Five questions ahead of Tuesdays champions league action

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The Champions League is back, and a new season of drama, thrills and intrigue officially begins Tonight, Reelradio.com.ng reports.

Here are the five biggest questions ahead of Tuesday’s group stage games.

Are Manchester City the team to beat again?

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Last season, Manchester City finally lifted the Champions League after 12 consecutive seasons in the competition.

The Premier League champions have since lost captain İlkay Gündoğan and winger Riyad Mahrez, but have refreshed their squad with some interesting new additions. With five wins from five in the Premier League and the UEFA Super Cup under their belt, it’s fair to say their start to the new season looks pretty ominous for their competitors.

As top seeds, Pep Guardiola’s side have been handed a straightforward-looking Champions League group featuring RB Leipzig, Young Boys and Tuesday’s opponents Crvena zvezda. They shouldn’t have much trouble making it to the knockout stages, where absolutely nobody will be looking forward to facing them.

The likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich will fancy their chances of adding to their European trophy haul this season but at this moment in time, the holders should be considered the favourites to lift the Champions League again.

Do PSG have a serious challenge in them this year?

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As Christophe Galtier became the latest manager to find out, simply being the best team in France isn’t enough for Paris Saint-Germain’s ambitious owners.

PSG desperately want to be the kings of Europe, and Luis Enrique is the newest coach to have been given the unenviable task of delivering a first Champions League trophy to the French capital.

Lionel Messi and Neymar said au revoir over the summer and Luis Enrique has begun putting his stamp on a team which is now built around Kylian Mbappé, but their start to the season has been very hit and miss, with Friday’s home defeat to Nice meaning the Ligue 1 champions have just two wins from their first five matches.

They welcome a Borussia Dortmund side who are also yet to properly hit their stride this term, although the Bundesliga outfit will take a lot of confidence from their 4-2 win away at Freiburg on Saturday.

The closest PSG have come to winning the Champions League so far was in 2019/20, when they overcame Dortmund in the round of 16 before ultimately losing to Bayern Munich in the final. If they are going to compete for the trophy this season, another win over Dortmund would be a great way to start.

Can Newcastle mix it with the big boys?

Back in the Champions League for the first time since 2002/03, Newcastle are set to embark on a dream European adventure which will take them to Milan, Paris and Dortmund in the group stage.

It begins with a trip to San Siro, where they will face a Milan side stinging from a 5-1 defeat to Inter in Saturday’s Derby della Madonnina.

The Magpies fared better over the weekend, beating Brentford 1-0 at home to end a three-match losing streak, and they will want to make St James’ Park a real fortress in the Champions League this season.

But it is their away form that could be the difference between progression and elimination, and Eddie Howe will want his team to go to these big, historic European venues and show that they belong at this level.

Summer signing Sandro Tonali should get an early reunion with his old club Milan here, and it should be a cracking game.

Will Barcelona get past the group stage?

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That was a question which would have seemed ludicrous to ask at beginning of Barcelona’s Champions League campaigns for much of the competition’s history, but two consecutive group stage exits in the last two seasons mean their place in the knockout stages is no longer taken as read.

Unlike in the last two seasons, the Blaugrana have been handed a rather favourable draw this time around. They don’t have to worry about facing Bayern Munich this year, and will instead take on Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Tuesday’s opponents Antwerp.

And Xavi’s side are in excellent form, having won four consecutive matches in LaLiga, most recently thrashing Real Betis 5-0 on Saturday, where summer signings João Félix and João Cancelo both netted their first goals for the club.

Barça might not be considered among the Champions League favourites at the moment, but if they can get through their group and into the knockouts, who knows how far they could go.

Can Celtic get their long-awaited revenge?

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Celtic’s ‘Lisbon Lions’ famously won the European Cup back in 1967 but it was a defeat in another final three years later which still hurts Bhoys supporters of a certain age.

Feyenoord were the victors after extra-time that night at San Siro in 1970, the two sides meet again for the first time competitively in the 43 years since.

Brendan Rodgers is back in the dugout at Celtic Park having been reappointed over the summer and his side currently lead the way in the Scottish Premiership, having beaten rivals Rangers at Ibrox already this season.

But a daunting trip to the 51,000-capacity De Kuip awaits, to face the reigning Dutch champions who have racked up 19 goals in just five Eredivisie matches so far this term.

If Celtic are to lay the ghost of 1970 to rest, they are going to have to defend immaculately. And in a competitive group which also contains Atlético de Madrid and Lazio, the Hoops can’t afford too many slip-ups if they’re to have any hope of advancing.

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