Champions League Matchday 3 Predictions
Beşiktaş vs. Sporting
Both teams have fielded losses on Matchdays 1 and 2, and now sit at the bottom of the Group C table, with Beşiktaş ahead on goal difference. Ironically, these two teams have not only been putting up similar performances in the UEFA Champions League (UCL), but domestically as well. I’m leaning towards Beşiktaş coming into this match with the advantage, especially with the Turkish side hosting, but I don’t see either side making significant progress from this match.
Prediction: 1-1 draw
Club Brugge vs. Manchester City
Club Brugge has arguably had a better Champions League run so far compared to Man City, sitting behind table-toppers PSG purely on goal difference, but I expect this to change after this match. Although Club Brugge have been playing well, City will be coming off of what should be a rather low-pressure match against Burnley on the weekend, and will be looking to reclaim a Round of 16 spot.
Prediction: Man City wins 2-1
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Real Madrid
Shakhtar Donetsk is sitting at the bottom of Group D, and I don’t expect this to change after this match. Despite Shakhtar being the hosts and Real Madrid looking shaky after their shock 2-1 loss to Sheriff, Carlo Ancelotti should have had enough time to turn his team around. Additionally, Shakhtar will be facing Zorya Luhansk on the weekend, and Real will likely arrive at the Olympiyskiy much better rested.
Prediction: Real wins 2-1
PSG vs. Leipzig
After their victory over Manchester City on Matchday 2, PSG will be looking to continue their momentum. With Leipzig having to face Freiburg on the weekend, it seems doubtful that the German side will have the stamina or the prowess to overcome the Group A table-toppers. Though the visitors will certainly be trying their best to climb out of the bottom of the table, they’ve had a dismal away record this season, and will need something special to topple PSG.
Prediction: PSG wins 3-1
Atlético Madrid vs. Liverpool
This is definitely one of the matches to keep an eye on this week. Although Liverpool is sitting solidly on top of Group B, an Atlético victory could see their positions switched. Although the Spanish side dropped points against Porto on Matchday 1, their recent victories over AC Milan on Matchday 2 and Barcelona domestically will lend them momentum going into Matchday 3. In contrast, Liverpool’s domineering 5-1 performance against Porto has been offset by draws against Brentford and Manchester City domestically. While I think the English side comes into this match stronger, Atlético hasn’t lost at home since February. All in all, this match seems too close to call.
Prediction: 2-2 draw
Inter Milan vs. Sheriff
Group D has been Sheriff’s playground these past two matchdays, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept that momentum going. While Real Madrid was hardly playing at their best on Matchday 2, there’s no denying that Sheriff is playing well and taking advantage of their opponents’ shortcomings. In fact, if Sheriff win on Matchday 3, they’re pretty much guaranteed at the very least a spot in the Europa League. Even if Sheriff take their first loss in this season’s Champions League group stage, Real Madrid would need to win by a three-goal margin to take the top spot. For now, Sheriff is sitting comfortably, and I’d expect them to stay that way after Matchday 3.
Prediction: Sheriff wins 2-0
Ajax vs. Borussia Dortmund
Neither of these teams have lost in this season’s Champions League so far, with Ajax ahead of Dortmund on goal difference. In terms of recent performance, Ajax definitely has a slight edge in both domestic and European competition. This, coupled with the fact that Erling Haaland’s fitness is still in question for the visitors, tilts the scales in the Dutch side’s favor.
Prediction: Ajax wins 2-1
Porto vs. AC Milan
AC Milan has yet to earn a point in this season’s Champions League, and I don’t see this changing on Matchday 3. Both teams lost to their respective competitors on Matchday 2, and both turned it around on the weekend domestically, but Tiémoué Bakayoko is still a question mark for AC Milan, and Porto will be enjoying home-field advantage. The Rossoneri will likely find themselves up against stiff competition in Porto.
Prediction: Porto wins 1-0
Salzburg vs. Wolfsburg
Salzburg is the only team in Group G that has won a game in this season’s UCL group phase, has won their last five matches, and has not lost since July. Now on a streak of 18 games without a loss, the Austrian side certainly looks capable of taking home all three points. Wolfsburg, on the other hand, seems to be inclined to draw matches this season, having drawn on Matchdays 1 and 2 in the UCL, and drawn in two of their last five domestic head-to-heads. I don’t see Wolfsburg winning this match, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this aforementioned tendency rears its head and salvages a point for the German side.
Prediction: 2-2 draw
Barcelona vs. Dynamo Kyiv
Barcelona is sitting at the bottom of the Group E table after back-to-back 3-0 losses on Matchdays 1 and 2 to Bayern and Benfica, respectively, and will be looking to change that with this match. Despite Barcelona’s dismal recent record, Dynamo Kyiv is still the underdog coming into this match in terms of individual player prowess and resources in general. Still, given how both teams have been performing, I think that Kyiv has a real chance at shutting out Barça. Barcelona does indeed have a very good shot at all three points but will need to make major corrections to get there.
Prediction: Kyiv wins 1-0
Lille vs. Sevilla
While Lille and Sevilla are technically only separated by a single point in the Group G table, Sevilla is definitely the stronger side in this match-up. As a side statistic, a red card has been shown in each of Sevilla’s last three matches, with two of them shown against Los Nervionenses. As a matter of fact, a red card has been shown in both of Sevilla’s UCL group stage matches, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this trend continues.
Prediction: Sevilla wins 2-0 and a red card is shown
Manchester United vs. Atalanta
Manchester United has won just two of their last six matches, and if they drop points to Leicester City on the weekend, they’ll face Atalanta not having won a domestic match in nearly a month. Although Atalanta doesn’t look significantly stronger than the English side, they have been performing much more consistently, and have a real chance at taking home all three points. If United wants to secure a Round of 16 spot, they’ll have to focus on polishing their tactics and doing a better job of integrating and utilizing Ronaldo. Both of United’s UCL group stage matches have ended with scores of 2-1 and I think it would be rather ironic if this one did too.
Prediction: Atalanta wins 2-1
Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Juventus
There’s not a lot to debate on this match: Juventus have been playing consistently. The Old Lady has won her last four matches and hasn’t lost in over a month. Zenit hasn’t been performing poorly this season, but it seems doubtful that they will be able to hold against the Italian side, especially with both Dybala and Morata set to return from injury. This match seems to be firmly in the hands of the I Bianconeri.
Prediction: Juventus wins 4-0
Benfica vs. Bayern
Bayern has been playing exceptionally well in Group E so far, sitting at the top of the table with the highest goal difference of all the group stage table-toppers so far. Although they’ll be away against Benfica, the German side certainly seems capable of taking home all three points. I would expect, however, that Benfica’s attack will take advantage of any breakthroughs they find.
Prediction: Bayern wins 3-2
Chelsea vs. Malmö
Malmö has stood no chance against its fellow Group H competitors, and it’s unlikely that this match-up with Chelsea will change that. Despite losing to Juventus on Matchday 2, Chelsea has been performing relatively well this season, and I would expect them to continue their form against the Swedish side.
Prediction: Chelsea wins 2-0
Young Boys vs. Villareal
Although Villareal sits at the bottom of Group F, this is the Matchday that could change that. Losing 2-1 to Manchester United on Matchday 2 and drawing 2-2 with Atalanta on Matchday 1, Villareal has come very close to fielding their first UCL group stage win. Young Boys is certainly coming in with more momentum, however, and the Spanish side will need to be on their guard and play smart to take home all three points.
Prediction: Villareal wins 1-0