Real Madrid have won the last three editions of the competition but have a new look for their opening game with Roma.
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Real Madrid have won a record three successive UEFA Champions Leagues and they kick off a new era in the competition at home to a Roma side who are looking to build on their own impressive performances last season.
• Having become the first side to successfully retain the UEFA Champions League in 2016/17, Madrid made it three titles in a row last season – just the fourth time in European Cup history a side has triumphed in three or more successive campaigns. That proved a swansong for both coach Zinédine Zidane and talismanic forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who both departed the Santiago Bernabéu in the summer.
• Roma, meanwhile, reached the semi-finals in 2017/18, producing a memorable comeback to defeat Barcelona in the quarter-finals before losing to eventual runners-up Liverpool in the last four.
• The sides have become familiar UEFA Champions League foes in the 21st century – all ten of their meetings have come from September 2001 onwards.
• The first six fixtures all came in the group stage, Madrid picking up four points from their two games against Roma in the 2001/02 first group stage and all six in 2004/05, while each club won their away games in the 2002/03 first group stage.
• Roma, however, ousted Madrid in the 2007/08 round of 16, winning both legs 2-1.
• Most recently, Madrid got the better of Roma in the last 16 of their triumphant 2015/16 campaign, winning 2-0 both away and home with Ronaldo on target in each game.
• Madrid are holders and 13-time champions. Semi-finalists or better in each of the last eight seasons, this is Real Madrid's 49th European Cup campaign – more than any other side.
• Third in last season's Liga, the Spanish giants are in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 23rd time – a competition high they share with Barcelona and Porto.
• In 2017/18, Madrid finished second in their group – the second year running they had been runners-up in their section – but went on to beat Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern München in the knockout rounds before Gareth Bale (2) and Karim Benzema scored in the 3-1 final victory against Liverpool in Kyiv.
• Madrid's six-game winning run against Italian opponents was ended by Juventus – who they beat in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League final in the middle of that run – in last season's quarter-final second leg. Madrid were beaten 3-1 at home, but squeezed through having won 3-0 in Turin.
• That home defeat by Juve ended Madrid's five-game unbeaten run against Italian visitors at the Bernabéu (W4 D1).
• Now coached by Julen Lopetegui, the Merengues lost 4-2 to Atlético Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup in Tallinn in August, denying them a third straight triumph in the competition.
• The Atlético defeat was only Madrid's fourth in their last 33 European fixtures, winning 22 and drawing seven. Those draws include the 2016 final against Atlético Madrid, which Madrid won on penalties in Milan.
• The Merengues have won 34 of their last 42 UEFA Champions League home matches, losing just two – 4-3 to Schalke in their 2014/15 round of 16 second leg and against Juventus. They still won both ties on aggregate.
• Third in Serie A in 2017/18, Roma are in the group stage for an 11th time and the fourth in five years.
• Roma, runners-up in the 1983/84 European Cup, reached the semi-finals last season, losing to Liverpool. They finished top of a group including Chelsea and Atlético Madrid, before beating Shakhtar Donetsk and Barcelona in the knockout rounds – the latter particularly memorable, as a 4-1 away defeat was followed by a 3-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico – before succumbing to Liverpool.
• However, Roma lost all three away matches in last season's knockout rounds – conceding 11 goals in the process – and are on a four-game losing streak away from home in Europe having also gone down 2-0 at Atlético on matchday five. They won only one of their six away games in last season's UEFA Champions League – 2-1 at Qarabağ on matchday two – and have tasted victory in only three of their last 17 European away encounters (D6 L8).
• The Giallorossi have lost on four of their last five trips to Spain, the exception a 4-0 success at Villarreal in the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League round of 32 in which Edin Džeko scored a hat-trick.
Links and trivia
• New Madrid coach Lopetegui was in charge of Porto in 2014/15, with Roma's Iván Marcano and Casemiro, now of Real Madrid, among his squad.
• Have played in Spain:
Iván Marcano (Real Racing Club 2006–09, Villarreal 2009/10, Getafe 2010/11)
Steven N'Zonzi (Sevilla 2015–18)
Federico Fazio (Sevilla 2007–14 & 2016)
Diego Perotti (Sevilla 2008–14)
• N'Zonzi was in the Sevilla team beaten 3-2 by Madrid in the 2017 UEFA Super Cup.
• International team-mates:
Luka Modrić & Ante Ćorić (Croatia)
Raphaël Varane & Steven N'Zonzi (France)
Casemiro, Marcelo & Juan Jesus (Brazil)
• Toni Kroos scored Germany's last-gasp winner past Sweden's Robin Olsen in the group stage of this summer's FIFA World Cup.
• Italy's Daniele De Rossi scored a penalty equaliser against a Spain side featuring Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos and Nacho in a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw in October 2016.
• Isco scored twice as Spain, also featuring Carvajal, Ramos and Marco Asensio, beat De Rossi and Italy 3-0 in September 2017.
• Summer transfers
In: Vinícius Júnior (Flamengo), Andriy Lunin (Zorya Lugansk)*, Álvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Mariano Díaz (Lyon)
Out: Omar Mascarell (Schalke), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Achraf Hakimi (Dortmund, loan), Mateo Kovačić (Chelsea, loan), Theo Hernández (Real Sociedad, loan), Martin Ødegaard (Vitesse, loan), Raúl de Tomás (Rayo Vallecano, loan), Andriy Lunin (Leganés, loan), Fábio Coentrão (end of contract), Borja Mayoral (Levante, loan)
*Not in UEFA Champions League squad
• Real Madrid were beaten 4-2 by neighbours Atlético in the UEFA Super Cup on 15 August – their first final defeat in international competition since losing to Boca Juniors in the 2000 European-South American Cup.
• Luka Modrić was voted UEFA Men's Player of the Year for 2017/18 on 30 August. The Croatian also collected the award for UEFA Champions League Midfielder of the Season, with club-mates Keylor Navas and Sergio Ramos collecting the prizes for Goalkeeper and Defender respectively.
• Madrid have ten points after four Liga games this season – two more than at the same stage of 2017/18 – although they dropped points for the first time this season on Saturday as they were held 1-1 at Athletic Club.
• Karim Benzema has four goals in his first four league games – matching his total after 25 matches last season, and making his best start to a campaign for Madrid. The Frenchman now has 197 goals for the club.
• Thibaut Courtois made his Real Madrid debut in a 4-1 home win against Leganés on 1 September – Sergio Ramos' 400th victory at club level.
• Gareth Bale scored in Madrid's first three league games and had found the net in seven in a row in the competition – eight goals in total – before drawing a blank on Saturday, although he did provide the assist for Isco's goal.
• Marco Asensio scored one goal and provided three assists – including one for Ramos – in Spain's 6-0 UEFA Nations League win against Croatia on 11 September.
• Courtois kept two clean sheets as Belgium won 4-0 in a friendly in Scotland before a 3-0 UEFA Nations League defeat of Iceland.
• Bale scored in Wales' 4-1 win over the Republic of Ireland on 6 September.
• Summer transfers
In: Iván Marcano (Porto), Ante Ćorić (Dinamo Zagreb), Bryan Cristante (Atalanta), Justin Kluivert (Ajax), Antonio Mirante (Bologna), Davide Santon (Inter), Javier Pastore (Paris), William Bianda (Lens)*, Nicolò Zaniolo (Internazionale), Daniel Fuzato (Palmeiras)*, Robin Olsen (København), Steven N'Zonzi (Sevilla)
Out: Radja Nainggolan (Inter), Marco Tumminello (Atalanta), Arturo Calabresi (Bologna), Lukasz Skorupski (Bologna), Bruno Peres (São Paulo, loan), Alisson Becker (Liverpool), Gerson (Fiorentina, loan), Grégoire Defrel (Sampdoria, loan), Leandro Castán (released), Maxime Gonalons (Sevilla, loan), Kevin Strootman (Marseille)
• Roma have picked up five points from their first four Serie A games, including only two from the last three. They drew 2-2 at home to Chievo on Sunday.
• Steven N'Zonzi made five appearances in France's FIFA World Cup victory this summer, coming on as a substitute in the final against Croatia.
• Patrik Schick's goal could not prevent the Czech Republic losing 2-1 at home to Ukraine in the UEFA Nations League on 6 September. The Roma striker missed the next game against Russia with a groin injury.
• Edin Džeko scored the only goal as Bosnia and Herzegovina defeated Austria 1-0 on 11 September while Kostas Manolas's strike was not enough for Greece to avoid a 2-1 loss to Hungary the same night, both in the UEFA Nations League.
• Alessandro Florenzi returned against Chievo having not played since suffering a knee injury against Atalanta on 27 August.
• Coach Eusebio Di Francesco renewed his contract until 2020 over the summer, when Florenzi signed a new deal until 2023.