The second evening of Uefa Champions League action features some intriguing clashes including a meeting between former winners of Europe’s elite competition.
Groups A through to D get their campaigns underway after last-nights opening fixtures in the other half of the draw.
What is in store for Wednesday
Defending champions Bayern Munich open their defence against Atletico Madrid who eliminated Liverpool last term to end the Reds hopes of successive titles.
Bayern star Robert Lewandowski says the team are still in competition mode having lifted the trophy in August.
“We didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy the win, but that’s probably a good thing because you stay in competition mode,” Lewandowski said.
“We know that the new season brings new challenges and expectations. When you are at the top, it’s harder to show that you want to stay there.”
The other match in Group A sees Austrian Champions Salzburg welcome Lokomotiv Moskva at fortress Stadium Salzburg where the hosts have not lost in 12 games.
Real Madrid begin another assault on the trophy they have so often lifted in the past by welcoming Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk.
Inter Milan are back at the San Siro looking to erase memories of a derby day defeat to AC Milan thanks to His Royal Highness Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Inter face a tricky examination from Bundesliga outfit Mönchengladbach. Die Fohlen make their first Champions League appearance since 2015.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City begin their hunt of an elusive Uefa Champions League trophy with a home tie against Portuguese Champions Porto.
City’s Portuguese Centre-Back Ruben Dias, who joined the Sky Blues from Porto’s rivals Benfica, said before the contest that he was keen to help in masterminding the downfall of the two-time European champions.
“I am the person who knows them best and, obviously, I will try to help the team in the best way I can,” said Dias.
“They are a strong team, they know what they have to do on the pitch and are very good at set pieces. We know that we have a difficult game ahead of us and we need to be strong to achieve a win.”
In perhaps the most exciting prospect of the evening, Liverpool are in Amsterdam for a tie against Ajax. The match is a meeting of two of Europe’s greatest attacking teams and promises plenty of thrills.
Mohamed Salah has netted in four of Liverpool’s last seven European away games, and the Dutch champions can expect a full bore performance from the Reds after their derby frustrations.
Ajax coach Erik Ten Hag has hinted that he may ask winger Dušan Tadic to operate in the number nine role to give the team an outlet to get beyond Liverpool’s gegenpress.
“We are not under pressure too often in the Eredivisie,” said ten Hag. “Dušan is then very effective if he puts in crosses and passes from the wing. But against teams that press us in our own half, he has the quality of making himself available and holding the ball up well when he plays at number nine.”
Midtjylland meet Atalanta in their opener on Wednesday. Denmark’s champions have had the longest journey; they made it through two qualifying rounds before beating Slavia Praha in the play-offs.
“Getting to the group stage is the ultimate,” coach Brian Priske said.
“Naturally, we agree. Enjoy it!”
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FIXTURES ON WEDNESDAY 21 OCTOBER
Group A: Salzburg vs Lokomotiv Moskva kick-off at 18:55 (SAST).
Bayern vs Atlético Madrid kick-off at 21:00 (SAST).
Group B: Real Madrid vs Shakhtar Donetsk kick-off at 18:55 (SAST).
Internazionale vs Mönchengladbach kick-off at 21:00 (SAST).
Group C: Manchester City vs Porto kick-off at 21:00 (SAST).
Olympiacos vs Marseille kick-off at 21:00 (SAST).
Group D: Ajax vs Liverpool kick-off at 21:00 (SAST).
Midtjylland vs Atalanta kick-off at 21:00 (SAST).