The Champions League group stage action rolls on as Matchday 2 gets underway on Tuesday with eight scintillating matchups. Keep in mind, because of the hiatus last season, this season's schedule comes at us a little faster than usual, with two three-week sprints consisting of three matchdays. As we get to the halfway point of that first sprint, let's take a look at Jimmy Conrad's key betting tips and some storylines to consider.
Tuesday's Champions League schedule
(All times U.S./Eastern)
- Lokomotiv Moscow vs. Bayern Munich, 1:55 p.m. (CBS All Access)
- Shakhtar vs. Inter Milan, 1:55 p.m. (CBS All Access)
- Atletico Madrid vs. Red Bull Salzburg, 4 p.m. (CBS All Access)
- Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Real Madrid, 4 p.m. (CBS All Access)
- Porto vs. Olympiacos, 4 p.m. (CBS All Access)
- Marseille vs. Manchester City, 4 p.m. (CBS All Access)
- Liverpool vs. Midtjylland, 4 p.m. (CBS All Access)
- Atalanta vs. Ajax, 4 p.m. (CBS All Access)
You can stream every match on CBS All Access. Sign up now and enjoy one week of CBS All Access for free ahead of the opening match. Every match will be available on demand shortly after the final whistle.
If keeping track of every match at the same time is your cup of tea, make sure you tune into "The Golazo Show," CBS Sports' live whip-around show on group stage matchdays. "The Golazo Show" will keep avid soccer fans in the loop by featuring every goal each matchday on CBS Sports Network and CBS All Access with coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on matchdays.
If you missed action from the previous day, check out "The Champions Club," featuring Jules Breach, Julien Laurens and "The Beast" Ade Akinfenwa. It's the ultimate nightly highlights show for fans of the Champions League on CBS All Access.
Jimmy Conrad's easy money
Here's a look at -- the man, the myth, the legend -- Jimmy Conrad's super-duper picks for Tuesday's Champions League fixtures, as heard on ¡Qué Golazo! A Daily CBS Soccer Podcast. All odds are courtesy of our friends at William Hill Sportsbook.
Robert Lewandowski to score a header (+290)
Lokomotiv Moscow is going to drop a ton of guys back behind the ball, meaning there should be a lot of crosses coming in and, as we've seen time and time again, Lewandowski is a master of getting open in the box.
Atalanta and Ajax to draw (+320)
This game has 2-2 written all over it. Atalanta are one of the highest scoring teams in Europe and Ajax are coming off a 13-0 win over the weekend PLUS they are unbeaten in their last nine away matches in the Champions League, winning six and drawing three.
I like Real Madrid to win 2-1 so now it's just a matter of how you want to bet it!
Some options to consider:
- Real Madrid to win and both teams to score (+190)
- Real Madrid to win exactly 2-1 (+700)
- Sergio Ramos to score anytime (+275)
- Sergio Ramos to get carded (+180)
Ramos takes the penalties and he loves scoring in this competition. He also getting cards!
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So who should you back in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday? And where does all the betting value lie? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the money line has all the value in every UEFA Champions League match, all from the proprietary European soccer model that's up an eye-popping 13,800 percent.
Hazard returns to Real Madrid squad
Real Madrid were riding the lowest of low after losing two in a row, including to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League last week, but a 3-1 win over Barcelona over the weekend in La Liga play has seemed to cool the waters for Zinedine Zidane's men.
"The performance we delivered in El Clasico is exactly the kind of display we need to produce [Tuesday]," Zidane said. "We played well, fought as a team and the most important thing is that we try and do that [Tuesday]. We've got to reproduce what we did at the weekend."
To make things a little better ahead of their match at Borussia Monchengladbach, Los Blancos will be boosted by the return from Sergio Ramos, who played over the weekend, and the possible return of Eden Hazard, who had been sidelined all season after nursing ankle and muscle injuries. Zidane, who admitted to having problems at the wing during his pre-match press conference, hinted that Hazard could see his minutes on the pitch in some capacity -- though probably off the bench -- on Tuesday.
"[Tuesday] we will see how we are going to use him. It is very positive news for us," Zidane said.
Alisson back in UCL after eight-month layover
Speaking of returns, Tuesday will mark Liverpool shot-stopper Alisson's first Champions League appearance since Feb. 18 when Liverpool played their first leg of the round of 16 against Atletico Madrid. The Brazilian goalkeeper missed the start of the Premier League season after suffering shoulder ligament damage. This was an injury that was supposed to keep him sidelined for up to six weeks, but he managed to return over the weekend to secure a 2-1 win over Sheffield United.
Here's what he told The Guardian about recovering quicker than the expected timeline:
"Every injury you have on the ligament, whether it is your ankle, your shoulder or your knee, you still feel something weird. It's not pain, but you feel it for a couple of weeks. It's nothing that puts limits on my way to play. I'm really 100 percent able to play and I am comfortable with that.
"It is good to be back and I'm really happy. As soon as the doctor said it was going to be four to six weeks, I said, 'No, Doc -- we go to two-three weeks maximum.' He agreed with me and we go for it. I just want to thank the physios the fitness staff the doctors and the goalie coaches who help me."
Liverpool are 70-14-9 with 0.8 goals conceded with Alisson between the sticks. Without Alisson, they are 15-5-7 and have allowed 1.7 goals per match. Facing a team like Midtjylland, newcomers to the competition, should be a soft landing spot for Jurgen Klopp's keeper.
Can Man City survive in France without a striker?
As deep as they normally are, Pep Guardiola's side will be without some firepower in France when they visit Marseille. Already without Gabriel Jesus due to a lingering thigh injury, Guardiola revealed during his pre-match press conference that Sergio Aguero is set to miss approximately two-to-four weeks with a hamstring injury suffered at West Ham over the weekend, which means he'll also miss Matchday 3 against Olympiacos as well as potentially a Nov. 8 league clash against Liverpool.
Guardiola admitted that the thought about purchasing a backup striker to Aguero and Jesus over the summer transfer window, but ultimately backed down.
"Maybe, yeah -- we considered it," Guardiola said. "We thought about it, maybe another type of striker but we could not.
"I think the club do what they can, it's not a club that wants revenues at the end of the year, it's what they want and what's best for the team. Our team is young in many positions, of course we have guys with experience so young.
"If you decide to buy a striker, it has to be a striker in the league of Gabriel and Sergio, but we cannot afford it. That is the reality.
"I'm not saying the club didn't want to do it, not just in terms of strikers but in every position, but they wanted to make as strong a team as possible to make more games and better. But we thought OK, Sergio is back, we didn't expect Gabriel to be injured, sometimes it happens."
To make matters worse, City have just two draws and one loss in their three meetings away from home against Ligue 1 clubs in the Champions League.
Seventeen-year-old Liam Delap practiced with the first team on Monday after playing for the U-23 squad over the weekend, but he's not registered for the Champions League group stage and is only an option at this time for City in the Premier League. Without any strikers, look for Guardiola to get creative with his starting XI and lean more on Raheem Sterling up top as a makeshift striker and Kevin De Bruyne behind him, with Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez on the wings.
How many goals will we see in Atalanta vs. Ajax?
Before we talk about Ajax's performance over the weekend, William Hill Sportsbook has the Over/Under for this one set at 3.5 goals. That might be a layup for those at home interested in that kind of thing.
Now, back to what Ajax did over the weekend. The Dutch giants set an Eredivisie record by putting 13 goals past VVV Venlo, including five goals scored from 19-year-old Burkina Faso international Lassina Traore. Two others bagged a brace (Jurgen Ekkelenkamp and Klass-Jan Huntelaar).
"Ajax are definitely a strong team and they can afford to experiment with different situations in certain league matches," Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini said in the pre-match press conference. "I think the Champions League is a little different. We hope to make it difficult for them, and from this match the balance of power between the two teams will emerge."
Atalanta are no slouches in the attack, of course, having registered 19 goals through six matches in all competitions thus far. Last week they won comfortably, 4-0, over UCL newcomers Midtjylland. Gasperini rested a few of his starters over the weekend against Sampdoria in hopes of having some fresher legs for this continental clash.
This matchup is for the hipsters, and it should be a treat. Hopefully we're blessed with an up-and-down, open and free-flowing match with plenty of goals scored.
Can Shakhtar bring more chaos?
Shakhtar Donetsk's stunning win over 13-time UCL winners Real Madrid at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano in Matchday 1 shook up the table in Group B. Mind you, this was a squad facing a nightmare scenario of having 10 players sidelined due to either injury or COVID-19 and they went to Madrid and built a 3-0 halftime lead before nearly collapsing and losing points.
The good news for Shakhtar is that four of those five who had missed the game in Madrid due to illness, Matviyenko, Stepanenko, Taison and Alan Patrick, returned to play over the weekend and should be ready to roll against an Inter Milan side that drew at home to Borussia Monchengladbach in Matchday 1. A home win for the Ukrainian underdogs (+440, via William Hill Sportsbook) would guarantee them in first place for another week with five-point cushion over Inter Milan and could completely turn this table upside-down.