Champions League Round 1 Preview For Italian Clubs

This Tuesday, fans of European football all around the world will rejoice with the return of their favorite club competition, the UEFA Champions League. This season, the Serie A will be represented by Italian champions Juventus, their runners-ups Inter, as well as Atalanta and Lazio. And Whilst these four teams endured a terrible weekend, where they all culminated a single point from their four encounters, they will be hoping to make up for it in round 1 of the Champions League group stage.

Dynamo Kyiv – Juventus

In the competition’s opener, Ukrainian runners-up Dynamo Kyiv will host Italian champions Juventus. Although all eyes in this group are already fixed on the encounter between the Bianconeri and Barcelona which should include the best two players in the world for the last 12 years or so, the capital side has a golden chance to make a statement at home by upsetting Andrea Pirlo’s side who are not yet at their best.

To make matters worse for Juventus, they will again be without their superstar Cristiano Ronaldo who tested positive for Covid-19 last week, alongside Weston Mckennie, but they could be boosted by Paulo Dybala’s excepted season debut as well as the returning Aaron Ramsey who could line-up just behind the Argentine and Alvaro Morata.

The Old Lady won’t find it easy in Ukraine, and a big result isn’t necessary at the time, but the Italian champions need to focus on opening their campaign with 3 points and avoid another Crotone scenario.

Lazio – Borussia Dortmund

Also on Tuesday, Lazio make their long awaited Champions league comeback after 13 years of absence, as they welcome Bundesliga runners-up Borussia Dortmund at the Olimpico Stadium in Roma. While the draw has handed Lazio a relatively average group which boosted their qualification hopes, the Germans will arguably be the scariest side in Group F, as they prepare to unleash the thrilling trio of Marco Reus, Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland in the Italian capital.

On the other hand, the Biancocelesti will rely on Ciro Immobile – who was suspended during the embarrassing loss against Sampdoria – to  lead the assault against his former club, supported by Joaquin Correa, Luis Alberto and Sergei Milinkovic-Savic, while Luiz Felipe is racing against time to make his return in defense.

Lazio need to put their difficult beginning of the season behind them, and try to come out with at least one point in their glorious Champions League return.

Inter Milan – Borussia Mönchengladbach  

On Wednesday, the Italo-German battles will resume as Inter welcome Borussia Mönchengladbach to the Guiseppe Meazza stadium in Milano. With group C being one of the most complicated groups in the whole competition – in the presence of Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk – every match in this group could be closely contested.

While the hosts will rely on their terrific French duo in attack – Marcus Thuram and Alassane Pléa – Antonio Conte will Kick-start his Champions League campaign with almost the same lineup that lost the Milan derby on Saturday, spearheaded by Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, with the likes of Nicolò Barella, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Persic and Ashraf Hakimi as their supporting crew.

In such a tight group, the Nerazzurri can’t afford to waste points at home in round 1 if they want to avoid a repeat of last season’s Champions League early elimination.

Midtjylland – Atalanta

After last season’s exploits, Another European adventure awaits Atalanta, and it begins with a northern trip to Scandinavia, where they will be hosted by Danish champions Midtjylland.

Gian Piero Gasperini will have almost an entire squad to choose from, with goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini and defender Mattia Caldara being the only notable absentees. Captain Alejandro Gomez will be expected to play just behind Colombian strikers Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata.

With former European champions Liverpool and Ajax both included in the deadly Group D, Atalanta must conquer their Danish opponents home and away in order to earn 6 vital points in the race for qualification to the round of 16.