Champions League predictions - matchday 1

After months of waiting, the Champions League is back – with the first round of fixtures set to be played on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

There are plenty of interesting storylines already brewing this time out. Can Chelsea defend their title? Have Paris Saint-Germain finally got enough to overcome their Champions League hoodoo? And can Cristiano Ronaldo turn Manchester United into genuine contenders?

Answers to these questions and many more will be much clearer after matchday one. Here is how 90min sees those set of fixtures going…

Sevilla vs RB Salzburg

TSV Hartberg v FC Red Bull Salzburg - Admiral Bundesliga
Karim Adeyemi will be in action for RB Salzburg / Markus Tobisch/Getty Images

When is kick off? Tuesday 14 September, 17:45 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Aleksei Kulbakov
VAR? Bastian Dankert

Although they are dominant domestically and produce top-tier young talent at an incredible rate, RB Salzburg are yet to make their mark in Europe.

This season they have their best ever chance to do so, after being drawn in a group alongside Wolfsburg, Lille and Sevilla – who are their opponents on Tuesday.

The European specialists are being talked about as potential outsiders for the Spanish title this season and they will be confident of getting off to a good start in Europe at home.

Prediction: Sevilla 3-1 RB Salzburg

Young Boys vs Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo could make his first Champions League appearances since his dramatic return to Man Utd / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

When is kick off? Tuesday 14 September, 17:45 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Stadion Wankdorf
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Francois Letexier
VAR? Willy Delajod

Cristiano Ronaldo got his second spell at Old Trafford off to the perfect start on Saturday, netting twice in Man Utd’s 4-1 win over Newcastle.

He absolutely adores the Champions League, with no player scoring more goals in the history of the competition, and will be keen to get off the mark on Tuesday.

United are on a roll at the moment and Young Boys – who have not started the domestic season too well – will need a minor miracle to avoid defeat.

Prediction: Young Boys 0-3 Manchester United

Lille vs Wolfsburg

Lille will be hoping for a good start / JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/Getty Images

When is kick off? Tuesday 14 September, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Stade Pierre-Mauroy
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Danny Makkelie
VAR? Kevin Blom

Lille’s defence of the Ligue 1 title has started pretty poorly, with an exodus of first team players this summer clearly affecting them.

Meanwhile, Wolfsburg have started the season in flying form, winning each of their opening four Bundesliga games.

Key to Die Wolfe’s success has been their rock solid defence and they will need to be on form again to keep out the likes of Jonathan David and Burak Yilmaz.

Prediction: Lille 0-1 Wolfsburg

Villarreal vs Atalanta

Atletico Madrid v Villarreal - La Liga
Villarreal are the Europa League holders / Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

When is kick off? Tuesday 14 September, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? El Madrigal
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Clement Turpin
VAR? Jerome Brisard

Europa League holders Villarreal are yet to win this season, securing three successive La Liga draws to start the campaign, as well as losing the UEFA Super Cup final to Chelsea – albeit on penalties.

Atalanta have also endured an out of sorts opening month, scoring just three times in their first three Serie A games.

Gian Piero Gasperini will be hoping his side can rediscover their free-flowing selves in Spain, but as Villarreal are so strong at the back, it could be a tough ask.

Prediction: Villarreal 1-1 Atalanta

Chelsea vs Zenit

Romelu Lukaku
Chelsea are one of the favourites for the competition / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

When is kick off? Tuesday 14 September, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Stamford Bridge
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Bartosz Frankowski
VAR? Marco Fritz

The last time Chelsea defended their Champions League title during the 2012/13 season, it went terribly – with the Blues crashing out at the group stages.

There is little chance of that happening again this time around. Thomas Tuchel’s charges are one of the favourites to win the competition and after adding Romelu Lukaku to their ranks, Zenit should be very fearful ahead of their meeting on Tuesday.

Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Zenit

Malmo vs Juventus

Alvaro Morata
Juventus have made a poor start to the season / Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

When is kick off? Tuesday 14 September, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Swedbank Stadion
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Artur Manuel Ribeiro Soares Dias
VAR? Joao Pedro da Silva Pinheiro

Juventus’ start to life without Cristiano Ronaldo has been painful with Max Allegri’s side gaining just one point from their opening three Serie A games.

In this context, Malmo – who are currently in the midst of a tense title race – will be hopeful of springing an upset. It is not particularly likely though, even with Juve struggling to click in recent weeks.

Prediction: Malmo 0-2 Juventus

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich


When is kick off? Tuesday 14 September, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Camp Nou
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Michael Oliver
VAR? Stuart Attwell

In the standout fixture of matchday one, Barcelona host Bayern Munich for the first time since that 8-2 defeat.

Another ten goals are unlikely but Die Roten remain favourites for this one. After all the doom and gloom of the summer, Barça have actually played some good stuff so far – but Bayern showed their quality in a recent 4-1 win over RB Leipzig.

Prediction: Barcelona 1-3 Bayern Munich

Dynamo Kyiv vs Benfica

SL Benfica v CD Tondela - Liga Bwin
Benfica have made a perfect start to the season / Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

When is kick off? Tuesday 14 September, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? NSC Olimpiyskiy
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Anthony Taylor
VAR? Chris Kavanagh

This may not jump out as one of the standout fixtures of the round, but it should be a hotly-contested game.

With Barcelona and Bayern both in Group E, Benfica and Dynamo Kyiv know that a win is vital here if they are to have any chance of progressing to the money-spinning knockout rounds.

Both sides have started their domestic campaigns strongly, so it should be a close contest.

Prediction: Dynamo Kyiv 1-2 Benfica

Besiktas vs Borussia Dortmund

Erling Haaland, Thomas Meunier, Jude Bellingham
Dortmund have a host of young players / Joosep Martinson/Getty Images

When is kick off? Wednesday 15 September, 17:45 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Vodafone Arena
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
VAR? Juan Martinez Munuera

It’s been a while since Borussia Dortmund seriously impressed in Europe – largely because of their defensive shortcomings.

Their leaky backline has persisted at the start of this season and former player Michy Batshuayi will be looking to exploit that on Wednesday.

He is just one of several well-known players Besiktas have at their disposal with BVB likely to be in for a tough night.

Prediction: Besiktas 2-2 Dortmund

Sheriff vs Shakhtar Donetsk

Marcos Antonio (R) of Shahtar Donetsk celebrates his goal...
Shakhtar will be confident of securing a win / SOPA Images/Getty Images

When is kick off? Wednesday 15 September, 17:45 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Bolshaya Sportivnaya Arena
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Deniz Aytekin
VAR? Christian Dingert

Sheriff making it to the Champions League for the first time is already an incredible story. Their job now is to make sure they do themselves justice in a tough group that contains both Inter and Real Madrid.

Before facing that illustrious pair, they take on Shakhtar Donetsk, who are no slouches themselves. The Ukrainian’s did the double over Real last season and should make light work of the minnows.

Prediction: Sheriff 1-3 Shakhtar Donetsk

Inter vs Real Madrid

Real Madrid players seen celebrating a goal during the La...
Real had great Champions League pedigree / SOPA Images/Getty Images

When is kick off? Wednesday 15 September, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? San Siro
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Daniel Siebert
VAR? Marco Fritz

Inter have a very different side to the one that faced Real Madrid in the group stages last season. Manager Antonio Conte, as well as top scorer Romelu Lukaku and star right-back Achraf Hakimi have all departed, with their replacements nowhere near as talented.

Real have also experienced upheaval with head coach Zinedine Zidane and captain Sergio Ramos both leaving the club in the summer.

Los Blancos are in better shape overall though, and should secure all three points – particularly with Karim Benzema and Vini Jr. in such great form.

Prediction: Inter 1-2 Real Madrid

Atletico Madrid vs FC Porto

Thomas Lemar
Atletico have their strongest squad of the modern era / Eric Alonso/Getty Images

When is kick off? Wednesday 15 September, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Wanda Metropolitano
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Ovidiu Hategan
VAR? Marco Di Bello

After returning to the summit of Spanish football last season, Atletico Madrid will be looking to make an impact in Europe this time out.

They kick off their campaign against a Porto side known for causing an upset in the past, so will need to be wary. Centre-back Pepe will be particularly keen to get one over his old rivals.

Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2-0 FC Porto

Club Brugge vs PSG

Kylian Mbappe, Achraf Hakimi
PSG are looking to end their Champions League hoodoo / John Berry/Getty Images

When is kick off? Wednesday 15 September, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Jan Breydel Stadium
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Sandro Scharer
VAR? Massimiliano Irrati

Paris Saint-Germain are most people’s tip to win the Champions League this season and it’s easy to see why.

They had one of the greatest transfer windows of all time this summer, bringing in Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum and of course, Lionel Messi on free transfers.

On paper Club Brugge don’t stand a chance. This one could get ugly for the Belgians.

Prediction: Club Brugge 0-4 PSG

Liverpool vs Milan

Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk
Liverpool have lofty ambitions / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

When is kick off? Wednesday 15 September, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Anfield
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Szymon Marciniak
VAR? Tomasz Kwiatkowski

Incredibly, this will be Milan’s first ever European game at Anfield. They will face an uphill struggle getting anything off of a Liverpool side that have started the campaign strong.

Saying that, the Rossoneri have been impressive too, winning their opening three Serie A games without too much hassle. The Reds should have just enough to see them off, though.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Milan

Manchester City vs RB Leipzig

Man City are aiming to win the competition / LINDSEY PARNABY/Getty Images

When is kick off? Wednesday 15 September, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Etihad Stadium
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Serdar Gozubuyuk
VAR? Pol van Boekel

As is often the case, RB Leipzig lost a lot of talent in the summer with Dayot Upamecano, Ibrahima Konate, Marcel Sabitzer and head coach Julian Nagelsmann all moving onto bigger things.

The mass exodus has affected Die Roten Bullen and they have already lost to Mainz and Wolfsburg this season, as well as being thrashed by Bayern Munich.

Things don’t get any easier with a trip to Manchester City to contend with on Wednesday. Pep Guardiola’s side are eager to end their wait for a Champions League title and will want to get off to a flying start.

Prediction: Man City 3-1 RB Leipzig

Sporting vs Ajax

Ajax have a dangerous squad / OLAF KRAAK/Getty Images

When is kick off? Wednesday 15 September, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Estadio Jose Alvalade
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US), DAZN (Canada)
Referee? Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez
VAR? Alejandro Jose Hernandez

Ajax and Sporting both have a string of exciting young players capable of lighting up this Champions League tie.

This is a tough one to call. The Dutch champions have more UCL pedigree but Sporting boast home advantage. A draw is most likely.

Prediction: Sporting 2-2 Ajax