UEFA Champions League returns in style


One of the biggest soccer (or football, depending on where you’re from) tournaments in the world came back on it’s 59th season on Tuesday. The UEFA Champions League is home to the best 32 teams in Europe, who fight in a group stage and further knockout rounds in the hopes of earning football glory. This highly competitive event is unlike no other in the world and it usually attracts millions of viewers worldwide. The fact that the best 32 teams in Europe play in it offers a chance to see old rivalries resurface, new ones come to life and see the world’s best players all in one place.

The groups in this stage are very even, with group F probably being the toughest one. Last year’s champions, Bayern Munich, started off with a solid performance against CSKA Moscow in group D . The other match in that group was also a convincing victory from Manchester City over Viktoria Plzen, which is considered the weakest team in the tournament.

Group C also consisted of two good wins from Benfica over Anderlecht (2-0) and PSG over Olympiacos (4-1.) PSG have invested hundreds of millions of euros in the last couple of years in order to create a strong team. It seems that the investment is working, as the players showed great chemistry today in a very hard field like Olympiacos’ Karaiskakis Stadium.

Group B was home to the biggest win of the match day with title favorites Real Madrid beating Galatasaray 6-1. The Turkish team’s stadium is considered a “living hell,” because of the strong support from their fans and the hostility they bring to the visitors. Madrid are title favorites after buying strong players like Isco and Gareth Bale in the summer transfer market. They have been in search of their 10th title since their last win in 2002. Their performance today is surely a reason to keep them labeled as favorites this year. The other match in the group was a surprising draw between Juventus and Copenhagen.

Finally, Manchester United beat Bayer Leverkusen 4-2. It marked the European debut of their new manager and the return of legendary striker Wayne Rooney. Shaktar beat Real Sociedad in the other match, ruining the Spanish team’s return to the competition after 10 years.

Tomorrow the rest of the groups will play. The matches that will definitely draw the attention of all will be Barcelona vs Ajax, Napoli vs Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal vs Marseille, with the last two being in the same group, which is already considered the “deadly group”  because of the strength of all four teams.

While it’s only the first week of the tournament, the excitement is already present and the rest of the group stage should be an overall collection of great football. Fans all over the world can finally feast their eyes with the best of the best after the long 4-month wait.

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