Champions Real Madrid set for Moscow test without Ramos

Champions Real Madrid set for Moscow test without Ramos

The UEFA Champions League returns for match day two with defending champions, Real Madrid making the long trip to Moscow without captain, Sergio Ramos.

But before the match in Moscow, let’s take a look at Groups E and F, where there are some intriguing battles as well.

GROUP E

Bayern vs Ajax

Having both won their opening group stage fixtures against Benfica and AEK respectively, Bayern and Ajax meet for the ninth time on Tuesday evening and it promises to be a keenly contested one.

Statistics

It’s been quite even between both teams with three wins and two draws apiece in eight meetings; with Bayern scoring sixteen times and Ajax netting fifteen.

Going by current form, Ajax have four wins and a loss which they did well to recover from while Bayern have three wins, a draw and a loss in their last two league matches.

AEK vs Benfica

Both teams go into Tuesday evening’s encounter looking to bounce back from the opening day loss.

Statistics

AEK and Benfica have previously met just twice with one win and two goals apeice.

Based on current form, AEK have three wins and two losses in five games with both losses coming in the last three games. While Benfica have three wins, a draw and a loss.

GROUP F

Hoffenheim Vs Manchester City

Reigning English champions, Manchester City look to bounce back from the opening day loss to Lyon at the Ethiad; with Pep Guardiola saying that the team has five finals ahead of them starting with the Hoffenheim game.

Statistics

This will be the first meeting between both sides. However based on current form, Man City edges the German side with four wins and the only loss coming against Lyon. Hoffenheim on the other hand haven’t covered themselves in glory winning just one of their five matches so far with two draws and two losses.

Lyon vs Shakhtar Donetsk

Lyon will be boosted by their matchday 1 win over Manchester City as Shakhtar look to make up for their opening day draw to Hoffenheim at home in what appears to be an exciting matchup.

Statistics

Both teams will be meeting for the first time but come into this tie in relatively good form. So far, both teams are yet to lose a match with Lyon boasting of three wins and two draws while Shakhtar Donetsk have dropped points just once – winning four and drawing one.

Group G
CSKA Moscow vs Real Madrid

Defending champions, Madrid, will be without Ramos, who did not travel with his team mates as manager Julen Lopetegui has decided to give his skipper a deserved rest for their Group G game against CSKA Moscow.

“He’s played more minutes than anyone this season,” he said during his pre-match press conference on Monday.

Los Blancos may be having a mixed campaign so far in their domestic league but they got off to a flying start in the Champions League when they defeated Italian side, AS Roma, 3-0 on match day one.

On Tuesday, they take on Russia side, CSKA Moscow, who are also having similar domestic struggles and kicked off their UCL season with a 2-2 draw at Viktoria Plzen.

This will be the third meeting between the two, with Real Madrid having won one and the other game ending in a draw. That draw came in a round of 16 first leg clash back in February 2012 at the venue for tonight’s match,

Madrid will be without their scorer that day, Cristiano Ronaldo, who has since joined Serie A side, Juventus.

CSKA would be hoping to repeat their performance that day or even better it while the Spaniards hope to continue their dominance over Russia sides.

In the other group G game, Roma host Viktoria Plzen at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. After a poor start to their season, which includes that thrashing in Spain, Roma go into this game full of confidence after two consecutive wins in the Serie A.

They host Plzen in the first ever game between the two sides.

Group H
Manchester United vs Valencia

At Old Trafford, Manchester United will be looking to set aside off the pitch issues when they face Valencia is a very tricky tie for both sides.

It’s been a torrid week for the Red Devils, who go into this game after a disappointing loss in the Premier League to West Ham. They battle Valencia, who also are in a terrible domestic form, but will be the more confident side following their win in La Liga at the weekend.

United have never lost to the Spanish side in the UCL and will be looking to ensure that does not change on Tuesday night. For Marcelino Garcia and his side, the task is clear- a José Mourinho’s men look short of confidence at the moment and what better time to aim for a first win over the Red Devils in the competition?

Elsewhere in the group, it’s Juventus who host Swiss club, Young Boys in Turin. With back-to-back games against Manchester United next, Juventus know this is the game to take maximum points.

The Old Lady will have to play without new star, Ronaldo, who is suspended after his red card on the opening day.

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