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UEFA Champions League Kicks Off with a Bang

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Credit: UEFA Champions League Twitter

The first two days of the UEFA Champions League are in the books and the most prestigious tournament in Europe did not disappoint. As the group stage kicked off, we were able to see early glimpses of which teams are best positioned to go deep into the tournament. Here are the most impressive teams after a thrilling Matchday One:

Barcelona

Barcelona kicked off their 2023-24 UEFA Champions League campaign in style with a convincing 5-0 victory over Royal Antwerp at home. Barca wasted no time asserting their dominance as João Félix, one of the rising stars of the team, curled a delightful free-kick into the top corner in just the 10th minute. The Catalan giants continued their relentless attack, with Robert Lewandowski doubling Barcelona’s advantage just four minutes later, showcasing his clinical prowess. Antwerp found it challenging to contain Barcelona’s offensive onslaught, and in the 22nd minute, Félix’s cross was unfortunately deflected into his own net by Antwerp defender Jelle Bataille. In the second half, Gavi further extended the lead to 4-0 in the 54th minute with a well-taken finish, while João Félix completed his brace in the 63rd minute with a header, capping off a memorable performance. Barcelona had one of the most dominant performances in Matchday One and look like the best team in La Liga.

Arsenal
Arsenal made a dream return to the UEFA Champions League on September 20, 2023, with a convincing 4-0 victory over PSV Eindhoven at the Emirates Stadium. It was a special night for Bukayo Saka who gave Arsenal the early lead, scoring his first Champions League goal in his first Champions League game. It was an easy win for Arsenal who would tally three more goals and look like a tour de force.

Paris St. Germain

PSG is in what is known as the ‘” group of death” as there are no easy matches in that group. Paris St. Germain started the match against Borussia Dortmund and were impressive in their win against a tough and talented futbol club. Thanks to goals from superstar Kylian Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi, the Ligue 1 champions look like the best team in the most difficult group and will be a tough out for anyone going forward.

Man City

The defending Champs started slow against Red Star Belgrade dominating the first half only to allow a goal before half time trailing 1-0. Then Julian Alvarez exploded in the second half. His two goals gave Man City a lead they would not relinquish and would expand on Rodri’s 73rd minute goal. Manchester City has now won 27 Champion league home games and outside of an out of character first half, they should be considered the favorites to repeat until proven otherwise.

Bayern Munich

There are no words to describe the dominance of Bayern Munich in the group stages. With their 4-3 victory over a reeling Manchester United, Munich has now won 28 consecutive group stage games. Munich took advantage of a critical mistake by Manchester United’s Andre Onana who palmed the ball that led to a 2-0 Munich lead that would give them the cushion they needed to win. Munich like Paris St. Germain should go deep in the tournament and is a team that no one wants to play.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid began their journey in the Champions League at their home stadium, the Santiago Bernabéu, facing Union Berlin. This game should have been easy for Madrid, but they have a habit of not playing their best against weaker teams. In the last minute of the match, Jude Bellingham, who has become a superstar for Real Madrid, scored the winning goal, giving Madrid a 1-0 victory. However, it’s important to note that Madrid didn’t play exceptionally well in this game, and if they want to do well in the Champions League, they need to perform much better than they did against Union Berlin. The positive side is Jude Bellingham’s performance. In his first six games this season, he has scored six goals and is being compared to Cristiano Ronaldo. Like Ronaldo, Bellingham is scoring a lot of goals, and his celebrations after scoring remind people of Ronaldo’s famous “Siu” celebration that was known worldwide. As long as Madrid has Bellingham, they have a good chance of winning against any team.

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