Valencia, Real, Atlético and Barça: Champions League Preview

The biggest names in Spain head into European competition this Tuesday and Wednesday as the Champions League returns after a three-week absence.

On Tuesday night, Valencia travel to Switzerland to face Young Boys while out-of-sorts Real Madrid host Viktoria Plzen of the Czech Republic.

Two European heavyweights meet at the Camp Nou as Barcelona play Inter for the first time in eight years while Atlético Madrid visit Dortmund. Here’s a look at each match-up at a glance:

 

Tuesday

Young Boys vs Valencia

Stade de Suisse, 17:55 GMT kick-off

Marcelino’s Valencia may see the Champions League tie as a distraction away from their poor domestic form so far this season. Seven draws in nine La Liga games has left them languishing in the bottom half of the table with their last win at the Mestalla coming in May against Deportivo.

Young Boys are based in Bern, Switzerland and are current holders of the Swiss Super League. Their title win last season was their first since 1986 and helped earn them qualification for the Champions League group stages for the first time in their history.

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Both sides are without a win in their opening two fixtures with Young Boys suffering heavy defeats against Manchester United and Juventus. Los Che’s point at Old Trafford last time out will give them optimism heading into their Swiss double header. These two clubs have never met in a competitive fixture.

 

Real Madrid vs Viktoria Plzen

Santiago Bernabéu, 20:00 GMT

Los Blancos manager Julen Lopetegui is virtually a dead man walking ahead of this Champions League tie with the Czech minnows. Madrid are without a win in five in all competitions and will want a positive result at the Bernabéu heading into this Sunday’s Clásico with Barcelona.

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Plzen won their third Czech league title in the last four seasons last campaign and are in the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2013.

Real find themselves outside the qualification spots in Group G so far after defeat in their last outing at the hands of CSKA Moscow at the Luzhniki Stadium. The Czech champions are bottom of the group having squandered a 2-0 lead in their opener against CSKA to draw before suffering a 5-0 defeat in Rome. This will also be the first time these two have met in a competitive fixture.

 

Wednesday

Borussia Dortmund vs Atletico Madrid

Signal Iduna Park, 20:00 GMT

Diego Simeone’s men head to Germany on the back of a respectable 1-1 draw at Villarreal on Saturday. Los Rojiblancos haven’t tasted defeat since the 1st of September and have conceded just two goals in their last six games in all competitions.

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Borussia Dortmund are flying in the Bundesliga this season and are unbeaten so far this campaign in all competitions. The 2013 Champions League runners up have averaged over four goals a game in their last five outings with the attacking talents of Marco Reus, Paco Alcácer and Jadon Sancho in full flight.

The two teams occupy the top two spots in Group A so far, with both boasting 100% records. They last met in the 1996/97 Champions League group stages as an Atletico team containing Simeone were beaten 1-0 at home before winning at the Westfalenstadion. Dortmund went onto win the competition that year, repeating the feat they set in 1966/67 when they went onto win the Cup Winners’ Cup after facing Atleti in the quarter-finals.

 

Barcelona vs Inter

Camp Nou, 20:00 GMT

Barcelona got back to winning ways on Saturday night with a 4-2 win over in-form Sevilla and look to be Spain’s best hope in terms of winning in Europe. However, they will be without Lionel Messi for this one after the Argentine talisman broke his arm during the weekend’s game.

A rejuvenated Inter have won their last seven games in all competitions after a difficult start to their league campaign but are likely to be without Ivan Perisic for this trip to the Camp Nou. The Croatian winger has a thigh injury while teammate Radja Nainggolan is also out. The Italian side are currently a place behind group leaders Barcelona, with the ‘blaugrana’ scoring four goals in each of their opening two games.

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These two last met during the 2009/10 Champions League semi-finals when Jose Mourinho masterminded an aggregate victory over Pep Guardiola’s side. Inter went on to win the competition that year but haven’t won at the Camp Nou since 1970 in the Fairs Cup.

 

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