The 2012-13 UEFA Champions League season kicks off this week with Real Madrid versus Manchester City the pick of the bunch in Tuesday’s opening fixtures.
The Premier League and La Liga reigning champions clash at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid in what promises to be mouthwatering clash between two modern football heavyweights who have never played against each other before.
Madrid go into the match under a poor run of form in the domestic league which has seen them collect only four points in four matches and trailing archrivals Barcelona by 8 points.
Jose Mourinho has a fully fit squad to chose from and will be relying on star man Cristiano Ronaldo to sparkle in spite of his reported unhappiness. Jose Mourinho’s team are seasoned participants in Europe’s premier club competition unlike their Eitihad opponents who will be making only their second appearance in the competition after crushing out in the group stages the previous season.
But Manchester City are yet to lose a game this season and will be happy to welcome back Sergio Aguero from injury. City have the squad to take them all the way and in Roberto Mancini, they have a manager who has tasted success at the big stage. Another fixture in Group D will see Bundesliga Champions Borussia Dortmund host their Dutch counterparts Ajax at Signal-Iduna-Park in Dortmund.
In Group A, big-spending Paris St Germain will host Ukraine outfit Dynamo Kyiv as Porto travel to Stadion Maksimir in Croatia to meet Dinamo Zagreb. Ligue 1 Champions Montpellier will be hoping to put a stop to Arsenal’s impressive start to the season in a Group B encounter which will also see Olympiakos clash with German side Schalke.
Spanish side Malaga are currently sitting second in La Liga, two points behind Barcelona, and will make their champions league debut at home against Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg who will be keen to unleash €40 million signing Hulk.
Six-time winners AC Milan will begin their campaign at the San Siro when they welcome Anderlecht.
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