UEFA Champions League: When and where to watch the matchday 1 games as European football league season gets underway.
The Champions League group stage starts Tuesday with a match between traditional heavyweights Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Chelsea begin their title defence at home against Zenit St Petersburg while Cristiano Ronaldo, fresh from a brace on the weekend, returns to European football with Manchester United.
Barcelona’s ability to compete in Europe without Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann will be put to the test when they host the team that dealt the Spanish side their most humiliating defeat in recent memory. The 8-2 shellacking Bayern Munich handed Barcelona in the 2020 Champions League quarterfinals marked the beginning of the end of the Messi era.
In Group F, Cristiano Ronaldo’s first Champions League game for Manchester United since losing the 2009 final to Barcelona will be on the only plastic pitch in the competition. Swiss champion Young Boys uses an artificial surface at Wankdorf Stadium.
Unai Emery’s Villarreal host Atalanta in their return to the Champions League after 10 years.
In Group G: It’s been six years since Wolfsburg last played in the Champions League group stage. The key to their success has been a solid defense. They play defending French champion Lille, who have won only once in five games in the new domestic campaign and conceded 11 goals. Meanwhile, Sevilla host Salzburg to begin what will be their fifth Champions League campaign in the last seven seasons.
In Group H: Chelsea opens their European title defense against Zenit St. Petersburg, still unbeaten at the start of the English Premier League and with returning striker Romelu Lukaku already scoring three goals.
Juventus are struggling without Ronaldo as they prepare for a visit to Malmö. The Bianconeri have lost two straight games in Serie A since Ronaldo went back to Manchester United and overall have earned only one point.
Champions League fixtures (Matchday 1)
14 September, 2021
Young Boys vs Manchester United (10:15 PM IST, Sony Ten 1 SD & HD and SonyLiv)
Sevilla vs Salzburg (10:15 PM IST, SonyLiv)
15 September, 2021
Barcelona vs Bayern Munich (00:30 AM IST, Sony Ten 2 SD & HD and SonyLiv)
Dynamo Kiev vs Benfica (00:30 AM IST, SonyLiv)
Villarreal vs Atalanta (00:30 AM IST, SonyLiv)
Lille vs Wolfsburg (00:30 AM IST, SonyLiv)
Chelsea vs Zenit St Petersburg (00:30 AM IST, Sony Ten 1 SD & HD and SonyLiv)
Malmo vs Juventus (00:30 AM IST, Sony Six SD & HD and SonyLiv)
(With inputs from AP)