The Champions League starts, defenders from Manchester City will welcome Crvena zvezda

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>> ball for the Champions League.

Prague – The group stage of the Champions League will begin with eight matches on Tuesday, and the defending champion Manchester City will also be in the game, who will welcome Crvena zvezda Belgrade. In the hit of the evening, Paris St. Germain against Dortmund and AC Milan host Newcastle in the second game of a packed Group F. Feyenoord Rotterdam with Czech representative Ondřej Linger will play at home against Celtic Glasgow. After the participation of Pilsen last year, this time there is no Czech club in the groups.

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Manchester City won the Champions League for the first time in June and is clearly the biggest favorite for this season, according to the bookmakers. Coach Josep Guardiola's men will challenge Crvena zvezda Belgrade with ex-Slavic winger Peter Olayinka for the opening of the group and will face a Serbian opponent for the first time in UEFA competitions. points. We are not thinking about the final, there is a long way to it,” Guardiola said at the press conference.

“It's important that the players don't feel too relaxed because they've already won the Champions League. It was incredible for our club, but how many players in the world have won the Champions League once? A lot,” added the Spanish coach of the English champions. In the second match of Group G, Swiss champions Young Boys Bern will try to surprise Leipzig.

On paper, the most difficult is Group F, in which four teams from the five strongest European leagues meet. French champion Paris St. Germain will challenge German runners-up Dortmund after the departure of attacking stars Lionel Messi and Neymar. The teams last met in the spring of 2020 in the round of 16, in which the Parisians were successful.

New coach Luis Enrique's wards have not performed ideally this season and have only won twice from the opening five rounds of the French league. They lost to Nice 2:3 at home on Friday. “Two goals were scored after mistakes by the defenders. I'm not worried. I'm sure we'll play better on Tuesday. I'm an optimist, even though we have a tough opponent ahead of us,” said the Spanish coach.

Newcastle are returning to the main stage of the competition after 21 long years. Last season's fourth team in the English league will enter the group with a match at San Siro against last season's semi-finalist AC Milan. The Italian team will try to recover from Saturday's 1:5 debacle in the city derby by Inter.

“The derby went badly, it was a huge disappointment and a blow. But now, luckily, the Champions League is here and it's important to start well,” said AC coach Stefano Pioli. “Newcastle seems to me like a typical English team – great intensity of play, pressing, physical fitness, five players over 190 centimeters, plus everything in quality. They have built a team that will try to break through in the Champions League,” he added.

On Tuesday, only one Czech representative can intervene in the game. Offensive all-rounder Lingr, after recently leaving Slavia Prague for Feyenoord, will challenge Scottish champions Celtic Glasgow with the Dutch champions. The teams met in the final of the competition in 1970, and the team from Rotterdam was happy with the trophy after a 2:1 victory after extra time.

In the second match of Group E, Lazio Roma will challenge the biggest favorite for promotion, Atlético Madrid. “We have big names in the group, but we will definitely want to progress. I think we can beat everyone at home,” said Lingr, who scored Feyenoord's first goal in a crushing 6-1 league win over Heerenveen at the weekend. The team from Rotterdam scored 17 goals in the last three matches.

In addition to Lingra, there are three other Czech players on the team rosters for the group stage, but their clubs will not enter the fight until Wednesday. Midfielder Alex Král wears the shirt of Union Berlin, David Jurásek is currently injured in Benfica Lisbon and Lukáš Horníček is Braga's substitute goalkeeper.

Two more matches will be played in Group H on Tuesday. Barcelona are the clear favorites to advance, which in the last two seasons remained at the gates of the elimination phase. This time, the Spanish champion is aiming much higher. He will start the group at home against competition newcomers Antwerp.

“It is time for us to take a step forward in the Champions League. We are in good form, so it is the perfect time to go into battle. We start at home, we need a winning start,” said the coach Barcelona's Xavier Hernández.

Shakhtar Donetsk will face Porto in the second duel of the group. Due to the Russian military attack on Ukraine, the match will take place in Hamburg.

Tuesday's schedule:

18:45 AC Milan – Newcastle, Young Boys Bern – Leipzig ,

21:00 FC Barcelona – Antwerp, Feyenoord Rotterdam (Lingr) – Celtic Glasgow, Lazio Rome – Atlético Madrid, Manchester City – Crvena zvezda Belgrade, Paris St. Germain – Dortmund, Shakhtar Donetsk – FC Porto.