5 things you need to know about the 2019-20 Champions League

Yahoo Sports

This week sees the return of the biggest domestic soccer competition in the world, as 32 of Europe’s finest compete for the Champions League title.

Here’s five things you need to know, starting with a look at some of the mouth-watering match-ups in the first round of group stage matches. Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona will meet for the first time in the competition, and both are coming off big weekend wins. Lionel Messi is unlikely to be fit, though.

Reigning champions Liverpool are heading to Napoli, where they lost in the group stage last season. Paris Saint-Germain are hosting fellow European giants Real Madrid on Wednesday, and Atletico Madrid will face Juventus for the second consecutive season.

The good news is that the match start times are staggered again, so you’ll be able to watch a 1pm ET kick-off and a 3pm ET kick-off on TNT in the US.

Secondly, we have ourselves a confirmed Group of Death this season: joining Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona in Group F are the newly revamped Inter Milan.

One of those sides won’t make the Round of 16—and spare a thought for poor Slavia Prague, who are the fourth side in that group. Anyone know how to say “whipping boys” in Czech?

Thirdly, we have a host of young potential breakout stars to keep an eye on this season: Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham has seven Premier League goals so far and his confidence grows with every game.

16-year-old forward Ansu Fati is causing a stir at Barcelona right now and had a dream full debut over the weekend.

But the star you must look out for is Atleti’s Joao Felix. The 19-year-old Portuguese star has looked sensational for the Spaniards so far, and is tipped to achieve greatness and make good on his $142m transfer fee.

Next up, let’s look at the Golden Boot contenders. Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite, since his strengthened Juventus side are expected to make a deep run in the competition.

Last season’s top scorer Messi, Sergio Aguero and Mo Salah all have pretty short odds too.

And finally, the fifth thing you should know: the favourites to take the glory. For the second season running, Man City have the shortest odds, even though they have had questions asked of their central defence.

Barcelona are second favorites, followed by Liverpool, PSG and Real Madrid. Last season’s finalists Tottenham are a huge rank outsider at around 25/1 with the bookmakers. As for Slavia Prague in the Group of Death: they’re at 500/1. But hey, Leicester were 5000/1 when they won the Premier League, so anything can happen!

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