MATCHDAY: Haaland homecoming; Potter’s first game for Chelsea
A preview of what’s happening in the Champions League on Wednesday:
Rangers to host Napoli in a game postponed from Tuesday due to logistical issues related to the death of Queen Elizabeth II. UEFA said Napoli fans would not be allowed to attend the game in Glasgow. Rangers, back in the Champions League after 12 years of absence, opened the group with a 4-0 defeat at Ajax. Napoli beat Liverpool 4-1.
Graham Potter takes charge of his first game as Chelsea manager when Salzburg visit Stamford Bridge. Potter left Brighton and replaced Thomas Tuchel as manager on Thursday before Chelsea’s English Premier League game at Fulham on Saturday was called off following the Queen’s death. The pressure is immediately on Potter, Chelsea having opened the group with a 1-0 defeat at Dinamo Zagreb. Tuchel was fired two days later. Salzburg started with a 1-1 draw at home to AC Milan, who host Dinamo for their second game.
Defending champions Real Madrid will be without injured Karim Benzema when they host Leipzig. The striker is still recovering from a hamstring injury sustained in Madrid’s 3-0 win over Celtic in last week’s opener. Coach Carlos Ancelotti used Rodrygo and Eden Hazard alongside Vinícius Júnior in attack during the team’s win over Mallorca in the Spanish Premier League last weekend. Madrid have a perfect record to start the season, with seven wins. In the other match, Shakhtar Donetsk play their first ‘home’ game in the group in Warsaw when Celtic visit the Polish city. The Ukrainian team played in exile eight for years because of Russian aggression.
Erling Haaland quickly finds himself with Borussia Dortmund. The striker left Dortmund in the offseason to join Manchester City, the side he supported as a boy after being born in England, and he started the Premier League in explosive fashion, scoring 10 goals in six games. Then, in his first Champions League game for City, Haaland netted twice in a 4-0 win at Sevilla last week to go 25 goals in 20 games in the competition. Dortmund, who beat FC Copenhagen 3-0 to open the group, had Haaland in their squad in the 2-1 loss at City in the 2021 Champions League quarter-finals. Copenhagen and Sevilla are looking to bounce back from their meeting in Denmark.
Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are looking to continue their sparkling form as unbeaten Paris Saint-Germain travel to face Israeli club Maccabi Haifa. Mbappe scored two razor-sharp volleys in PSG’s first win over Juventus, while Neymar scored a French league record eight goals, one more than Mbappe. But PSG coach Christophe Galtier will be without central defender Presnel Kimpembe, who has been out for at least six weeks with a hamstring injury. Substitute goalkeeper Keylor Navas will not take part in the game due to lower back pain. Benfica, who lead the group on goal difference, have had a great start to the season and will be aiming for their 12th straight overall win when they travel to Juventus in the other game.
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