2016/17 Champions League has started and match day one is in the books.
Here are 6 takeaways from this week’s Champions League games.
Bayern, Barca, Man City and Dortmund Dominate
Bayern Munich started off their campaign as expected, thumping Russian side FC Rostov 5-0 at home. It was a more than comfortable evening for the Bavarian giants and versatile youngster Joshua Kimmich got two goals in the scoresheet.
Another German club Borussia Dortmund also got a huge win away from home versus Legia Warsaw, registering a 6-0 win. Two Group C rivals Barcelona and Manchester City also showed great attacking powers as Barca took down Celtic 7-0, while Man City defeated Borussia Monchengladbach 4-0.
Two finalists from last season, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid started off struggling to get three points. Atletico had to fight hard in Eindhoven against a strong PSV side and got a 1-0 win courtesy of Saul Niguez’s gorgeous strike.
Real Madrid also had a tough game against Cristiano Ronaldo’s former club — Sporting Lisbon — and were down 1-0 until the 89th minute. Ronaldo scored a beautiful free kick from 25 yards out to equalize the game with just a minute to go and Alvaro Morata scored another in stoppage time to start off their campaign with three valuable points.
Leicester’s Fairytale Continues
Leicester City, who came through 5000 to 1 odds to win the Premier League last season, continued their fairytale as they started their first ever Champions League match with a 3-0 away win against Belgian Champions Club Brugge. Marc Albrighton started the scoring in the 5th minute followed up by Riyad Mahrez’s free kick and penalty goals.
Leicester are in a relatively comfortable group as they are set to take on Portuguese club FC Porto and Danish side FC Copenhagen next. It is almost impossible for them to go on and win the Champions League, but it certainly is possible to get out of this group as the group winners.
Smaller Clubs Struggle to Compete
In recent years, UEFA has given smaller clubs a chance to take part in the world’s most elite club competition. But rather, it looks like the competition is being watered down instead.
Celtic and Legia Warsaw, though owning 60,000 and 31,000 person stadiums, are smaller clubs of Europe nowadays and it showed when they got hammered 7-0 and 6-0 this week. Meanwhile, other clubs like Dinamo Zagreb and Club Brugge lost by a scoreline of 3-0 to Lyon and Leicester City. They may be decent sides, but nothing special compared to the big boys of Europe.
The idea of a super league, where only elite teams will compete has been discussed a lot lately in UEFA and it could happen sooner than later if smaller teams continue to lose by big margins.
Pep and Man City Look to be Among Favorites
Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City side started off their campaign strongly and destroyed Borussia Monchengladbach 4-0 in a game where most expected it to be competitive. Monchengladbach, who are a decent side of their own, were completely dominated by Man City’s total football and went down as early as the 9th minute.
City looks to be a very good side this season and should be a contender — the only English contender — to go on and win it all.
Sevilla also got a valuable point on the road against Italian champions meanwhile Dortmund, as mentioned above, hammered Legia 6-0. Napoli also looked good when they defeated Dynamo Kiev 2-1 away from home.
All three clubs played good on match day one and can certainly become dark horses of the competition, although not good enough to be contenders.
In recent years, Spanish clubs have been dominating European football. The last three Champions League titles were won by Spanish clubs with two of those finals being all Spanish affairs. Europa League has also been won last three times by Sevilla.
This dominance from Spain sets to continue as three Spanish clubs — Real, Atleti and Barca — won their games on match day one while Sevilla got a draw away from home against a very good Juventus side.
All four of them are good enough to reach — at least — the quarter finals of the competition this season.
17 Year Old American Christian Pulisic Started and Played Well for Dortmund
17 year old American soccer sensation Christian Pulisic not only started for Dortmund in his first ever Champions League game, but he played through the whole match and looked very good while doing so.
Praised by many as the future best player for the US, he looks to have a lot of potential in him as he got an assist on Wednesday’s game. He also started for the US earlier this month in World Cup qualifier versus Trinidad, where he put on a man of the match performance.
The kid looks set to become a future superstar if he can keep his feet on the ground and focus on his career instead of getting carried away like a lot of other teenage sensations.