The UEFA Champions League group stage returns on Tuesday; what will be the talking points?
Article top media content
The UEFA Champions League is back and by the end of Matchday 3 every team will have faced the three opponents in their section once.
Presented by Hotels.com, we pick out the potential headline-makers as we head towards the halfway point of the group stage with a Luis Suárez reunion, a potential Shakhtar treble and a clutch of landmarks catching the eye.Play UEFA Champions League Fantasy Football
Tuesday 19 October
Group A: Club Brugge vs Manchester City (18:45 CET), Paris vs Leipzig
Group B: Atlético de Madrid vs Liverpool, Porto vs AC Milan
Group C: Beşiktaş vs Sporting CP (18:45 CET), Ajax vs Dortmund
Group D: Shakhtar Donetsk vs Real Madrid, Inter vs Sheriff
Wednesday 20 October
Group E: Barcelona vs Dynamo Kyiv (18:45 CET), Benfica vs Bayern
Group F: Young Boys vs Villarreal, Manchester United vs Atalanta
Group G: Salzburg vs Wolfsburg (18:45 CET), LOSC vs Sevilla
Group H: Chelsea vs Malmö, Zenit vs Juventus
All kick-offs 21:00 CET unless otherwise stated.
What to look out for?
Suárez faces familiar opponents
Luis Suárez scored 82 goals in 133 games for Liverpool and the in-form striker will be the centre of attention when his former club head to Atlético. The 34-year-old and his opponents both have scores to settle too – Suárez's last meeting with the English club saw his Barcelona side overwhelmed 4-0 in the 2018/19 semi-final second leg while the Reds' defence of the trophy the following season was ended by Atlético.
Hat-trick hopefuls Shakhtar
Shakhtar Donetsk go head to head with Real Madrid once again, looking to make it three consecutive group stage victories against them after winning 3-2 in the Spanish capital and 2-0 in Kyiv last season. Scooping three points is the most pressing thing for the Ukrainian side, though, given they only have one to date, but it will be far from straightforward with the Merengues eager to respond to their shock home defeat by Sheriff on Matchday 2.
Double century incoming
It is a rare occurrence to witness a player making his 100th appearance in UEFA club competition but two in one game? That's like gold dust but could be the case in St Petersburg on Wednesday if both Zenit defender Yaroslav Rakits'kyy and Juventus stalwart Leonardo Bonucci are involved. The pair have started on both matchdays to date and been pivotal – the Bianconeri are yet to concede while the Russian side have only been breached once.
Müller to check Benfica again?
Benfica raised eyebrows on Matchday 2 when they cruised past Barcelona 3-0 but victory against Bayern on Wednesday would arguably eclipse that achievement. However, the weight of history is heavy on their shoulders – the Eagles have not beaten the German giants in any of their ten meetings in UEFA club competition. The closest they came was in the 2015/16 quarter-final second leg where Thomas Müller helped his side draw 2-2 and progress. Ominously for Jorge Jesus' men, Müller needs one goal to become the eighth man to reach 50 in the Champions League.
• It's less than 14 months since Leipzig and Paris faced off for a place in the 2020 final but they will meet for the second time in the group stage on Matchday 4. Having been beaten in their first Group A matches so far, the German side could face elimination if results go against them on Matchday 3.
• Attack appears to be the strongest form of defence for Atalanta and Manchester United and, with both facing a stern challenge from Villarreal and Young Boys in Group F, their second section meeting in two weeks on Matchday 4 may be telling in the final outcome.
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
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)