Difficult start for the CL holders
In one of the more mouth-watering encounters of matchday one, reigning champions Bayern Munich play host to Atletico Madrid. With Diego Simeone and Hansi Flick locking horns for the very first time, in a match where the former may look to stifle the free flowing attacking contingent of the German champions. The visitors reached the quarter final stage last term, disappointingly losing out to RB Leipzig after reaching the last eight with a memorable comeback victory at Anfield. Simeone will be looking to improve on that and show the continent once again that his own style of management can take teams deep in European competition. Understandably the hosts are strong favourites to get off to the perfect start in Group A.
The Bavarians have won their last 11 in the Champions League, it is a huge challenge for Atleti who struggled on their travels in the competition last season. The game may take some time to get going as is the recent form of this pair, with five of Bayern’s last nine matches bringing over 2.5 2nd Half goals and furthermore only three of Atleti’s last 21 away trips seeing over 1.5 goals in the first period.
Ones to watch
Joshua Kimmich is fastly becoming the most pivotal player in the Bayern lineup, after the departure of Thiago Alcantara the German is arguably the side’s most influential midfield player, closely followed by the unit that is Leon Goretzka. Still an option at right back but able to dictate play better from central areas, the 25-year-old has four direct goal involvements in five matches and as a deep lying playmaker could be the man to unpick the resistant Mattress Makers’ backline.
Luis Suarez was the summer marquee signing for the visitors, coming in with a deadly reputation and the Uruguayan found the net in his last match against Bayern Munich. Ignore the scoreline (8-2) and you see an excellent goal from Suarez, sending Jerome Boateng for a hot dog before slamming home past Manuel Neuer. The 33-year-old has not got a full 90 minutes under his belt yet for the club, and the chances are that Simeone could have been managing him to be ready for this challenge. With creative flames in Joao Felix and Yannick Carrasco alongside him, Suarez’s ruthless nature could be a devastating combination to the hosts if given the opportunity.
Flick’s men have been awesome since football returned, they are the best team on the planet right now. However an off night here will see Atletico pounce, just as they did against the reigning champions in last season’s tournament.