Top 5 Stories from This Week’s Champions League Action: Barcelona’s Sad Demise

This week marked one of the most anticipated annual occasions for the average football fan, as the sport’s elite club competition returned to lighten our boring Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Nevertheless, once the action begins, things can turn sour pretty quick for some – At least this was the case for the city of Milano last night. So here are our five major takeaways from the opening matchday of the Champions League, as we focus primarily on Italian clubs.

A Priceless Point

On Tuesday night, Atalanta were hosted by Europa League winners Villarreal, and their encounter delivered the expected excitement. La Dea scored an early goal and a late one, while the Yellow Submarines scored two themselves, as the two sides ended up sharing the spoils.

Following Manchester United’s shocking defeat at the hands of Young Boys, this group is expected to be an incredibly tight one, thus, an away point could make all the difference for Gian Piero Gasperini’s men by early December.

Fresh Beginning or a One Off?

Following their domestic woes, Juventus earned their first victory of the season in their away trip to Malmo. The Swedish champions were no-match to Massimiliano Allegri’s men who scored three goals before the half time whistle, and ended up being the only Italian club to win their inaugural Champions League fixture.

Whilst the manager is undoubtedly pleased with this performance, fans and observers alike will be waiting for a confirmation in the next match, which happens to be a major Serie A clash against Milan.

This showdown should provide us with answers, as the Bianconeri fans will be hoping that their European win marks the TRUE beginning of their campaign, and not just a one-off decent performance against a less-than-formidable opponent.

A Giant’s Demise

Although we mostly focus on Italian clubs, an early Champions League bloodbath between Barcelona and Bayern Munich was too tempting to ignore. For us millennials, Pep Guardiola’s Barca was arguably the most exhilarating team that we saw thus far in our lives. Therefore, love them or hate them, watching the Blaugrana fall from grace is a cringing sight.

The Catalans 0-3 loss at home against the Bavarians surely wasn’t their worst European defeat in the last few years, nonetheless, this wasn’t a shocking one like its precedents. No, this one was completely foreshadowed, and this might just be the saddest part of all.

Milan Homecoming

On Wednesday night, Milan played Liverpool away from home. And yet, this could only be described as a homecoming for the Italian giants, as they made their long-awaited return to their favorite competition. The fact that their first battle happened to be against their historic foes from the Istanbul and Athens only added to the glamor.

The Rossoneri may have lost the match, but they definitely gained some vital experience. And while their English foes appeared to be too strong for them at times, Stefano Pioli’s didn’t go done without a battle, and even shocked their opponents with back-to-back goals before half time.

The Diavolo were immediately thrusted into the toughest group in the Champions League this season, but the Italians are proving that their place truly is amongst the big boys.

New Season, Same Mistakes

In a déjà vu scenery, Inter lost to Real Madrid in the group stage. Truth to be told, the Nerazzurri fared much better this time under the guidance of Simone Inzaghi in comparison to last season, and can count themselves unlucky to go out empty handed following Rodrygo’s late winner.

Elsewhere in the group, Shakhtar Donetsk were shell-shocked by Moldovan newcomers Sherif, who are now stunningly in the lead.

Failing to qualify from such group would require an epic mess-up from the Italian side, but based on their recent Champions League record, they better be incredibly cautious, as another slip-up would surely turn on the alarm bells.

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