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Champions League Matchday 1 Wednesday: Game-by-game preview

Get the lowdown on the eight remaining matches as the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage gets under way.

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold touches down in Naples
Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold touches down in Naples Liverpool FC via Getty Images

The 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage continues on Wednesday, with plenty of intrigue and tasty fixtures to ensure Matchday 1 finishes with a bang.

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Classic Champions League Matchday 1 goals

Wednesday 7 September

Napoli vs Liverpool (21:00 CET)

Not many teams have had the better of Liverpool over the past four seasons, but twice the Reds have visited the venue now known as the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in this competition and twice they have come away with nothing. A recent record-equalling 9-0 Premier League defeat of Bournemouth boosted confidence and certainly raises hopes of a first Liverpool goal at Napoli in three attempts, but Luciano Spalletti's side – spearheaded by the exciting Victor Osimhen – carry a real threat.

Did you know?
Last season, Liverpool became the first English club to win all six of their games in a single Champions League group stage.

Picked your Fantasy side?

Ajax vs Rangers (18:45)

Alfred Schreuder has big shoes to fill after replacing Erik ten Hag as Ajax coach, and a host of big-name departures hints at a changing of the guard in Amsterdam. There have been arrivals too: not least Calvin Bassey, fresh from his key role in helping Rangers to the UEFA Europa League final last season. The defender knows better than most the threat posed by the Scottish outfit, and having taken one Eredivisie scalp already this season after beating PSV in the play-offs, Rangers' Dutch boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst will be eager for another.

Did you know?
Ajax won all six group games for the first time in their history last season. They topped their group for the first time since 1995/96 as a result.

Rangers' last season in the Champions League: Miller stunner

Barcelona vs Plzeň (21:00)

"We're up against the opponents of our dreams," according to Plzeň midfielder Jan Sýkora. But could a Barcelona attack spearheaded by Robert Lewandowski become the stuff of nightmares? The Polish striker has hit the ground running in Spain, a "blessing" for Xavi Hernández which could prove a curse for opposition defenders as he feeds off pace on the flanks. Lewandowski turned 34 in August but shows no signs of slowing, with 41 goals in his last 34 Champions League outings.

Did you know?
Last season, Barcelona failed to make it through the group stage for the first time since 2000/01.

Inter vs Bayern (21:00)

Barcelona's gain was Bayern's loss regarding Lewandowski, but having registered five, six and seven goals already in games this season, the German giants are not exactly struggling in that department. With Barcelona to come in Group C, Julian Nagelsmann is desperate for a successful trip to Italy. "It's a very demanding group full of challenges," says the Bayern coach. "We have to be ready right from the start." Inter, nine matches unbeaten at home, will be ready too.

Did you know?
Bayern were the top scorers in the group stage last season with 22 goals.

Lewandowski: Great Bayern goals

Tottenham vs Marseille (21:00)

The 2019 Champions League final has felt like a distant memory at times for Spurs over the past three years, with last season's group exit in the UEFA Europa Conference League particularly chastening. Yet there are clear signs of improvement under Antonio Conte, and the consensus in the UK media is that they have quietly developed a well-rounded squad with greater depth. An impressive start to 2022/23 backs up that opinion, though Marseille, unbeaten so far this season, will provide a test.

Did you know?
Marseille have not made it past this stage of the competition since 2011/12, losing 11 of their 12 subsequent group stage games.

Frankfurt vs Sporting CP (18:45)

It took until the fourth game for Frankfurt to secure their first league win of the campaign, but if they can reproduce the continental form which guided them to UEFA Europa League glory last term, there will be few complaints. Filip Kostić has gone but Mario Götze has arrived, while Daichi Kamada looks to have pushed on as the creative fulcrum. Sporting CP have had a similar start in Portugal, Pedro Gonçalves's best efforts only enough to secure them seven points from five games.

Did you know?
Sporting CP achieved their biggest home (4-0) and away (4-1) wins in the Champions League in successive group matches against Beşiktaş last year.

Every Frankfurt goal on the road to Europa League glory

Atlético vs Porto (21:00)

Atleti and Porto have suffered early-season setbacks – against Villarreal and Rio Ave respectively – but both teams know how to turn it on for the Champions League. They met twice last season, the Spanish side winning 3-1 away (it was 1-0 after 89 minutes) and drawing 0-0 at home, with as many red cards as goals across the two matches. We could well be in for more of the same high-octane action.

Did you know?
Porto are embarking on their 26th Champions League group stage campaign (the same number as Bayern). Only Barcelona and Real Madrid (27) have appeared in more.

Club Brugge vs Leverkusen (21:00)

Carl Hoefkens stepped up at Club Brugge when Schreuder departed for Ajax and looks to be finding his feet in the top job. Up front, Espanyol youth academy product Ferran Jutglà has already made a big impression for the Belgian club, and the 23-year-old could pose problems for a Leverkusen team that has struggled at the back in 2022/23.

Did you know?
Club Brugge became the first side ever to concede four goals or more in four consecutive Champions League games last season.