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UEFA Champions League Matchday 1 – Preview, Picks and Predictions

UEFA Champions League Matchday 1 – Preview, Picks and Predictions

The UEFA Champions Leagues starting this week, and we enjoying very promising 83 start in our picks and predictions for entire 2013 / 2014 edition. Usual suspects like Bayern, Real Madrid,  and Manchester City were our favorites to win their opening matches, and they all deliver big time. Matchday 1 continues on Wednesday and here our predictions. AC Milan, FC Barcelona, Chelsea, and Zenit are our favorites to win their matches on Wednesday.

Matchday 1 record 176 (accuracy 73 .91%)
2013 /2014 record 176 (accuracy 73 .91%)

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UEFA Champions League grp. E
Schalke 04 – Steaua Bucuresti 3-0
FC Schalke 04 were group winners in their past two UEFA Champions League participations and will be intent on another strong showing as they launch their Group E campaign against FC Steaua Bucureşti, who have an unenviable record in the competition. Schalke will play without U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones, he serves a one-game suspension on matchday one following his red card against PAOK FC in the play-off second leg.
Steaua’s full of rookies, in their UEFA Champions League squad, only Pantelis Kapetanos (with CFR 1907 Cluj) and Ionuţ Neagu (FC Oţelul Galaţi) have previously played in the group stage. I watched Steaua in final playoffs stage in double header vs Legia Warsaw, and to be perfectly honest, they barely qualified. Steaua’s defense let Legia score 3 goals in 2 games, Schalke doesn’t play anything special now, but is little higher ranked then Legia, and German side is my heavy favorite to win at home.
The Royal Blues have conceded 9 goals in their first 5 Bundesliga matches – more than they shipped in their opening 9 games last term.
Steaua are 12 games unbeaten in all competitions this season, scoring in every fixture, and that’s why I like over in this match as well.
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: 1 Schalke to WIN
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: OVER 2.5 goals

Chelsea – Basel 1-2
Basel have scored at least once in each of their 12 games in all competitions this season, and they proved last year in UEFA Europa League semifinal they can score vs Chelsea. OK, I believe they can score, but Mourinho is unbeaten at Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea not winning this match, will be huge disappointment. Despite Chelsea having problem scoring lately, Basel defense will have hard time to stop The Blues.
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: 1 Chelsea to WIN
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: OVER 2.5 goals

UEFA Champions League grp. F
Marseille – Arsenal 1-2
Marseille’s 21 wins in Ligue 1 last season, 18 were by a single goal and 12 ended 1-0. Arsenal have won their last nine away games in all competitions, a run that started with the 2-0 victory at FC Bayern München in last season’s round of 16. Seven have come in the league, just one shy of their best set in 2001/02.
Arsenal is the most French club in England, and we like their chances in this match, but I’m more confident in a low scoring match, then Arsen Wenger team winning it.
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: UNDER 2.5 goals

SSC Napoli – Borussia Dortmund 2-1
Dortmund began the season with four successive Bundesliga wins for the first time since 2001/02, when they went on to secure the title. They have stretched the winning start to five, a club record.
The Black and Yellow have scored in their last 29 top-flight matches and the past 23 away from home, and we do believe they will score in Italy.
Napoli is also high scoring team, in their first 3 Serie A matches, they scored 9 goals. Expect some goals, perhaps by Robert Lewandowski.
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: OVER 2.5 goals

UEFA Champions League grp. G
Austria Wien – FC Porto 0-1
Austria Wien’s last three matches have all been at home and they have not won any, drawing one and suffering 3-2 losses to GNK Dinamo Zagreb and, on Saturday, SV Grödig. They barely qualify due to poor officiating and terrible Dinamo Zagreb defending. Part of the Austria problem comes from Alexander Gorgon absence, he has been unavailable since suffering a major leg injury in mid-August.
Porto started the league campaign with a 3-1 win at Vitória FC, meaning they have not lost their first league match of the season since 2001/02.
Portuguese powerhouse Porto are 47 matches unbeaten in the league, since a 3-1 loss at Gil Vicente FC on 29 January 2012. FC Porto new coach Paulo Fonseca signed just last June, but we believe he has enough talent in his squad to start his Champions League chapter with victory.
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: 2 Porto to WIN

Atletico Madrid – Zenit Petersburg 3-1
Zenit is one of the most underestimated team in the competition, and we like their chances even in Madrid. Atlético conceded the fewest goals in La Liga last year with Belgian Thibaut Courtois – now in his third season on loan from Chelsea – winning the Zamora Trophy, awarded to the goalkeeper with the lowest goals-to-game ratio. Will Thibaut Courtois keep his sheet clean vs Zenit? We doubt it. Why? Zenit are 10 matches unbeaten in all competitions, winning 8, and have scored in each of their last 12 outings. Coached by Italian manager Luciano Spalletti, Zenit is playing very attractive, offensive style, creating many chances in every match. That’s why Danny has scored  8 goals in all competitions this season, already double his 2012/13 season production.
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: 2 Zenit to WIN
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: OVER 2.5 goals

UEFA Champions League grp. H
AC Milan – Celtic 2-0
AC Milan have never lost to Scottish opponents at San Siro, and Celtic failed to win on any of their previous 10 visits to Italy. After watching Celtic in their battle vs Kazakhstan Champions in Karagandy, I have no doubt Italian team will win this match. Trailing 2-0 after 87 minutes at Torino FC on Saturday, Milan salvaged a point as Sulley Muntari struck before Balotelli converted a 97th-minute penalty. Balotelli has now scored in each of his last 4 games for club and country and has converted all 21 penalties he has taken during his career. AC Milan dealing with some injuries including their star striker Stephan El Sharaawy. Despite of all these roster troubles, AC Milan victory is almost obvious, but I wouldn’t go with high scoring match. Balotelli should score against Celtic, because he simply loves their defending style.
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: 1 Milan to WIN

FC Barcelona – Ajax 4-0
There will be a new face and an old face on show when FC Barcelona take on AFC Ajax in their opening Group H fixture. For home coach Gerardo Martino it is a first UEFA Champions League match since taking the Barça helm in the summer, while for his opposite number Frank de Boer this is a return to the club he played for between 1999 and 2003. The Dutch champions conceded 16 times in the group stage last season; only Danish club FC Nordsjælland allowed more goals (22). We should see some offensive fireworks from both sides. These matches are always entertaining, but almost always Barca come on the top.
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: 1 FC Barcelona to WIN
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: OVER 3.5 goals

UEFA Champions League grp. A
Manchester United – Bayer Leverkusen 4-2
This is United’s first European fixture without Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm since 20 March 1985.Unsuccessful in his efforts to qualify Everton FC for the UEFA Champions League group stage during his long tenure on Merseyside, David Moyes is “really looking forward” to his first game in the competition as Manchester United FC manager.
I’m still not convinced about this new version of Manchester United, but I have confidence we will see entertaining game with at least 3 goals.
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: OVER 2.5 goals

Real Sociedad – Shakhtar Donetsk 0-2
Both teams playing similar, entertaining football.
Real’s Carlos Vela and Shakhtar forward Eduardo were team-mates at Arsenal FC from 2008 to 2010. They played together four times in 2009/10, with the Mexican coming on to replace Eduardo on another five occasions.
It’s almost obvious that Ukrainian side loaded with Brazilian stars will score a goal in Sociedad, and host team will respond.
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: OVER 2.5 goals

UEFA Champions League grp. B
FC Kobenhavn – Juventus 1-1
Italian Champions wont have easy match in Denmark, however they should be able to get at least a point. Do not expect many goals in this match.
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: UNDER 2.5 goals

Galatasaray – Real Madrid 1-6
Real Madrid have confirmed that Iker Casillas will play for the first time this season, but do you think he will keep his sheet clean?
Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim was replaced as AC Milan coach in 2001/02 by current Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti. Umit Davala, now an assistant coach with the Turkish champions, played seven matches under Ancelotti that season. They know each other very well, but this wont matter. Real Madrid has too much power not to win in Istanbul. We should also see more than 2 goals.
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: 2 Real Madrid to WIN
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: OVER 2.5 goals

UEFA Champions League grp. C
Olympiakos – Paris Saint Germain 1-3
Laurent Blanc has urged his Paris Saint-Germain players to remain patient in their Group C opener away to an Olympiacos FC side who “always go out to win”. That means that we will have boring first half, and goal or two in the second.
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: UNDER 2.5 goals

Benfica – Anderlecht 2-0
Sacha Kljestan likely will start for Anderlecht in Lisbon. Anderlecht is in very good form, and in their last 2 games was total of 12 goals, when they scored 8. I really believe there is a good chance for high scoring game in this one.
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: OVER 2.5 goals

UEFA Champions League grp. D
Bayern Munich – CSKA Moscow 3-0
I like double play in this match, means sure, convincing Bayern win, and total of at least 3 goals.
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: 1 Bayern to WIN
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: OVER 2.5 goals

Viktoria Plzen – Manchester City 0-3
Czechs football teams don’t have good Septamber thus far, but that could easily change against powerful Man City team, that is looking for their identity after new coach Manuel Pellegrini took over this summer. However Pellegrini facing some lineup challenges. His key defender Vincent Kompany will undergo a late fitness test, while Gael Clichy and David Silva have not traveled to Czech Republic
“We have to win this game,” said Manchester City FC’s Manuel Pellegrini – and I believe English side will get 3 points.
Viktoria Plzen is a very high scoring team, to get some goals against MCFC shouldn’t be as easy as in domestic league, but Kompany absence may contribute to some goal
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: 2 Manchester City to WIN
CHRIS’S PREDICTION: OVER 2.5 goals
Matchday 1 record 83
2013 /2014 record 83

How about your picks for match-day 1?

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