The Champions League is back and Europe’s elite are set to go head to head in the group stages. All eyes will be on the defending champions Chelsea as they’ve strengthened their squad over the summer with Romelu Lukaku – as well as on a certain Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United.

In this blog, we take a look at this week’s key Champions League fixtures and which way the market is leaning.

Chelsea begin their defence

As mentioned above, Chelsea go into the competition as the defending champions and all eyes will be on Thomas Tuchel’s men. They have got off to a great start in the Premier League, currently sitting second with the same points and goal difference as United but having scored fewer goals.

Summer signing Romelu Lukaku has been an incredible addition to the team and they have a solid chance of winning back-to-back European titles (8/1). They are third favourites to win the competition behind well-fancied PSG (3/1) and fellow Premier League counterparts Manchester City (4/1), who are backed to beat RB Leipzig in their opening game (2/7).

Chelsea welcome Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night and are favourites to win the clash, currently priced at 2/11. The Russian champions won their respected league with ease last season, only losing three games all campaign, but the Blues should be able to find a way past them here.

Ronaldo’s United return continues

Arguably the biggest story during the summer’s transfer window was Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to the Premier League and to Manchester United. He’s back at the Theatre of Dreams and wasted no time in marking his return. He made his second United debut against Newcastle at the weekend, scoring a brace in the process and putting the league on notice. That win put United top of the Premier League after a brilliant start to the campaign.

He’s also one of the most successful players to ever participate in the Champions League, holding the record for the most goals scored in the competition (134). It’s safe to say that Ronaldo knows where the back of the net is, while he has also won the tournament a stunning five times.

United open their Champions League campaign with a trip to Young Boys on Tuesday, the current champions of the Swiss Super League. It’s hard to look past United in this opening fixture and the market reflects that with the Red Devils 4/11 to get off to a winning start. Ronaldo is also 11/4 to make yet more headlines and score first. United are 9/1 overall to win the Champions League this season, but if they can continue to put in great performances, we could see them crowned kings of Europe once again. Would you like to work out your potential winnings? Try our online betting calculator.

Liverpool aiming for another European triumph

Liverpool are currently the most successful English club in the Champions League, having won the competition a total of six times, last lifting the trophy during the 2018/19 season – their first victory in the tournament since the Miracle of Istanbul back in 2004/05. Liverpool, like United and Chelsea, have jumped out the gates quickly in the Premier League and share the same points tally of 10 with their rivals. Sitting in third with the same goal difference as both teams, and the same goals scored and goals conceded as Chelsea, Liverpool can be pleased with the way they’ve started the season and will looking to do the same here in Europe.

The Reds have an extremely tough group this year, one that consists of AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Porto. Their first game is at home against AC Milan on Wednesday night – the team they famously beat in Istanbul to win the Champions League in 2005 – and similarly to the other English clubs, they are fancied to kick off with three points (8/15).

However, this will be no walkover with the Italian side having a great team that consists of the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Theo Hernandez. The Rossoneri also sit second in the Serie A table by goal difference after maintaining their 100% record over the weekend. They are 5/1 to beat Liverpool and Ibrahimovic is 9/4 to score anytime.

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