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UEFA Champions League: What to look out for on Wednesday

The UEFA Champions League group stage kicked off on Tuesday; what might be the big talking points on Wednesday?

 Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea) and Lionel Messi (Paris)
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea) and Lionel Messi (Paris)

The 2021/22 UEFA Champions League is up and running after Tuesday's games, and now it is over to the likes of least season's runners-up Manchester City to get their own campaigns under way.

Presented by Expedia, UEFA.com picks out some sure-fire headline-makers for Wednesday's matches.

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Wednesday 15 September

Group A: Man. City vs Leipzig, Club Brugge vs Paris
Group B: Atlético de Madrid vs Porto, Liverpool vs AC Milan
Group C: Beşiktaş vs Dortmund, Sporting CP vs Ajax
Group D: Sheriff vs Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter vs Real Madrid

What to look out for?

2005 final highlights: Milan vs Liverpool
2005 final highlights: Milan vs Liverpool

Messi's new start
Following his arrival in Paris this summer, Lionel Messi can play his first UEFA Champions League game for his new side when they kick off away to Club Brugge. On Tuesday, Cristiano Ronaldo made a record-breaking appearance for Manchester United on his first European appearance for the club since the 2009 final. Ronaldo leads Messi 135-120 in the competition's all-time scorers list.

AC Milan size up Liverpool
Amazingly, Matchday 1 brings only the third competitive meeting for these two giants of European football. The first was Liverpool's shoot-out success in the 2005 UEFA Champions League football: the 'Miracle of Istanbul', in which the Reds hauled back a 3-0 deficit to triumph. Milan fans, though, will remember the last encounter more fondly, the Rossoneri beating the Reds 2-1 in the 2007 decider in Athens.

City begin new mission
Beaten finalists last term, Manchester City will set out with high aims this season, especially as it is ten years since manager Pep Guardiola last won this competition. The English champions brought in Jack Grealish over the summer to sharpen their edge, but Leipzig have fresh talent too – including André Silva, scorer of 28 Bundesliga goals last season.

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Further ahead?

• Ronaldo can break Iker Casillas' all-time UEFA Champions League appearances record on Matchday 2, when United take on Villarreal: the side that beat the Red Devils in last season's UEFA Europa League final.

Man. City vs Paris: 2020/21 semi-final highlights
Man. City vs Paris: 2020/21 semi-final highlights

• Manchester City eliminated Paris in last season's semi-finals, but they should expect no easy ride at the Parc des Princes on Matchday 2. "It's always special [to face City] because they are one of the best teams in Europe," said Paris boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Tuesday 14 September
Group E: Barcelona 0-3 Bayern, Dynamo Kyiv 0-0 Benfica
Group F
: Young Boys 2-1 Man. United, Villarreal 2-2 Atalanta
Group G: Sevilla 1-1 Salzburg, LOSC 0-0 Wolfsburg
Group H: Chelsea 1-0 Zenit, Malmö 0-3 Juventus

Key dates

Group stage
14/15 September: Matchday 1
28/29 September: Matchday 2
19/20 October: Matchday 3
2/3 November: Matchday 4
23/24 November: Matchday 5
7/8 December: Matchday 6

Knockout stage
13 December 2021: Round of 16 draw
15/16/22/23 February & 8/9/15/16 March: Round of 16
18 March: Quarter-final & semi-final draws
5/6 & 12/13 April: Quarter-finals
26/27 April & 3/4 May: Semi-finals
28 May: Final (Gazprom Arena, Russia)

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