Manchester United fans can catch up on Corrie and EastEnders on Champions League nights this season as Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City hit the road in three Anglo-German ties on Matchday One.
The Premier League’s big boys all face teams they played – and beat – in the group stages last year so know what to expect in these first game face-offs.
The Paddy Power Blog dusted down the formbook (Google) to try and wrestle some value punts over the next two nights.
Borussia Dortmund v Arsenal, Tuesday, 7.45pm
The Gunners haven’t sparked in the Premier League this season just yet. But they’re unbeaten in their last 10 opening group games in the Champions League including a 1-0 win at Dortmund last year thanks to Aaron Ramsey’s 62nd minute strike.
Arsene Wenger’s side have W4, D2 and lost just one (Napoli) of their last seven Champions League games on the road but with injuries piling up, you get the feeling the Londoners will be happy to come away with a draw to kick off their 17th consecutive season in the Champions League.
Arsenal can point to their record of four clean sheets in those seven away games and are 7/2 to keep another clean sheet on Tuesday night. Jurgen Klopp’s side have taken six points in their opening three games in the Bundesliga – but have yet to keep a clean sheet.
Chelsea v Schalke 04, Stamford Bridge, Wednesday, 7.45pm
Chelsea have the best recent history of the English clubs in the competition having won it in 2012 and been semi finalists in seven of their last 11 attempts.
Last year’s semi-final defeat by Atletico Madrid saw Jose Mourinho recall on loan keeper Thibaut Courtouis, and then nick Filipe Luis and the free-scoring Diego Costa should see the Blues mount a major challenge again – starting with three points at home to Schalke.
This is the third time the sides have pitched up in the Group stages together with Chelsea winning three and drawing one of the four games they’ve played so far.
More importantly – they’ve yet to concede against the German side and won both games 3-0 last year.
Chelsea are 1/3 in the win-draw-win market but backing the Londoners 10/11 to keep a clean sheet looks to be the value play.
Bayern Munich v Manchester City, Wednesday, 7.45pm
City fought back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and qualify for the knock-out stages of the Champions League for the first time last season. While they’ll have to respect wlast year’s run-away Bundesliga champions they don’t need to fear them – particularly if Arjen Robben joins Frank Ribbery, Bastian Schweinsteiger and others on the injury list.
Mouthy Manuel Pellegrini will be serving a touchline ban – picked up in knock-out stage defeat to Barcelona – and in Sergio Aguero and David Silva they’ve two players who can rattle the onion sack in Champions League games.
Silva has scored twice in three games against Munich and is 9/2 to score at any time over the 90 minutes while City’s star striker Sergio Aguero has scored three goals in four games for the defending Premier League champions.
The Argentine international was the Citizens most potent threat on the road in the Champions League last term with three goals in four games.
Aguero is 7/1 to get the first goal of the game against Bayern Munich or 23/10 to score at anytime over the 90 minutes.