help each other out and show courage. The key words for us are dedication, joy and courage. We must do our best to play our style of football."

 

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Dmitri Rogovitski in Moscow:
Zenit duo Domenico Criscito and Nicolas Lombaerts are set to wear protective masks during tomorrow's clash with Milan as both defenders suffered facial injuries against Lokomotiv Moskva on Saturday. Italian full-back Criscito injured his cheek-bone, while Lombaerts broke his nose. Axel Witsel returned to full training and has a chance to play on Wednesday, while Sergei Semak and Danny are still some way from returning.

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Stefan Lecca from the Manchester United press conference:
Despite the difference in size between the two clubs, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is not taking lightly the threat CFR pose to a United team that was caught cold by the Swiss champions in last season's competition. The stalwart United boss talked about respect, and hinted that he has fully done his homework on Tuesday's opponents.

"We saw CFR in the last game against Braga and they've beaten Basel twice in the last few years," Ferguson said, "and Basel knocked us out, so we need to give them every respect. That tells you they're a good team. CFR are a team who defend quickly and get plenty of bodies behind the ball. Their main strength is the counterattack, as they showed against Braga. Counterattacking is very important in European football these days."

United defender Jonny Evans, who will partner Rio Ferdinand in central defence, added: "I can't think of a specific threat from CFR, but you can't go away from home in the Champions League and get lucky. Cluj scored two goals and kept a clean sheet [in Braga]. They're obviously a good side and deserve our respect."

 

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UEFA.com Portuguese newsdesk:
The Portuguese press have been warming up for the Braga and Benfica matches on Tuesday by highlighting the men central to any potential success.

"Braga in Turkey with a lot of faith in Éder," said A Bola about the UEFA Champions League match against Galatasaray, while Record called for Lima to start for Benfica on its front page. "Lima knows how it's done," it said, underlining that the attacker scored a hat-trick the last time he met Spanish opposition, in Braga's win at Sevilla FC. "Aimar is the key in Champions League matches," it added of another key Benfica player.
 
O Jogo's headline "Jesus saw how to frame Barça" is a reference to the Benfica coach's presence in Spain this weekend, where he watched Sevilla score twice against Barcelona on Saturday. "Danilo and Varela to break the safe," added the paper, stating that Porto coach Vítor Pereira would explore the wings to overcome the threat of PSG.

 

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Carlos Machado from the Benfica press conference:
Benfica
coach Jorge Jesus knows exactly the size of the task looming before Benfica on Tuesday night, but is taking every confidence from Barcelona's recent defensive displays as he targets a point from the Spanish side's visit.

"They are the top team in the world in planned attacking," said Jesus. "But they had some problems against Spartak and Sevilla [conceding twice in each game] which prove that they are not perfect. Our coaches have studied them well and you could see why Barcelona were losing [goals in] those matches. When they lost the ball, the opposition counterattacked sometimes with danger and managed to score.

"It will be a big European night like past seasons, the big difference this time is that the opponent is Barcelona. The atmosphere will be great and we want to perform well against them, if possible by earning a point. In the Champions League, simply not losing these matches is a good result."



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Carlos Machado from the Benfica press conference:
The match against Barcelona tomorrow will be an emotional one in particular for one of Benfica's squad. Winger Nolito learnt his trade at the Blaugrana, even graduating to make a couple of appearances for the first team before moving to Portugal.

"It’s a special game for me as I played for Barcelona most of my career," said Nolito ahead of the match, "so it will be a pleasure to play them. After the draw at Celtic we face a tough opponent but despite that we want to get the three points. It's still just 11 players in each team. To beat them we know that we have to run and fight a lot. Barcelona are favourites, but if we play our best it's possible to win."

 

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Pelle Rasmussen from the Chelsea press conference:
A confident Petr Čech has told the reporters at Parken that he really likes to visit Denmark because of the good opposition and the football-crazy fans. He said he could feel the Danish side's motivation for Chelsea's visit and though he acknowledged that "as reigning champions we are favourites", he said they would be happy to win by the narrowest of margins. "Any victory would be a good result," said the Czech goalkeeper, "we've come here for the three points."

 

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Ben Gladwell from the Shakhtar press conference:
Much of the attention ahead of Shakhtar's trip to Juventus is focused on Andrea Pirlo, the midfield playmaker who is arguably the inspiration of the Bianconeri side, as well as the architect of many of their attacks. He is a player that coach Mircea Lucescu knows inside out, and one that midfielder Fernandinho will be charged with stifling.

"I know Andrea Pirlo very well," said Lucescu at his press conference. "When I worked at Brescia, he was 15 and a half and was already attracting attention. We have stayed in contact since. His development has been exceptional and I am convinced that, with all he has done last year in the league and for Italy, he deserved to win the Ballon d'Or. He should have won it to crown his career. Pirlo is in great form, and for me, he is always number one."

Added Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho: "Pirlo is a great player and he has shown in his career that he always produces great games. I hope we are able to stop him tomorrow. There are difficulties in every game, but we have studied Juve well and we know their strengths so I hope that will make the difference on the pitch."

 

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Elvir Islamović in Croatia
Although Dinamo defender Luis Ibáñez missed the derby last Saturday against Hajduk Split because of a knee injury, he claimed today that he has fully recovered. "My injury is in the past now, I have completely recovered and I am ready to play". Goalkeeper Ivan Kelava is also feeling better after a flu, meaning the only player still recovering from a long-term injury is midfielder Ivan Tomečak (pubic bone). Dinamo are travelling tomorrow morning at 9am by charter flight from Zagreb to Kiev.

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Pelle Rasmussen from the Chelsea press conference:
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo took the time to praise tomorrow's opponents, Nordsjælland, who have come a long way in a short space of time, but reinforced the importance of a first victory of the European campaign for the Blues.

"Nordsjælland is a fantastic story of a club winning the title with a young coach by playing attractive football," said Di Matteo. "They are a strong team who like to keep the ball, which they showed against Shakhtar."

He added: "For us tomorrow is the most important match in the group after we drew our last match against Juventus. We prepare for every game in the same way. We know from the past that there are not any easy games in the Champions League. It is a crucial game for us. We are favourites on paper and a win would help in what we are aiming for."

 

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Peter Brunn in Copenhagen
Nordsjælland midfielder Søren Christensen is relishing a "special" occasion when his side host European champions Chelsea. "This is a great challenge for us," said the 26-year-old, who could make his UEFA Champions League debut. "We need luck to get something out of the game but there is always something special about meeting a team who are superior to us on paper. At the end of the day it's just 11 versus 11 and we should keep the faith."

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Paolo Menicucci in Milan:
Milan landed in St Petersburg without defender Francesco Acerbi, who was not included in the squad for Wednesday's game due to a slight knee injury. Pato is also missing as the 23-year-old continues his recovery from a thigh injury. The Brazilian striker, however, did train with the team this morning and is close to returning to action.

 

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Dmitri Rogovitski from Moscow:
Spartak had 23 players participating in pre-match training at their base in Tarasovka, including team captain Andriy Dykan. The goalkeeper worked on his own, however, and will definitely miss tomorrow's game with a shoulder injury. Meanwhile forward Welliton and full-back Evgeni Makeev returned to full training, the latter's scan having revealed a simple bruise.

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Santiago Solsona from the Lille press conference:
LOSC coach Rudi Garcia spoke to the media ahead of the clash against Valencia, and spoke of staying calm despite a disappointing start to the season for the 2010/11 French champions, insisting that Tuesday's opponents were in the same boat.

"Our team have conceded more goals than we have done in previous years, but every game is a different story and we will fight to change this," said Garcia. "We must not change or doubt our entire system, we must try to change a couple of things and improve our effectiveness. Tomorrow we need to score at the Mestalla because we lost our home game, so we must get something positive there. Valencia are very similar to us and need to score and get a victory."

They were sentiments echoed by right-back Mathieu Debuchy: "We did not come with any kind of complex, we have strong belief and we trust we can beat Valencia tomorrow. I know my colleagues; we have a great team [able] to get through this unwanted situation. In the French league we are having a tough time but next Saturday we hope to win and be in a nice position."

 

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Vassiliki Papantonopoulou in Athens
Olympiacos have suffered a blow ahead of their trip to Arsenal on Wednesday with the news that Algeria forward Rafik Djebbour, who was rested for last Saturday's league encounter with Atromitos FC, has failed to recover from a thigh injury. Ljubomir Fejsa (groin), Vassilis Torossidis (thigh) and Tassos Papazoglou (shoulder) also remain sidelined, while François Modesto faces a late fitness test.

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Türker Tozar in Istanbul
Braga
midfielder Mossoró insists his side will travel to Istanbul with "no fear". "Of course it will be a difficult match," said the diminutive Brazilian. "We have prepared for the game in the best way possible and I'm convinced we can play well and come away with a result. We have no fear. Galatasaray are a team who we have analysed. They have a very powerful midfield and they link up nicely with the forwards. Manchester United are the favourites to progress from the group but second spot is very much up for grabs."

 

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Carlos Machado from the Barcelona press conference:
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova took the hotseat to speak to the media before the Benfica fixture and immediately dismissed Jorge Jesus's claims that the Eagles would be happy to play for a draw. He voiced his concerns about a dangerous-looking Benfica attack, even one shorn of Óscar Cardozo.

"I don't think that Benfica sit in their midfield, waiting for us," said Vilanova. "It's their first home game and I don't believe that they will play to draw and that they are happy with earning just one point. Benfica's coach definitely wants to win at home, in front of their fans. It won't be easy for us as we know from our two last matches here, where we didn't score [both goalless draws].

"They are strong in attack and dangerous on the flanks. Benfica's attack worries me, but we play our way. Sevilla also had good wingers and created danger on the counter, but what is important here is not to lose identity and keep our style of play. Tomorrow we'll see who can play for us and then we analyse out opponent's threats."

Midfielder Javier Mascherano added: "We know from our last game where we need to improve. But the attitude and will to win are there, which is the most important thing. I know Benfica well having played here for Liverpool in the 2009/10 Europa League. I have lots of respect for them and I know the atmosphere will be rocking. It's not a vital week, though, because nothing will be decided."

 

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Elvir Islamović in Croatia:
Dinamo coach Ante Čačić has said that his team are heading to Kyiv in search of a victory: "In the dressing room after the win against Hajduk Split we agreed that we were travelling to Kyiv for our first victory and our first million euros. I want us to do everything possible to stay in Europe all through the winter. If we do our best, I will not blame anyone if we fail. Dynamo Kyiv have much more experience and more quality than us at the moment, but we are justified in thinking we can get something from this match."

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That's all from the blog today. Stay with UEFA.com for all the latest news ahead of Tuesday's slew of group stage fixtures and join us tomorrow from 9.00CET as the countdown to matchday two continues.

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Welcome back! We'll have all the build-up to the first slate of games on matchday two until 18.00CET when the MatchCentre will take you to the final whistle.

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Paul-Daniel Zaharia from Bucharest:
CFR's Rafael Bastos has been speaking to Gazeta Sporturilor ahead of tonight's meeting with United: "We have beaten Braga, but now it's something else. United are a true force of European football. We want to make history and I am sure that we will play this season in the knock-out stages, at least in the UEFA Europa League."

In the same newspaper, the goalkeeper Mário Felgueiras said: "I really am not interested in swapping shirts after the match. It is a pleasure to play against Manchester United, but they have to respect us as well. Maybe we know most of their players from TV, but now we play in the same competition. Of course, the chances of the two sides are not 50-50, but we can spring a surprise."

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Philip Röber from Munich (@UEFAcomPhilipR):
Following criticism from sporting director Matthias Sammer of their "wishy-washy" spells during last Saturday's 2-0 victory against Bremen on Saturday, Bayern have arrived in Belarus for what the daily newspaper Die Welt considers a "journey into the unknown". The paper also quotes Philipp Lahm: "We know we've achieved nothing yet. It's a good start, but we can play even better than we did at the weekend," while Franck Ribéry told BILD: "Sammer's warning has been understood by the team. It is time to focus again and get three points".

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Vladimir Bogachov from Minsk:
Bayern
goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is expecting a tough outing in Minsk. "BATE are a serious, disciplined side, very good defensively. Thus we have to approach this game in the right frame of mind. I do not feel relaxed at all. It is important to keep the concentration and avoid conceding or concede as few goals as possible, because everybody knows our attacking potential."

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Vladimir Bogachov from Minsk:
Bayern's Anatoliy Tymoshchuk
, who played against BATE in the UEFA Champions League group stage as Zenit captain in 2008 added: "It is very pleasant to be in Belarus again. Belarus and Ukraine were the parts of the same country not a very long time ago. I was in Minsk with my parents as a child, and walked through the streets of this city. I try to keep up with events in the countries neighbouring Ukraine, so I am familiar with many things here."

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Ian Holyman from Paris (@UEFAcomIanH):
Speaking to L'Equipe, Valencia former Montpellier midfielder Tino Costa said he is looking forward to meeting LOSC: "They're a quality team, but for us to go far in this competition, we have to win. Our main aim this season is to reach the knockout stages, which we weren't able to do last season. We're at home, and Lille have to be made aware of that and understand it won't be easy."

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Türker Tozar in Istanbul:
Speaking on Turkish TV, Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim confirmed midfielder Hamit Altıntop won't be included in the 18-man match squad to play Braga due to the thigh injury he sustained against Orduspor last Friday. Aydın Yılmaz, Emre Çolak or Nordin Amrabat may plug the gap on the right side of midfield.

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French UEFA.com newsdesk in Paris:
It's only the second round of games in Group F, but Lille's local newspaper La Voix des Sports is concerned about their side's future in the UEFA Champions League. "The stakes are high for the Northerners after they were routed by BATE. Another setback could dash their hopes of advancing and add more doubt to the current situation." L'Equipe is hardly more optimistic: "To get out of a downturn, there are better places than Spain. LOSC, who have poor statistics – two wins in two months – have put themselves in a tough position having used their Belarusian 'get out of jail' card from the off."

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Elvir Islamović from Zagreb (@UEFAcomElvirI):
"I believe we can do something good in Kyiv, we just need to be brave. I talked to Niko (Kranjčar) and Ogi (Ognjen Vukojević) and they told me we will play in a fantastic atmosphere," said Dinamo defender Josip Šimunić at Zagreb airport this morning. Portuguese defender Tonel also called someone in Ukraine's capital: "I talked to Veloso, we are facing a very difficult match there. They will definitely improve after changing coaches, and it will be a full stadium, but we don't care, we are going there to take the three points. Of course, we need to be smart, as a draw would be good result for us."

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Graham Hunter, en route to Valencia (@UEFAcomGrahamH):
Valencia's leading UEFA Champions League scorer, Roberto Soldado, told me ahead of their match against LOSC that: "This is the optimum competition, the most beautiful you can play in. You feel the importance because every weekend in your domestic championship, it's what you strive for. You're defending the colours of your team against all of Europe. I just hope the ratio of goals I get in the Champions League stays the same and that they mean something important for the team." The Valencia-born forward has 12 strikes in 17 matches in the competition so far.

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Paolo Menicucci, en route to Turin (@UEFAcomPaoloM):
Even if it takes only 44 minutes with the train I booked for my trip from Milan to Turin for the game between Juventus and Shakhtar, I predict a difficult day for travelling around Italy. There is a huge local transport strike today with bus, tram and metro services affected. I am confident that everything will be fine with the train but it will be tough to reach the station here in Milan and the stadium from the station in Turin. I'm reading that the strike has already created traffic chaos in Milan (without mentioning that the town is loaded with Lady Gaga fans for her concert tonight). Fortunately, the sun is shining here and I'm ready for long walks.

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Pedro Gonçalves in Lisbon (@UEFAcomPedroG):
"Benfica not afraid of the stars" is the headline from A Bola with Benfica coach Jorge Jesus talking about a "difficult game" but that his team "will show no fear". The newspaper also refers the possibility of Rodrigo Moreno making way for the return of Pablo Aimar to the starting XI.

"Winning is the motto for the warriors in Istanbul", says the same newspaper regarding Braga's match at Galatasaray. "From the president to the coach and players, they all know that only victory matters, because next there is a double encounter with Manchester United."

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Berend Scholten in Brussels (@UEFAcomBerendS):
Málaga's USA defender Oguchi Onyewu played in Belgium for Standard between 2004 and 2009, and celebrated two Belgian titles in Liege together with current Anderlecht forwards Milan Jovanović and Dieudonné Mbokani. Onyewu told La Derniere Heure newspaper: "We must not underestimate Anderlecht. They can surprise in this group, but not against us. In Spain, we are above Real Madrid in the table for a good reason."

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Alex O'Henley in Glasgow (@UEFAcomAlexO):
"I'll be back," is the back-page lead in the Scottish Sun with Spartak winger Aiden McGeady revealing he wants to end his career by returning to Celtic. "When I left I always thought it would be good one day to go back to Celtic," McGeady tells the tabloid. "Whether that's now, next year or at the end of my career no one knows."

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German UEFA.com newsdesk:
Jermaine Jones (ankle) and Jefferson Farfán (ankle) are both major injury doubts for Schalke ahead of their Group B meeting with Montpellier in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday. While the latter has had the problem for some time, Jones sustained his injury in Monday's training session in a challenge with team-mate Marco Höger.

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Artem Nefedyev in St Petersburg:
After defeat by Málaga, the match with Milan has taken on added significance for Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti. "After the first round of matches, we're in an unpleasant situation. We need to win to get our confidence back, and everything else will come with that. Zenit is not the team that has won two matches in its last eight, but more the one you have seen previously," said the Italian. "Both clubs are not in the best shape right now. This game could help turn the situation round, and be fundamental for both sides."

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Paolo Menicucci en route to Turin (@UEFAcomPaoloM):
Turin newspaper Tuttosport focus on Juventus' defensive strength ahead of the game with Shakhtar. "A defence made of iron" is the headline. "Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini are three giants, in the last three games in Serie A, Juventus have conceded only one goal and that was from a penalty. Overall, three in six games, more or less the same average of last season. 'Barza' is now as famous as Usain Bolt after his coast-to-coast with the ball against AS Roma before the assist to [Sebastian] Giovinco for Juve's fourth goal."

Meanwhile, La Stampa quoted Chiellini from yesterday's press conference: "The big improvement now is that our fans can dream of winning the Champions League, a couple of years ago they could not even dare to do that."

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Pedro Gonçalves in Lisbon (@UEFAcomPedroG):
Portuguese newspaper Record depicts a voodoo doll wearing a Barcelona jersey and full of needles, each one representing the details of the strategy for Benfica to beat the Spanish giants. "Anti Barça Plan" says the headline, stating: "It will take a whole lot of magic to beat the Catalonian giants."

"Barça exposes themselves and have flaws" is the headline from O Jogo, with Benfica coach Jorge Jesus stating he is not afraid of Barcelona and that one point would be good for his team. "Aimar to put Messi on alert", adds the newspaper, suggesting the Argentina midfielder could return to the Benfica starting XI.

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Nick Aitken in Manchester:
Having negotiated the rush-hour traffic to reach Manchester City’s customary 11.00CET pre-European game press conference, the torrential rain has suddenly halted to be replaced by bright sunshine ahead of the arrival of Roberto Mancini and Yaya Touré. The City boss will be hoping for a similar turnaround in the team's continental fortunes after their dramatic 3-2 opening group loss at Madrid.

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Steffen Potter in Gelsenkirchen (@UEFAcomSteffenP):
"With the win in Piraeus, we have started the Champions League well," said Schalke forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who scored the opening goal in his club's 2-2 draw with Fortuna Düsseldorf last Friday, a game in which Huub Stevens's men squandered a 2-0 lead. "Now we want to register our first home win against Montpellier. To do so, we have to do things better than we did in the second half in Düsseldorf."

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German UEFA.com newsdesk:
Bayern midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk will come up against some familiar faces in the BATE side: "I have met some BATE players playing for the Ukrainian national side, and was here in 2008 with Zenit. BATE are a well-organised side, tenacious opponents, who brought home three points from Lille. That is why the game will be very interesting. I think BATE play more compact and disciplined football away. I felt that during my time at Zenit. I follow BATE with much interest and I like their development. BATE are moving in the right direction."

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Nick Aitken from City's pre-match press conference in Manchester:
Though expecting a stern test in their Group D meeting with Dortmund at the City of Manchester Stadium, Yaya Touré believes Wednesday's game is already a must-win affair for City. "I think it's going to be a tough, massive game tomorrow. We'll need to improve on our performance in Madrid and work really hard as Dortmund are a fantastic team. They all defend together and attack together," said the former Barcelona midfielder.

"But we need a good result for our fans. We know we want to do it and we can do it. We're already in a delicate position [in the group], but we've got our first game at home and we want to show the fans we can make up for the mistakes we made in Madrid and get a good result tomorrow."

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Ben Gladwell in Turin:
You can tell how much the UEFA Champions League has been missed in Turin – parking the Ford-sponsored UEFA Champions League car outside a cafe-bar for a traditional Italian breakfast this morning drew a crowd of onlookers. From the elderly locals wondering what had just parked outside their traditional haunt to the younger dwellers, fully aware of the significance of the car's arrival: it means that Juventus are finally back where they want to be.

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UEFA.com Spanish newsdesk:
It being Málaga's first UEFA Champions League away trip in the club's history, no detail is being left unreported ahead of tomorrow night's game against Anderlecht. "The squad began arriving at the local airport this morning at 07.30 and along with players, technical staff and directors, around 90 fans and a score of reporters boarded the charter flight to Brussels [which left at 09.30]," explains El Diario Sur.

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Vassiliki Papantonopoulou in Athens (@UEFAcomVassilikiP):
Olympiacos
flew to London this morning ahead of Wednesday's meeting with Arsenal. "Our aim is to perform well. We are not the favourites in this match, yet in football you never know what can happen," said coach Leonardo Jardim in the airport. As for Spanish attacking midfielder David Fuster, he pointed out this season's Arsenal are better than the team they faced one year ago when he scored in a 2-1 defeat. The reason for the Gunners' improvement, says Fuster, is a fellow Spaniard: "The inclusion of Santi Cazorla has benefited them a lot."

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Carlos Jorge Santos in Porto:
O Jogo praises Porto's 'El Comandante' Lucho González. The Argentinian defeated PSG four times while he was playing at Marseille. "Yes, Ibrahimović has won 16 trophies in his career," the paper writes. "But Porto's captain has 19, the last being the Super Cup at the beginning of the season." They end the piece reminding us that the Portuguese champions have never lost to French teams at home in UEFA competition.

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UEFA.com Spanish newsdesk:
Ahead of Madrid's final training session in Valdebebas prior to departing for Amsterdam where they face Ajax for a third consecutive season on Wednesday night, national daily ABC mulls over coach José Mourinho's starting options for the Group D encounter.

"Perhaps with the match against the Dutch champions in mind, the Portuguese tactician gave one of the pillars of his midfield – Xabi Alonso – a rare break at the weekend with the midfielder only coming on in the second half of the victory against Deportivo," the paper explains. "Against Ajax, the pieces on the board will most likely fall back into their regular positions" such as Álvaro Arbeloa returning at full-back.

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UEFA.com Spanish newsdesk:
The sports pages of national daily El Mundo make for interesting reading this morning with the newspaper pointing to Lionel Messi's admiration for Pablo Aimar as one of the fascinating aspects surrounding this evening's encounter between Benfica and Barcelona. "When facing the Portuguese side tonight, Messi will be lining up against one of the idols of his youth in Pablo Aimar," the publication explains before saying that the older of the two Argentinians looks to have recovered from a leg injury to feature in the Group G encounter.

"Messi doesn't talk much but he always used to say that he loved the style of football played by Aimar," former Argentina coach Sergio Batista is quoted as saying. "He was one of the few players of whom Messi would ask for a shirt at the end of games."

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Denis Orlov from Minsk: 
Soon after the UEFA Champions League group stage draw, BATE fans were invited to play a friendly against Bayern fan-club representatives from Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and Azerbaijan. They met on the eve of the match in Minsk playing a five-a-side match of two 25-minute halves. The BATE fans celebrated a convincing 6-0 victory, and both sides exchanged memorabilia after the final whistle.

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Jamie Reid at London Colney:
Here at Arsenal's north London base, training is under way on a beautiful autumnal morning. There is a very special guest observing matters today – multiple Olympic champion Michael Johnson. The American athlete has an ongoing relationship with the club, having welcomed a number of the youth team to his training facility in Dallas over the summer. There is no official word on what he is doing, but he spent the entire training session deep in conversation with Arsenal assistant manager Steve Bould. Arsène Wenger's press conference is coming up in just under 30 minutes, where I'm sure we will find out more.

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Nick Aitken from Manchester City's pre-match press conference:
"The Champions League is a different competition but the football is the same and it's still 11 versus 11," said Manchester City supremo Roberto Mancini, when quizzed on his managerial record in the competition to date. "The problem is you're always playing against other countries' best teams, which means it's always difficult. I hope I can improve my record in the Champions League and I think that we are capable of winning it, but we're in a tough group again."

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Graham Hunter (@UEFAcomGrahamH), en route to Valencia:
Valencia and LOSC met as recently as 2009/10 in the UEFA Europa League but it's an indication of how quickly times change at the top level that three out of the four scorers across those two contests are now at other clubs. From the 3-1 home win at Mestalla, scorers Joaquín and Juan Mata are at Málaga CF and Chelsea FC respectively. Mata and Gervinho, now a key striker for Arsenal FC, notched in the 1-1 draw in France leaving only LOSC's Cameroon centre-back Aurélien Chedjou (pictured), the scorer of the consolation goal in Valencia, who is still on his club's books.

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Artem Nefedyev at Stadion Petrovski:
Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti is not taking matters lightly ahead of the Russian champions' meeting with Milan. With both sides enduring difficult starts to the season – Zenit have two wins in eight, Milan two from seven – he told the media at this morning's press conference that their whole campaigns could rest on tomorrow's outcome. "Milan are enduring the same loss of form that we are and for both teams this meeting is critical for morale and even fundamental for the future of them both," said the former AS Roma boss.

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Trevor Haylett, en route to Denmark:
On the Copenhagen flight from London Gatwick with a band of Chelsea fans. The banter is lively and it's clear they're delighted to be resuming their UEFA Champions League travels which last took them to Munich and that never-to-be-forgotten night when they lifted the trophy for the first time.

The talk is about why it is that Roberto Di Matteo still manages to attract criticism in some quarters, Denmark's proximity to Scotland in latitudinal terms and how diabetes can be excerbated by excess alcohol. The threat posed by Nordsjælland barely rates comment but on their arrival in Copenhagen, where early-morning rain has given way to sunshine, you can expect that the local population, eager to cheer on the Danish team in their home debut in the competition, will put them straight on that.    

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UEFA.com Spanish newsdesk:
Prior to Málaga's departure for Brussels this morning, club captain Weligton (pictured) said Los Boquerones would be looking to add to their impressive 3-0 opening Group C win against Zenit. "While realising that the game against Anderlecht won't be at all easy, we know we can win anywhere," he said. "We have to keep playing as we have been up until now as we've been doing things perfectly." Manuel Pellegrini will put his team through their paces at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium at 19.00CET.

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Paolo Menicucci (@UEFAcomPaoloM):
Gazzetta dello Sport have a nice feature on Luciano Spalletti and Massimiliano Allegri on the eve of the game between Zenit and Milan with a photo of each coach (Spalletti sporting long hair!) when they played for UC Cuoiopelli in the early 1980s. There is an interview with Alberti Lazzerini, the coach who brought Spalletti to Santa Croce sull'Arno for the 1979/80 Serie D season.

"He was a beast, running all over the pitch for 90 minutes," Lazzerini recalls. "On Saturday nights we used to find him in discos and his explanation was: 'I cannot sleep anyway on the eve of games, here at least I can listen to some music'. We couldn't complain because the day after he was covering more ground than any of his team-mates."

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Ricardo Candido at the Amsterdam ArenA:
"Maybe the toughest group ever" is how Ajax midfielder Christian Poulsen has described his team's section, which also includes Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund, the Dutch champions' matchday one conquerors. "We did many things right in Dortmund and we should start from there and play the football that Ajax can play," said the 32-year-old Danish international. "The next step for the team is to get a good result here."

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Carlos Jorge Santos at the Estádio do Dragão:
Ahead of his side's contest with PSG, Porto midfielder João Moutinho was in today's press conference. He said: "It will be a very hard match. They have a very good team, with very good players, but we have them as well. We all know Pastore, but PSG are a team, we can't only look at one player's quality." Moutinho is keen his side play their own game in the Group A meeting. "We have to maintain our identity, our style and level of play in order to win tomorrow."

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Alex O'Henley in Glasgow (@UEFAcomAlexO):
Today's Herald leads with Neil Lennon's comment that tonight's game against Spartak Moskva represents an "Acid Test" of Celtic's mental maturity. The Hoops have a disappointing away record in the UEFA Champions League having lost 19 of 20 matches on the road but following away wins in Helsinki and Helsingborg during qualification, Lennon is hoping his players have broken through a mental barrier. The broadsheet also comments on the Rolls Royce car on the ground floor of their luxury hotel, saying the image serves as a reminder of the opulent surroundings of the competition.

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Pelle Rasmussen at Parken, Copenhagen:
The calm before the storm at Parken Stadium where the locals are enjoying a jot of quiet reflection amidst the hectic, big city life. It a bit strange to see FC København's usual home covered in Nordsjælland colours, but the latter have done a great job in making the place feel like their own and the home fans will have no complaints about playing away from their usual Farum Park when their first ever UEFA Champions League home match kicks off at 20.45 tonight.


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Artem Nefedyev at Stadion Petrovski:
Riccardo Montolivo already has experience at this level, when at ACF Fiorentina two years ago, and is excited about returning to Europe's top table with Milan. "I am glad to be involved in the biggest club tournament again – to accept a new challenge and show my best," said the 27-year-old, who missed out on matchday one. "Playing for the national team has brought me to a new level and with each match we look better. We are still finding our way, tactically, but I am sure we will find the best option – for me, and the team."

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Türker Tozar in Istanbul:
Excitement levels are at their height as Galatasaray's home ground Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi will host its first match in European club competition today. It will be Galatasaray's first UEFA Champions League match in six years and this has upped anticipation levels still further. Fan choreography will play an important part in the glorious atmosphere tonight with one group preparing for a secret visual show for the Braga tie under the slogan "Let's be red, from top to bottom".

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Paul-Daniel Zaharia in Bucharest:
Romanian paper Pro Sport is asking the question: "Who is more fiendish? The Vampires from Cluj, or the Red Devils from Manchester? Either way, we can beat them!"

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Graham Hunter, en route to Valencia:
LOSC come into tonight's match at the Mestalla with problems aplenty. Defeat by Stade Rennais FC at the weekend means that Rudi Garcia's side have won only once in their last eight matches in all competitions - the extra-time victory over FC København which put them in the group stage. To make matters worse, captain Rio Mavuba is doubtful with a knee problem and Marvin Martin (adductor) faces a race to prove his fitness.

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Jamie Reid at London Colney:
Young Arsenal right-back Carl Jenkinson has been deputising for the injured Bacary Sagna and is enjoying the chance to compete in the UEFA Champions League. "I'm just enjoying things at the moment, and I'm enjoying playing regularly," said the 20-year-old. "It's been a whirlwind year, definitely. I've realised that in football there's always ups and downs and it's about trying to keep a level head. You're always going to have downs in football, and you're always going to have ups as well. I've just tried to not take the downs too personally, concentrate on my own game and just try to respond."

A 2-1 defeat against Chelsea FC at the weekend ended the Gunners' unbeaten start in the Premier League, but – with Wednesday's game against Olympiacos looming – Jenkinson says his side remain optimistic. "Everyone believes that the sky is the limit," he said. "We really believe in ourselves and we have the ability. But as I keep saying, we want to take every game one by one – starting with the game tomorrow."

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Pelle Rasmussen at Parken, Copenhagen:
UEFA have a team of drivers responsible for VIP and media transport to and from the Parken. All of them know Copenhagen like the back of their hands, which can be useful given the occasionally very heavy traffic in the Danish capital. Former Liverpool FC star Jan Molby is one of the stars who has benefited from the drivers' expertise today.

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Artem Nefedyev in St Petersburg:
Zenit's Italian left-back Domenico Criscito maintains that it will be business as usual when the Russian champions come up against Serie A opponents on Wednesday, in the form of AC Milan. "The fact that we are up against an Italian team is a pleasant additional detail for me, but no more than that," said the 25-year-old, formerly of Juventus and Genoa CFC. "In every game, me and my team-mates give 100%, regardless of the opponents. Stephan El Shaarawy has been playing well recently for Milan, but you cannot forget about their other players. They have a lot of players who can turn a game."

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Steffen Potter in Gelsenkirchen:
Schalke's young captain Benedikt Höwedes is adamant that his side are a different beast in Europe than they are in the Bundesliga, after they let a 2-0 lead slip to draw 2-2 against Fortuna Düsseldorf 1895 at the weekend. "League and Champions League - that's two different animals," said the 24-year-old. "We showed that two years ago. We did not do well in the league, but went a long way in the Champions League [reaching the 2010/11 semi-finals].

"For us, the Düsseldorf match is a thing of the past," he added, with his side eager to build on a matchday one win against Olympiacos when they take on Montpellier. "We are really looking forward to the match against Montpellier. We worked hard in the league last year to qualify. In Piraeus, we showed that we can hold our own on the international stage. We played a great match and deserved to win. Playing in Piraeus is enormously difficult – we saw that last year. Wins like that give you a boost, and that's how we can perform again tomorrow."

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Carlos Jorge Santos in Porto:
There is one PSG player who the Portuguese press cannot stop talking about in the run-up to Porto's game against the French side: Zlatan Ibrahimović. "The Swede is the focal point of Ancelotti's team," writes O Jogo. "He has scored nine goals in seven matches, but he's not just there for goals; the forward averages the most passes of any player in Ligue 1 [42.2], meaning that he's not just a striker."

A Bola, meanwhile, has brought back some memories for PSG centre-back Thiago Silva, who spent a season in Porto's reserve team before being released in 2005. The Brazilian said: "I would have loved to wear the blue-and-white. Porto are a great team, with a very good structure and fantastic players. The match will be special."

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Steffen Potter in Gelsenkirchen:
Schalke turned up for their training session 30 minutes late after being held back for a video session about tomorrow's opponents, Montpellier. There is good and bad news on the injury front. Jefferson Farfán (ankle) trained with the team and seemed to have no problems, but Jermaine Jones (ankle) was absent. Earlier today, coach Huub Stevens had his doubts about both players' chances for tomorrow's match, but it could still be that Jones will be available.

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Paolo Menicucci in Turin:
Juventus are expecting fans from all over Europe for their first UEFA Champions League game at their new stadium. Ticket requests have come from three fan clubs in Russia, and others in Malta, Germany, Slovenia, France, Switzerland, Belgium and Norway. I spoke to three Juventus-shirted fans outside a cafe in central Turin. They were from Bari and had taken the chance to spend a few days in Turin and watch two games, starting with the 4-1 Serie A win against AS Roma on Saturday. "It was great to destroy Roma the way we did – we have a great team," Salvo said. "Now another win against Shakthar and the party will be perfect." Time for me to move towards the stadium.

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Berend Scholten in Brussels:
Coach John van den Brom fancies his side's chances as Anderlecht await the visit of a Málaga side who won 3-0 at home against Zenit on matchday one. "Everyone is fit, we have the same squad as last Saturday," he said. "So if you take all that in consideration ‒ the confidence we have, the home advantage which can also make a difference ‒ then we are capable of doing something good."

The Dutchman added: "Málaga play good football, but they also let their opponents play. We will see who has most possession. In the match against [Athletic Club] Bilbao that I watched, I think the possession was about 50/50. I made it clear to my players that we have chances for tomorrow. No matter how good the opponent, you can never settle for a negative result before the match. I really have faith."

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Elvir Islamović in Zagreb:
Croatian daily sports newspaper Sportske novosti are reminding their readers that Dinamo have reasons to be optimistic as they take on Dynamo Kyiv. "Dinamo beat Dynamo 1-0 last summer in a friendly match in Austria. Domagoj Vida scored the goal. It's nice to have that fact somewhere in mind. Although, of course, it will not be a comfort for team from Zagreb. Dinamo's formation should be 4-2-3-1, but it seems to us that it will look more like 4-5-1 as coach Ante Čačić wants to have a more solid midfield and a strong block in the middle to stop Dynamo’s strong attacks."

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UEFA.com Spanish newsdesk:
Valencia players may wish to avoid leafing through the pages of local newspaper Las Provincias as they count down the hours to this evening's LOSC encounter. The publication's match preview makes for nervous reading with the headline: "Mestalla looks to banish ghosts."

Mauricio Pellegrino's men lost their opening game in the section against Bayern, and according to Las Provincias, can ill afford another setback tonight. "For the first time in their nine participations in the UEFA Champions League, Valencia were defeated in their opening game and a further slip-up now could be the beginning of the end."

The paper adds that, since celebrating a semi-final victory against Villarreal CF on their way to winning the 2004 UEFA Cup, Valencia fans have had their share of rough nights at Mestalla. "The ghosts of Werder Bremen and Hamburg; that decisive goal by Michael Essien, then at Chelsea; memories of Rosenborg, Dynamo Kyiv and Atlético; all need to be laid to rest for good."

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Stefan Lecca and Paul-Daniel Zaharia in Cluj-Napoca:
Around 1,200 Manchester United fans are expected at tonight's game at CFR, but the city of Cluj-Napoca is having no problems in dealing with its visitors; no traffic jams, no transport issues, and a fanzone has been set up in the pedestrianised area of the city centre to welcome supporters of the English club.

With 30C temperatures in Transylvania, plenty of those United fans are enjoying Cluj-Napoca's cafes and bars, with one of them confidently predicting a long night. "Van Persie, Rooney and Anderson will score and we will celebrate until tomorrow morning," he said. "We have already found some terraces that are open all night."

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Philip Röber in Munich:
Before boarding the plane for Bayern's flight to Belarus, winger Xherdan Shaqiri said: "It's difficult to stop us these days." That comment might have been addressed to the thieves who stole the number plates from Bayern's team bus in Bremen last weekend, with the club quickly getting replacements and sending the luxury transport off to Minsk on Saturday night. It arrived in time to pick the players up from the airport, and now it is down to BATE to see if they can become the first team to frustrate the Bavarian giants, who have not dropped a point in a competitive fixture this season.

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Go to the UEFA.com MatchCentre for live coverage of all of tonight's fixtures.

UEFA.com's live coverage of the game between Spartak and Celtic is under way.

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Artem Nefedyev from St Petersburg:
Zenit midfielder Viktor Fayzulin says that his coach Luciano Spalletti has called their upcoming meeting with Milan "the match of the year". The 26-year-old added: "If we win, the mood in the team will improve, and that could be a psychological game-changer. It is about time, but it will not be easy: Milan are better than Lokomotiv [who drew 1-1 at Zenit this weekend]."

Sport Weekend is worried that "if Zenit do not score first, Milan will overrun them" and feels that stamina will be a crucial factor , adding: "Spalletti's players do not only have to be quick for the whole 90 minutes, they have to be ready to fight for the match as well."

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Türker Tozar in Istanbul:
Turkish daily newspaper Milliyet claims that Galatasaray forward Johan Elmander, who missed yesterday's training session due to food poisoning, is feeling better now and coach Fatih Terim has included the Swedish player in his 18-man squad for tonight's game against Braga.

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Bogdan Buga in Kyiv:
Dynamo Kyiv captain Olexandr Shovkovskiy says his side have already been transformed by the arrival of Oleh Blokhin, with the Ukraine coach having replaced Yuri Semin since matchday one. "Now we have different training sessions, a different attitude and different tactics on the pitch," said the goalkeeper ahead of Wednesday's home game against Dinamo Zagreb.

"When a new coach comes in, all players have bigger motivation. The ones who were starters want to prove that they are worthy of that. The reserves want to show that they deserve better. Every coach has their own vision so all the players have a chance to be in the starting XI. The most important thing for me, though, is that the atmosphere in the changing room has changed. After training sessions, you hear laughing and jokes; we are all in a good mood every day."

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UEFA.com Spanish newsdesk:
The general consensus among the Spanish media after Barcelona's 3-2 matchday one win against Spartak was that the Blaugrana made things hard for themselves at the Camp Nou. Local daily Sport said coach Tito Vilanova has demanded a strong performance from his side at Benfica tonight.

"Barça want to return from the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica with six points on the board, which would make life a little less complicated as they look towards their next encounters in the section," the paper explains. "For that reason, Tito has given maximum importance to tonight's match despite Sunday's game against Real Madrid looming. The coach will not hold back his best players with one eye on El Clásico. Barça's main priority is right here, right now."

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Nick Aitken from City of Manchester Stadium:
Set to speak shortly in front of a packed press conference room at the City of Manchester Stadium are Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp and goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. German champions for the past two seasons, Dortmund opened their UEFA Champions League Group D account this term with a 1-0 home win over Dutch title holders Ajax.

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Steffen Potter in Gelsenkirchen:
Montpellier defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has lost none of his enthusiasm for the UEFA Champions League, despite his side's matchday one loss to Arsenal, but hopes they can raise their game at Schalke on Wednesday. "The Champions League is a great competition," he said. "You have to be ice-cold in front of goal. We have to learn to be like that.

"In the first match we had a chance to get used to the standard of the competition. We are no tourists here – we want to take as many points as we can. We have to eradicate the mistakes you saw in the first game. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Last season we had that little bit of luck, but we did work for that. We have to work hard again now to get back on track."

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Carlos Jorge Santos in Porto:
PSG put Thiago Silva forward for the press conference at Porto, with the Brazilian defender having spent a season with the Dragons without making a first-team appearance. "I like this club and I would have liked to play here," he said. "It's a very important game for us. Every match is special. These are two very attacking teams: Porto are at home and they won't hold back, but we have a very good attack too."

Thiago Silva was proud to have been singled out for praise by team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimović, and said: "I'm very happy to play alongside him. It's a privilege to be praised by a player like him, but when it happens it just gives you more responsibility, and you have to do better."

After Thiago Silva left the conference, PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti added: "All the players that flew here can play, but to help you and the Portuguese press, I can tell you that the player that spoke a few minutes ago will be starting tomorrow."

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Paul-Daniel Zaharia at Stadionul Dr. Constantin Rădulescu:
The referees have just arrived at the stadium for CFR's game against United. It is a fine evening with 23C temperatures, but there is a 40% chance of rain. CFR are looking to at least earn a draw, which would make them the first Romanian club to avoid defeat against United, who won twice against both of their previous Romanian opponents, FC Dinamo București and FC Oțelul Galați.

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Nick Aitken from City of Manchester Stadium: 
In relaxed mood, to the point of regularly breaking out in a broad grin and patting the interpreter heartily on the back, Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp looked to be in his element on the eve of his side's encounter against Manchester City. "No, not really [anything to say about line-ups or injuries], we've just come here to play football," said Klopp. "We're just hoping to put on a performance and hopefully get a result.

"It's not really a question of getting used to the Champions League," he added. "We've taken a step forward [since last season], won other competitions and learned from our defeats in our last Champions League campaign. It will be a very special occasion, but at end of the day, we've just come here to get something out the game. We're very focused on that goal, but if it doesn't happen we'll be able to take that too."

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Nick Aitken from City of Manchester Stadium:
Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller was not too daunted by the task ahead. "It won't be fun [to face City's attackers] - it is more of a big challenge," he said. "They've got lots of good players, but we're playing in the Champions League to take on the very best teams. Obviously, one of the best things about this competition is coming up against quality individuals and top teams. You just have to prepare as well as you possibly can, perhaps by watching video footage [of opposition players] as part of your preparation."

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Rico Candido in Amsterdam:
Madrid's Álvaro Arbeloa says his side know what to expect at Ajax on Wednesday. "We have seen videos of Ajax and the coach explained that they have improved a lot and that they are more experienced and dangerous so we will have to take that on," said the right-back. "We are in a group where every match will be very difficult so any points you can get are important, and we will try to take points here."

The 29-year-old poured scorn on allegations that there was unrest behind the scenes at Madrid. "People who say things like that don't know us and don't want the best for us," he explained. "I have a great relation with my team-mates, but like everywhere, we aren't all 26 best friends who go to dinner together every day. We are great colleagues and we are also behind our coach - that's the truth."

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Berend Scholten in Brussels:
Málaga forward Roque Santa Cruz was glad to be reminded of a goal he scored at Anderlecht in a 1-1 draw for Bayern in the UEFA Champions League back in 2003. "Yes, I remember that goal," said the Paraguayan. "It was a magic moment. I was so happy I wanted to keep the match ball, but they wouldn't let me."

The group stage debutants kicked off their campaign with a 3-0 win against Zenit, but despite good form at home, the 31-year-old Santa Cruz is not getting carried away. "We still have a long way to go, and it is going to be a difficult road," he said. "Even if we are doing great in Spain, it does not mean we are going to win automatically or easily. It is an away game so it will be even more difficult. We cannot be too cocky."

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Paul-Daniel Zaharia at Stadionul Dr. Constantin Rădulescu:
United
arrived at the stadium just 70 minutes before kick-off, and did not take time to inspect the pitch. They came out on the pitch only 45 minutes before the game is due to start and received a standing ovation from the Cluj-Napoca crowd.

The tactical battle between the two coaches raised some interesting issues. CFR are fielding ten of the 11 whowon at Braga on matchday one, with Matías Aguirregaray taking the place of Luís Alberto. As expected, Ioan Andone strengthened the left wing, by fielding László Sepsi as left-back and Camora as a left-sided midfielder, with the duo detailed to fend off Nani and Rafael. Nani is not in the starting lineup, though, but Sir Alex has fielded a strong first XI. CFR will look to profit again from the pace and versatility of Rafael Bastos and Modou Sougou, with Andone saying: "Counterattack will be a very important weapon for us again, because their full-backs go on the offensive and leave space."

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Celtic broke their away duck with a 3-2 win at Spartak in tonight's early fixture.

Go to the UEFA.com MatchCentre for live coverage of tonight's remaining matches.

 

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There has been no shortage of goals in the opening half an hour of action in Tuesday's seven 20.45CET kick-offs. Robin van Persie has hit the net most recently, his sixth goal for Manchester United drawing the Premier League side level at CFR Cluj. Bayern München, meanwhile, are still trailing at BATE. Elsewhere, Juventus and Shakhtar are drawing 1-1, while Braga and Barcelona are winning 1-0 at Galatasaray and Benfica respectively.

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Paul-Daniel Zaharia, Stadionul Dr. Constantin Rădulescu:
Robin van Persie's goal for Manchester United is an ominous sign for Romanians. Not only has it cancelled out CFR Cluj's lead, but it also comes exactly two weeks before Romania host the Netherlands in FIFA World Cup qualifying.

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There have been goals in all seven games currently at half-time, with BATE's 1-0 lead at Bayern perhaps the most eye-catching scoreline so far. Though big-hitters such as Chelsea and Barcelona are in front in their games, no team holds more than a one-goal lead heading into the second period.

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Arsenal and Olympiacos meet in Group B on Wednesday evening ...

 

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Stay tuned to UEFA.com for reports, reaction and video highlights from all eight of Tuesday's UEFA Champions League games.

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That's all for Tuesday but you can see all tonight's goals in our video section and on Wednesday we'll do it all again with reaction from players and press plus all the build-up to the games in Groups A-D/

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Welcome back after last night's enthralling feast of UEFA Champions League group stage fixtures. Today our dedicated team of reporters from across the continent will continue to bring you unparalleled coverage of European club football's premier competition as we brace ourselves for another night of group stage action.

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Chris Burke en route to Brussels
I'm just starting out on my journey to Brussels for Anderlecht's game against Málaga and a Belgian train strike has left me facing a fairly lengthy slog on the coach. All of which might seem the set-up for a naff quip about Belgian strikers looking to make an impact tonight as well – except that the danger man for Anderlecht so far this season has been Congolese forward Dieudonné Mbokani (pictured).

 

The 26-year-old has struck ten goals in all competitions this term – including four in UEFA Champions League qualifying – and he has drawn praise from Málaga centre-back Oguchi Onyewu in the run-up to this evening's contest. "I've always thought that he's an excellent player," said the United States defender, a former team-mate of both Mbokani and Milan Jovanović while at R. Standard de Liège. "I always said he was too strong for the Belgian league when I played with him. One day, he'll leave Belgium again to play at a higher level, that's for sure."

 

©Getty Images

 

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UEFA.com French newsdesk
The French dailies are inevitably pessimistic following LOSC's 2-0 defeat by Valencia last night. "The round of 16 drifts away," reads L'Équipe. "After losing on Friday at Rennes, LOSC's misery was compounded despite their brave efforts against Valencia. On a positive note, Rudi Garcia's side created plenty of chances but failed to find their composure at the vital time. The consequences? Les Dogues are stuck firmly at the bottom of Group F."

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Elvir Islamović in Zagreb (@UEFAcomElvirI):
Dynamo Kyiv's Niko Kranjčar has been speaking to local newspaper 24sata ahead of this evening's Group A encounter with Dinamo Zagreb. "I was unhappy after the draw because Dinamo Zagreb will always be my club," said the midfielder, who made history with the Croatian champions by becoming their youngest ever captain at the tender age of 17. "I don't think people realise how much the club means to me. If I score I will not celebrate. The best outcome would be if both clubs progress to the next round."

 

©Aleksandr Zadiraka

 

 

 

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UEFA.com German newsdesk: 
The German press have not minced their words in light of Bayern's chastening 3-1 defeat by BATE last night. 'BAYERN HUMILIATION' screams Bild in capital letters. "After nine wins, Bayern have been found out," it continues. "Jupp Heynckes opted for squad rotation, including Javi Martínez, but like the rest of his team-mates, the Spanish international proved a disappointment."

Munich-based daily Süddeutsche Zeitung runs with the headline: 'The first slip up'. "It was not surprising how BATE played but it was surprising how dramatically Bayern collapsed after the break. They were alarmingly short of ideas and looked tired despite the rotation." The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung rued the exclusion of influential midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, meanwhile. "The Germany international is getting back to his best and has already played a number of games this season," it reasons.

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Chris Burke en route to Brussels: (UEFAcomChrisB):
Málaga's only previous trip to Belgium ended in a 1-1 draw at KAA Gent in the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup and, oddly enough, they will receive support from a number of Gent players at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium tonight. The Boquerones' winger Joaquín got on the phone to his old Real Betis Balompié colleague and current Gent defender Melli recently to offer him a few tickets to the match – and no doubt ask for some tips on how to beat Anderlecht in exchange.

 

"It's true that we'll all be going to Wednesday's game," explained César Arzo, another Spaniard at the Belgian club and one who served under Málaga coach Manuel Pellegrini at Villarreal CF. "We got the tickets from Joaquín, but I can't tell you if he asked Melli for any information about Anderlecht's style or not. All I know is that Pellegrini hasn't been on the line to me!"

 

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Steffen Potter in Gelsenkirchen: 
Today is an official holiday in Germany recognising the anniversary of the nation's unification. There won't be any jubilant displays of patriotism or celebration but that could all change when Schalke host Montpellier this evening. The Royal Blues, who kicked off on matchday one with an impressive 2-1 success at Olympiacos, have been put through their paces at the club's modern training complex, while just a stone's throw away from the Arena AufSchalke lies their former home, the Parkstadion. It was here that Schalke won 1-0 against FC Internazionale Milano en route to winning the 1997 UEFA Cup on penalties under current coach Huub Stevens.

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Vassiliki Papantonopoulou in Athens (@UEFAcomVassP):
The odds are stacked against Olympaicos ahead of their daunting trip to Arsenal tonight but that has not prevented the local media from encouraging the Greek champions to believe they can cause an upset. SportDay headlines with 'Nothing is impossible', while Fos ton Spor writes: "Oympiacos should confront their opponents with a cool head and as a team united by belief." 

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Alex O'Henley in Glasgow (@UEFAcomAlexO): 
The British press are fulsome in their praise of Celtic's 3-2 win against Spartak which ended an eleven-year wait for an away victory in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. The Sun leads with manager Neil Lennon's own words. 'I'm the proudest Man in Europe' is their back page headline while the Daily Mail proclaims Neil Lennon's side as 'The History Bhoys'.

The Herald reserves its praise for striker Gary Hooper who scored the first goal and says the victory was a vindication of Lennon's attacking philosophy. "The key to the victory was in attack," says the broadsheet. "This was no desperate rearguard action but a triumph built on the pillars of three goals. The defensive resilience shown in the qualifying campaign in Helsingborg and Helsinki may have deserted Celtic but they could afford to lose two goals and win three points. This is an extraordinary occurrence on the road."

 

©AFP/Getty Images

 

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Berend Scholten in Brussels (@UEFAcomBerendS): 
There is a distinct autumnal feel in the Belgian capital today, amid an onslaught of wind and rain, while a 24-hour train strike has dampened spirits further, with traffic at a standstill. On a lighter note, Club Atlético de Madrid goalkeeper and Belgian international Thibaut Courtois has provided Anderlecht with a slither of invaluable insight ahead of their match against Málaga. "Anderlecht will need to be on their guard at all times. Málaga are very well organised," he told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. "It is especially important for Anderlecht to take control in midfield and neutralise the threats of Isco and [Javier] Saviola."

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UEFA.com Spanish newsdesk: 
It seems there is little that can keep the spirits of Barcelona captain Carles Puyol down. After sustaining a knee ligament injury during his comeback game from a broken cheekbone last month, the central defender suffered more woe in the form of a dislocated elbow in the Blaugrana's 2-0 win away to Benfica last night.

 

Early reports suggest Puyol will be sidelined for around six weeks but that didn't stop the Spain international tweeting a picture of himself grinning from his hospital bed with the accompanying message, "Thanks to all those who treated me last night in Portugal, I'll be back in top shape soon." A subsequent Tweet from the 34-year-old this morning read: "I appreciate all of your messages of support. The sun keeps rising." Puyol is scheduled to undergo further tests at Barça headquarters today.

 

©AFP/Getty Images

 

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Peter Brunn in Copenhagen:
Nordsjælland may have suffered a 4-0 defeat by Chelsea last night but those cold facts only tell half the story according to the Danish press, who were unanimous in their praise. "Of course there were other groups in this season's Champions League that would have been easier, but you have to live with what you get, and last night the Danish champions showed for large parts of the game that they can compete with the best teams in Europe," reads Ekstrabladet.

Meanwhile, Jyllands-Posten paid tribute to Nordsjælland's 'courageous' efforts: "The home side challenged Chelsea courageously for 80 minutes, but collapsed at the end. For long periods they fought toe-to-toe with the European champions but their efforts proved in vain. It was a massive improvement on their matchday one defeat against Shakhtar."

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Bogdan Buga in Kyiv:
Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Sammir admitted his side will take a point against Dynamo Kyiv this evening. "I know Dynamo Kyiv will have the advantage of home support but we feel we can go there and get a result," said the 25-year-old. "A draw would be a good result for us. They are a strong team with many quality players and we know it will be a really tough match." Sammir also played down speculation of an ongoing personal duel between himself and Niko Kranjčar. "Niko is a great player but I do not need to prove that I am better," he said.

 

©Getty Images

 

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Dmitry Rogovitsky in Moscow: 
Spartak
have come under heavy scrutiny following their 3-2 defeat by Celtic in Moscow. "I'm shocked", writes Sovetsky Sport columnist Evgeny Lovchev. "Spartak lost a key group stage match against a team who failed to show anything special. It was men versus boys but Spartak failed to impose themselves," he continues. "Even Andriy Dykan would not have made a difference," bemoans Sport-Express. "Spartak were punished for their sloppy defending and indifferent attitude. You can't defend that badly and expect to win."

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UEFA.com Portuguese newsdesk: 
A Bola can't resist admiring the exploits of Lionel Messi, who set up both Barcelona goals in their 2-0 victory in Lisbon. 'Irresistible Messi' reads the headline. "The Argentinian maestro made the difference against Benfica," it continues. Braga's performance against Galatasaray is described as "pure class", meanwhile. "Benfica were left watching Barcelona play football," reads Portuguese daily Record, while O Jogo focus on Porto's encounter with PSG this evening with coach Vítor Pereira declaring: "We will deal with Ibrahimović as a team."

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UEFA.com Italian newsdesk: 
Shakhtar
earned praise from La Gazzetta dello Sport for a sterling performance in their 1-1 draw with Juventus. 'Juve, è andata bene' (Juve, it turned out well in the end) is the headline. No team has made life so uncomfortable for the Serie A champions, according to the Italian newspaper. "Juventus were pushed to their limits and showed the sort of fragility which has been absent from their league performances for so long. The intensity remained but Shakhtar were able to match them."

 

©AFP/Getty Images

 

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UEFA.com Spanish newsdesk: 
Real Madrid
's players left their Okura Hotel in Amsterdam this morning for a light stretching session ahead of this evening's encounter against Ajax. Coach José Mourinho mentioned in yesterday's press conference that his only doubt for the Group D game at the Amsterdam ArenA surrounded midfielder Sami Khedira who is carrying an unspecified injury. Speculation suggests that the German international will not be risked in a game of such high importance, leading to Michael Essien being tipped to start his second successive UEFA Champions League game for the Merengues since agreeing to a loan move from Chelsea.

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Nick Aitken in Manchester:
Searching for an insider perspective on tonight's visitors to the City of Manchester Stadium, I sought out the views of German journalist and long-time colleague Rafael Muñoz Luño. "Dortmund have been praised a lot in the last two seasons for their fresh and attack-minded football. They always put in an enormous amount of effort and when they lose the ball they immediately start pressing hard in the Barcelona style. They run and run, playing high-tempo football for the full 90 minutes," he said.

"They have a lot of very talented young players, but that has been part of the reason for criticism of their performances in last year's Champions League," continued the Berlin-based sports writer. Critics said they acted like naive debutants and need to show more maturity and an ability to slow down the pace when necessary. Indeed, in the Champions League they lost games because, instead of settling for a draw, they kept going all-out for the win. They've had a difficult start to this Bundesliga season, but they're improving with every game."

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Elvir Islamović in Zagreb (UEFAcomElvirI): 
Croatian sport daily Sportske novosti is expecting a much improved performance from a reinvigorated Dinamo Zagreb side this evening. "The team were at their weakest against Porto, but you have to remember the quality of the opposition. The defensive tactics did little to help the Zagreb cause, either. Tonight [Ante] Čačić is preparing something different. He wants his team to play with attacking intent and score lots of goals. Mateo Kovačić could feature after his excellent display against Hadjuk Split to provide a creative spark in midfield."

 

©Ivan Klindić

 

 

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Alex O'Henley in Glasgow (@UEFAcomAlexO): 
Celtic'
s Charlie Mulgrew has laid down a marker for the rest of their UEFA Champions League campaign saying they "fear nobody" after last night's historic comeback victory against Spartak. Speaking to the Glasgow Evening Times the defender said Celtic were never going to settle for a point at Stadion Luzhniki even after going 2-1 down and is now looking forward to back-to-back matches against Group G leaders Barcelona. "We looked at the first two games in the group and knew there were points in them for us," said Mulgrew. "We have managed to pick up four and we are delighted with that. Now we have two massive matches, but that's why we are in this competition. We are looking forward to them and we will not fear anyone."

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Derek Brookman en route to Amsterdam (@UEFAcomDerekB): 
It's certainly a case of history repeating itself tonight. Not only will this be the third season in succession that these teams meet in the UEFA Champions League group stages, but, as last year, Real Madrid have to face Barcelona a few days after playing in Amsterdam. In 2011 José Mourinho's side had already qualified as group winners and could therefore leave the likes of Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo behind. No such luxury this time round; with Manchester City desperate to challenge for the top spot in group D, every point counts. Consequently, Madrid look likely to field their strongest possible lineup.

 

©uefa.com

 

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Simon Hart en route to Manchester: 
There has been plenty of newspaper coverage today about the great American Olympic champion and 400m record holder Michael Johnson and his link-up with Arsenal. Johnson, who has been helping Arsenal's young players improve their strength and power at his athletic performance school in Texas, was a guest at their training ground yesterday but he will be watching Manchester City's match against Dortmund this evening and will make a pre-match appearance at City Square to meet supporters.

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UEFA.com French newsdesk:
The founder of the International Olympic Committee, Pierre de Coubertin, once said: "The essential thing in life is not to have conquered but to have fought well." When confronted with this aphorism at yesterday's press conference, focused Montpellier coach René Girard reacted with blunt disdain, commenting: "I don't really appreciate it. We're here to bring something back."

 

©Getty Images

 

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UEFA.com Spanish newsdesk: 
It would take far more than a spot of rain to dampen the spirits of traveling Málaga fans who, according to El Diario Sur, have been happily gathering in central Brussels "since the early hours of the morning despite the wet conditions from the outset." A first away trip in the UEFA Champions League is providing Malaguistas with plenty of motivation as they get set to cheer their side on to what they hope will be a victory against Anderlecht this evening.

"The sun came out very briefly today to wink at the contingent from the Costa del Sol," the paper's online edition informs. "The Grand-Place, one of Europe's most emblematic sites, has been the centre of activity for Málaga fans whose numbers are swelled by Spanish students and workers who reside in the Belgian capital." Around 500 supporters of Los Boquerones are expected inside the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium this evening as Manuel Pellegrini's side look to build on their excellent start to Group C.

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Ian Holyman in Gelsenkirchen (@UEFAcomIanH): 
There are many cities in Germany where they love football, but few feel about it as passionately as Gelsenkirchen. On the tram from the train station to the stadium you go down the Schalker Meile, a street decked out in blue and white. The club's greats, like Ernst Kuzorra, have streets and squares named after them along with great historical figures such as Willy Brandt. They live, breathe, eat and sleep their football here.

 

©uefa.com

 

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Derek Brookman en route to Amsterdam (@UEFAcomDerekB): 
Despite the 0-12 aggregate score over the last four UEFA Champions League encounters with Real Madrid, not everyone is pessimistic about Ajax's chances this evening. Former coach Aad de Mos told Voetbal International that he thought his former club would win 2-1. "Madrid have had a poor start to the season while Ajax have put together a good series of results," he said. "A win would be the icing on the cake, and if everything goes well I think they're capable of achieving it."

Only one player has ever scored a total of four times against Ajax in the UEFA Champions League; Roy Makaay during his spell at Bayern. Ominously, that could change this evening. Cristiano Ronaldo is currently on three, and having bagged nine goals in nine competitive matches so far this season, who would bet against him equalling or even surpassing that unpleasant milestone for the Amsterdam side?

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Chris Burke in Brussels (@UEFAcomChrisB):
Surely the most common UEFA Champions League refrain outside of the competition's anthem is the sound of two teams denying they are favourites to win a particular game. That was the case again at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium yesterday as both Anderlecht and Málaga sang a similar tune, coaches and players alike dampening expectations.

The rival clubs have credible arguments too, with Les Mauves having failed to win a home match in the group stage in nine years and their Spanish visitors making a first ever foreign excursion at this level after losing some big names in the summer. The suspicion remains, though, that both teams are backing themselves to prevail, and not simply due to their excellent domestic form.

Anderlecht may have struggled in Europe in recent seasons, but they have never stopped considering themselves a genuine force – their pedigree boosted by two European Cup Winners' Cup triumphs and a UEFA Cup – while new coach John van den Brom looks to have given the side a more savvy edge in continental jousts after their 0-0 draw at AC Milan.

As for Málaga, players like Martín Demichelis, Joaquín and Javier Saviola are no strangers to the competition, while 20-year-old Isco certainly did not look out of place when he rattled in two goals against Zenit on matchday one. Indeed, for all their caution in public, neither team is likely to be hobbled by timidity tonight.

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Jamie Reid in London:
After watching his side suffer their first defeat of the season at home to Chelsea on Saturday, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger will be looking for a response from his players against Olympiacos tonight. In his programme notes, he writes: "I am impressed by the mentality of my team, but the mentality is as well about how you respond to disappointment. I am confident we will, but that's what we want to show tonight."


His captain, Thomas Vermalen, also echoes Wenger's sentiments in his regular column, noting: "Saturday's defeat left me feeling disappointed and frustrated. It was a game that we should not have lost. Although that frustration remains, what happened on Saturday doesn't take away my belief in what we have in this team."

 

 

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Andy Brassell, Estádio do Dragão (@UEFAcomAndyB):
There's an unusual atmosphere around this game on a fine, sunny day here in Porto. As today's O Jogo points out, the home side have 72 major team honours (including two UEFA Champions League titles) compared to PSG's 17. However, the visitors are perhaps the favourites tonight, and they hope to be inspired by Zlatan Ibrahimović on the occasion of the forward's 31st birthday.

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UEFA.com London newsdesk:
Milan have taken a two-goal lead at Zenit in tonight's early kick-off with Urby Emanuelson and Stephan El Shaarawy both getting their first UEFA Champions League goals. You can follow our minute-by-minute commentary of the game, with expert analysis direct from the stadium, in the UEFA.com MatchCentre.

©Getty Images

 

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UEFA.com London newsdesk:
Milan were quick out of the blocks at the Stadion Petrovski but Zenit have responded admirably with Christian Abbiati called into action on several occasions before Hulk pulled one back on the stroke of the break. An intriguing second half awaits. Follow it in the UEFA.com MatchCentre.

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Chris Burke at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium (@UEFAcomChrisB):
Persistent rain here in Brussels (alas the photo below is not from tonight), where the grey skies are letting go of their payload with grim relish. For now, Anderlecht's supporters are taking shelter in the bars and cafes around the ground – those that aren't stuck in the gridlocked traffic on the way.

Subjects up for discussion will no doubt include whether the conditions will better suit Les Mauves as they look to make a statement in the competition, or whether they will need goalkeeper Silvio Proto to produce the same kind of heroics he pulled off in the goalless draw at Milan last time out.

©Getty Images

 

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It's still all to play for in St Petersburg, with Zenit and Milan locked at 2-2 midway through the second half

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UEFA.com London newsdesk
There is under ten minutes to go in St Petersburg and Milan have edged back in front. Zenit are throwing everything at the Rossoneri but are finding Christian Abbiati in inspired form.

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UEFA.com London newsdesk:
The final whistle has blown at the Stadion Petrovski and Milan have secured their first win of the group stage after a thrilling encounter with Zenit. Get all the reaction and, in due course, a link to the match report here.

©AFP/Getty Images

 

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UEFA.com London newsdesk:
Under half an hour to go until we get into the meat of tonight's action, but they have a tough act to follow. That Zenit v Milan game was a thriller. Stay with the UEFA.com MatchCentre for updates from every game.

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UEFA.com London newsdesk: From London to Kyiv, Brussels to Porto, we are under way in tonight's UEFA Champions League 20.45CET kick-offs. Stay with the UEFA.com MatchCentre for minute-by-minute updates from all this evening's games.

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UEFA.com London newsdesk:
It is half-time in tonight's UEFA Champions League games, and Spanish sides Real Madrid and Málaga are both winning away while Dynamo Kyiv are the only team to have opened up a two-goal lead. How there have not been any goals between Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund is a mystery after 45 minutes of end-to-end action while Porto v PSG is the only other scoreless game at the break. Follow the action in the UEFA.com MatchCentre.

©Getty Images

 

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UEFA.com London newsdesk:
Four teams maintained a 100% record after tonight's UEFA Champions League games brought an end to matchday two. Málaga continued their fairy-tale start with a 3-0 win at Anderlecht, while Real Madrid, Arsenal and Porto all chalked up their second successive victories. Stay with UEFA.com for all the match reports, reaction and video highlights.

©Getty Images

 

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UEFA.com London newsdesk:
Full video highlights from each of tonight's games have now been published on UEFA.com. Our live coverage will return in the morning with more reaction and you'll also be able to check how your fantasy team got on this week, so join us then.

©AFP/Getty Images

 

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Welcome back after an exhilarating conclusion to matchday two of the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League. Our dedicated team of reporters from across the continent will endeavour to bring you all the reaction. Firstly, why don't you check out the video highlights from all Wednesday's group stage fixtures. 

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Cristiano Ronaldo caught the eye again with an effortless hat-trick against Ajax. Familiarise yourself with the events by reading Derek Brookman's match report from Amsterdam ArenA...

 

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Arsenal recorded their second consecutive group stage success and Ivorian international Gervinho spoke to UEFA.com after the game...

 

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UEFA.com French newsdesk
The media in France laid down a marker with a brutally honest assessment of Carlo Ancelotti's PSG after their 1-0 defeat by Porto. Le Parisien reports: "They were eager to test themselves against the best in Europe and this loss shows they have a long way to go. And on Sunday, Marseille await them at the Vélodrome. It may have been their first defeat this season, a run including five consecutive victories, but last night revealed a huge gulf in class between PSG and teams with vast Champions League experience. Porto were superior in every department and it was not a surprise when they eventually scored."

 

©AFP/Getty Images

 

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Elvir Islamović in Zagreb (UEFAcomElvirI): 
Sportske novosti captures the mood with a gloomy cover story under an ominous headline: 'Dinamo remain on zero points.' The Croatian daily proceeds to reel off a tale of woe following Dinamo Zagreb's 2-0 defeat in Kyiv, their eighth consecutive UEFA Champions League group stage reverse. "Defeat for Dinamo further extinguishes any hope they had of progressing from the group," it reads. "It was unbelievable how many basic errors they made, which handed the initiative to their opponents. It's becoming frustrating." 24sata goes with the headline 'Gone in two minutes' and writes: "Dinamo's plan evaporated within two minutes. Although they played well at times, there were too many mistakes."

 

©uefa.com

 

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Vassiliki Papantonopoulou in Athens (@UEFAcomVassP): 
Olympiacos
may have suffered their 11th defeat in as many games on English soil but the Greek press have cut Leonardo Jardim some slack, hailing the Portuguese coach as a "master tactician" who inspired a "very promising" performance. "It was Jardim's night," writes SportDay. "He is slowly implementing his philosophy despite another defeat. The result could have been different if Olympiacos had been able to field a full strength side." GoalNews writes: "Olympiacos didn't deserve to lose. They deserved at least a point and Jardim's tactics were spot on." Fos ton Spor described the result as "unfair". "Surely Olympiacos deserved much better," it continues.

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UEFA.com German newsdesk: 
Local newspaper Ruhrnachrichten paid tribute to both sides after Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City shared the spoils with their footballing principles intact. "It was football in its most elegant form," it writes. "There was not shortage of intensity or passion as Mario Balotelli dashed Dortmund hopes with a cruel equaliser in added time." Bild adds: "For 90 minutes Manchester City were on the ropes, until Mario Balotelli, who scored twice against Germany at EURO, secured an undeserved point."

 

©Getty Images

 

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UEFA.com Italian newsdesk: 
Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport headlines with 'FARAONICO' in tribute to Stephan El Shaarawy, nicknamed 'the Pharaoh', after his stunning solo effort helped Milan secure a priceless 3-2 victory at Zenit. Christian Abbiati is also lauded for a virtuoso goalkeeping display. "Milan are breathing again thanks to Abbiati's feats and Shaarawy's masterpiece" it reads. "The 19-year-old secured three points with his fifth goal in ten games, while Abbiati's fingertips must still be stinging after a string of fine saves." Corriere dello Sport describes Milan's victory as a "great one", triumphantly proclaiming: "Milan are back!"

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UEFA.com Russian newsdesk: 
The Russian media have come down hard on Zenit in light of their second consecutive group stage defeat. 'No excuses' cries Championat.com. "Zenit were devoid of ideas," writes Igor Rabiner. "Hulk and Roman Shirokov turned the game around but their efforts proved in vain," he continues. "This is the seventh time in the Champions league Russia have two representatives but it is the first time they have both suffered two opening group stage defeats." reminds Sport-Express. "A gloomy month lies ahead" is the ominous message from Soviet Sport, while columnist Eugeni Lovchev calls for a reformation: "It is time to build a new team. The one built by Dick Advocaat is coming to and end, mentally and physically."

 

©AFP/Getty Images
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UEFA.com French newsdesk:
Local newspaper Midi Libre applauds Montpellier's "colossal" display after the Ligue 1 side's nail-biting 2-2 draw at Schalke. Souleymane Camara scored a last-gasp equaliser despite Garry Bocaly's 52nd-minute dismissal to mark an "incredible feat". "Montpellier continue to thrill. The French champions are back with grit, determination and their famous fighting spirit," it reads.

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Alex O'Henley in Glasgow:
Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew has committed his future to the club after signing a new four-year contract. The Scottish international, 26, has been a regular in Neil Lennon's side since returning to Celtic Park two years ago and has been rewarded with a contract that runs until the summer of 2016.

"It's good to get it signed and focus only on the football," said Mulgrew who played a key role in Celtic's historic 3-2 victory at Spartak Moskva on Tuesday, their first away win in the UEFA Champions League. "Last year was a good one for me. Things have been going well for me so hopefully that can continue. All the players here now understand what this club is all about, and for me, growing up as a Celtic fan, I understand fully what the fans expect and hopefully we can deliver that."

©Getty Images

 

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UEFA.com German newsdesk:
Dortmund's Ilkay Gündoğan is set for a two-week lay-off after suffering a back during Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Manchester City. It leaves him a minor doubt for the German champions' matchday three meeting with Real Madrid.

©Getty Images

 

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Alex O'Henley in Glasgow:
James Forrest and Adam Matthews have joined Charlie Mulgrew (see 13.51) in committing their futures to Celtic on long-term contracts. Forrest, a product of the club's youth academy, has signed a deal which will keep him at Celtic Park till December 2016, while Welsh international Matthews has agreed to extend his stay until the summer of the same year.

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The UEFA Champions League matchday two blog is now closed, but do not fear – live coverage of Europe's leading club competition will resume on Monday.

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Fan confidence

See how fans felt about their club on matchday 2

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    Porto

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    Real Madrid

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    Real Sociedad

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    Shakhtar Donetsk

  • f3Steaua

    Steaua

  • f4Zenit

    Zenit

Your confidence

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Archive

Archive

Standings

Last updated: 03/10/2013 09:04 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   

Competition statistics

Matches played: 32

Goals scored
97 Total
3.03 Match average
Total attempts
805 Total
25.16 Match average
on target
468 Total
14.63 Match average
off target
337 Total
10.53 Match average
blocked
150 Total
4.69 Match average
against woodwork
21 Total
0.66 Match average
Corners
315 Total
9.84 Match average
Offsides
156 Total
4.88 Match average
Yellow cards
110 Total
3.44 Match average
Red Cards
4 Total
0.13 Match average
Fouls committed
871 Total
27.22 Match average
Fouls suffered
827 Total
25.84 Match average
Passes
35426 Total
1107.06 Match average
completed
26856 Total
839.25 Match average
Last updated: 16/12/2013 15:04 CET
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