The 2018 UEFA Champions League Group Stages kick off on Tuesday with matchday 1. The quest for European glory is back on and panelists Steen Kirby and Christopher Post are on hand to preview and predict all of the action including Liverpool vs PSG. Stick with Last Word on Football for all your Champions League coverage.

Matches on Tuesday September 18

Group A

Atletico Madrid at AS Monaco

Steen: The Europa League Champions for 17/18, Atletico Madrid, battle talent developers AS Monaco from Ligue 1 in their first matchday. Neither side has started strong in their domestic leagues but Madrid should be favorites on paper. Diego Godin anchors the backline while Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann are elite forwards. Also keep an eye on former Monaco winger Thomas Lemar, who now plays for Madrid. Atletico Madrid 2-1

Christopher: Last year’s Europa League winners Atletico are one of the favourites to win the competition and will certainly want to avoid replicating last season’s surprise early exit. Monaco have lost multiple key players since reaching the semi-final in 2016-17 and I don’t think they’ll be able to overcome such an experienced side. Atletico Madrid 1-0

Borussia Dortmund at Club Brugge

Steen: Belgium’s best side, Club Brugge, are likely aiming to avoid finishing dead last in this group and thus any result is a win.  Dortmund won over the weekend while Brugge is in tremendous form against other Belgian sides. That said, any result over than Marco Reus and company getting 3 points would be a massive disappointment, this is a mismatch. Borussia Dortmund 3-0

Christopher: The German outfit will want to make a statement of intent as they look to progress from the Group stage after a few disappointing seasons in Europe. Although Brugge might peeve to be stubborn hosts, I expect a Dortmund win. Borussia Dortmund 2-1

Group B

Tottenham at Inter Milan

Steen: Mauro Icardi leads Inter Milan at home against Harry Kane’s Spurs in an intriguing clash. With Dele Alli and Hugo Lloris still out for Spurs, this road trip is going to be tough. Inter is a strong side that is better than they have been in recent years and thus I’ll back the home side. Inter Milan 1-0

Christopher: The last time these sides met was in 2010 when a certain Gareth Bale announced himself on the biggest stage against the then defending champions. Times have changed, Inter Milan are no longer a European superpower, and Spurs will be challenging themselves to reach at least the quarter-finals. I’m just not quite sure they will return to England with all three points. 1-1 Draw

PSV at Barcelona

Steen: PSV has started well in the Dutch league but realistically they will be heavy underdogs at Camp Nou. Mexico’s Hirving Lozano is the player to watch for the Dutch side, while Luis Suarez should score at least a goal in what should be an easy 3 points for the Spanish champions to open. Barcelona 4-1

Christopher: Barça have been in the shadows of rivals Real Madrid of late in terms of European competition, but I am backing them to go the whole way this time around and lift the coveted trophy. Their strength in depth will be too much for PSV to handle, who are yet to drop points in the Eredivisie after five matches. Barcelona 4-0

Group C

Napoli at Red Star Belgrade (Crvena Zvezda)

Steen: A trip to Belgrade to face the Serbian champions Red Star is the toughest of the Champions League matchdays this year. Napoli is first up having to face the test. Given the Italian side have started their domestic campaign well I will back them to get the 3 points though. Napoli 1-0

Christopher: The reigning Serbian champions are no doubt the underdogs in one of this season’s groups of death, and are hosting an attacking side led by the experienced Carlo Ancelotti. Red Star will want to rough up and shock the Italians in front of their own intimidating fans, but it’ll be a routine win for last season’s Serie A runners-up. Napoli 2-0

PSG at Liverpool

Steen: The contest of the round, the defending finalist Liverpool have been great to start their domestic campaign, and much the same can be said of French champions PSG, who have clearly targeted this year as the year to win the Champions League and the Ligue 1 title double. Mo Salah vs Neymar, Kylian Mbpappe vs Sadio Mane, this is a battle of stars. Liverpools backline led by Virgil Van Dijik is slightly better, and for that reason alone I’ll back a draw. 2-2 Draw

Christopher: A mouth-watering clash between two teams eager to prove doubters wrong. Big-money signings, two of the most scintillating attacking trios in world football, one of the best atmospheres in the Champions League and a referee who never shies away from dishing out the cards. I’m expecting a classic with goals, but I see last season’s runners-up edging it to put last season’s issues in the final behind them. PSG 2-1

Group D

Porto at Schalke

Steen: Schalke has started their domestic campaign in dreadful fashion and Porto should perform better than last year. I don’t see Schalke getting a result in their current form. Porto 2-1

Christopher: An open group with four teams of a similar level; every game counts and both teams will be looking to getting their seasons to a good start. However, I feel Porto have more quality in their side as well as experience at this level to find an away win. Porto 2-1

Lokomotiv Moskva (Moscow) at Galatasaray

Steen: A top Russian side facing a top Turkish side in a clash that could decide which team advances from this group. Without striker Fedor Smolov for Moscow the home Turkish side should have an edge to get the result. Galatasaray 3-0

Christopher: Ambitious Lokomotiv will certainly take the game to Galatasaray, but I still fancy the home team to keep them at bay. They have a good blend of youth and experience, as well as threat going forward in Feghouli and Belhanda, and the trip to Turkey may well end in disappointment for the Russian outfit. Galatasaray 2-0

Matches on Wednesday September 19th

Group E

AEK Athens at Ajax

Steen: This is the best Ajax team in years, with experienced players like Daley Blind and Dusan Tadic complimenting their always strong youth movement. AEK Athens is a great story having made it this far, but at home I expect Hakim Ziyech and Ajax to get 3 points. Ajax 2-1

Christopher: Ajax have a big rebuild job following disappointing seasons in which they haven’t won the Eredivisie. They face a rejuvenated AEK Athens side who claimed their first league title last season since 1993-94. 1-1 Draw

Bayern Munich at Benfica

Steen: The German champions will be heavy favorites in Lisbon as a young Benfica side doesn’t have class players like Manuel Neuer, and Robert Lewadowski to call upon. Benfica’s goal should be to play defensively and hope to steal a draw, but I’d expect Munich to get free. Bayern Munich 3-0

Christopher: Benfica host last campaign’s beaten semi-finalists in their opening game, and I expect a comfortable victory for the German giants. They should cruise through the group and will certainly be faced with tougher tasks ahead if they are to answer their critics by winning the tournament. Bayern Munich 3-0

Group F

Hoffenheim at Shakhtar Donetsk

Steen: The one Ukrainian team that remains competitive at the European level will face off with Hoffenheim, a rising German side that has started slowly this season at the domestic level. At home in Ukraine, with their focus fully on Champions League, I’d expect Marlos and Shakhtar to emerge the victors. Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0

Christopher: Shaktar are once again drawn in the same group as Manchester City, and will be seeking a home win as they aim progression to the next round. Hoffenheim are making their Champions League debut under Julian Nagelsmann, this season’s youngest manager in the tournament, but I think the Ukrainians will spoil the party. Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0

Lyon at Manchester City

Steen: Memphis Depay and Lyon have to believe they have a chance in this one, but Vincent Kompany and City are a stacked side across the pitch. Lyon should trouble City early, with a late goal or 2 securing victory for the English side. Manchester City 3-2

Christopher: After a record-breaking season in the Premier League, Manchester City will surely be targeting silverware in this prestigious competition, and I am sure will kick off their campaign with a victory in front of their fans. Lyon, although with exciting players such as Fekir in their ranks, will have find results against other opposition if they are to find a way out of the group. Manchester City 3-1

Group G

CSKA Moskva (Moscow) at Viktoria Plzen

Steen: One of a few Champions League minnows in the draw this year, Plzen takes on Alan Dzagoev and CSKA Moscow, one of Russia’s strongest sides. The Czech league isn’t of caliber compared to the Russian league and I expect CSKA to secure victory. CSKA Moscow 3-1

Christopher: Moscow’s experienced side, including Russian World Cup heroes Mario Fernandes and Igor Akinfeev, should have enough to overcome the Czechs. 2-1 CSKA Moscow

Roma at Real Madrid

Steen: The Champions League winners take on last year’s semifinalists at home, with Gareth Bale and Luka Modric looking to take over for the big time game role that Ronaldo had for one of Spain’s best sides. Roma has some talented pieces but they are still integrating them all into the roster and I expect a defensively sound Madrid to win by a narrow margin. Real Madrid 2-1

Christopher: There’s been some big change in the Spanish capital over the summer. The end of the Zidane era, in which they won the Champions League three times in a row in his three seasons in charge, combined with the shock exit of Ronaldo to Juventus, has left people wondering whether they still have it in them to become champions. I reckon they’ll drop points against an exciting Roma side as they adapt to new boss Lopetegui’s tactics. 2-2 Draw

Group H

Juventus at Valencia

Steen: Ronaldo debuts in the Champions League for a new side, taking on Valencia away from home, a side led by Kevin Gameiro among others. Valencia has some talented pieces and could cause trouble, but I’m not sold on their form. Juventus also has more than Ronaldo, with Mario Mandzukic among their key players. Juventus 4-2

Christopher: Juventus have been touted by many to win the whole tournament: is Ronaldo the last piece of the jigsaw? They’ll be up against a very exciting Valencia side who have enjoyed a successful transfer market bringing in the likes of Batshuayi and the highly-rated Gonçalo Guedes. I’m predicting a tight game, but the Old Lady will come out on top. Juventus 2-1

Manchester United at BSC Young Boys

Steen: If the Red Devils drop points against Swiss minnows Young Boys, the calls for Jose Mourinho’s exit will only grow louder. At this point though I expect Marcus Rashford and Fred playing key roles in ensuring one of England’s storied sides secure all 3 points. Manchester United 2-0

Christopher: Mourinho’s men are heavy favourites for this one, and I see this being a comfortable three points for them. Goals for Rashford and Martial, if they are selected, will do them a world of good after some poor performances by the pair in United shirts.  Manchester United 3-0

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