Soccer

Focus on clubs the British contenders face in Champions League action this week

British clubs return to Champions League action this week (Nick Potts/PA)
British clubs return to Champions League action this week (Nick Potts/PA) British clubs return to Champions League action this week (Nick Potts/PA)

England and Scotland’s Champions League representatives return to action this week with some looking to maintain momentum and others determined to kick-start their campaigns.

Holders Manchester City and Newcastle currently top their respective groups while Arsenal are well placed after two games, but Manchester United and Celtic are yet to open their accounts.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the teams the British contenders face in the latest round of fixtures.

Manchester United v Copenhagen (Tuesday)

Danish champions Copenhagen began their campaign in the second qualifying round, easing past Iceland’s Breidablik 8-3 on aggregate, but were extended much further to secure their place in the play-offs as they drew 0-0 with Sparta Prague at the Parken Stadium before progressing 4-2 on penalties after an eventful 3-3 draw in the Czech capital.

Polish champions Rakow Czestochowa provided the opposition as they fought for a place in the group stage and a 1-0 away win in the first leg proved decisive as the sides drew 1-1 in Denmark in the return.

Copenhagen are currently a point clear of Silkeborg and Brondby at the top of the Danish Superliga, but have won only once in their last four games in all competitions – Saturday’s 2-1 home victory over lowly Vejle BK.

They launched their Group A campaign with a 2-2 draw at Galatasaray, where they led 2-0 before defender Elias Jelert was sent off and were beaten 2-1 at home by Bayern Munich last time out, having gone ahead once again.

The game could prove something of a family affair for United striker Rasmus Hojlund, 20, who could come up against 18-year-old twin brothers Oscar and Emil, both part of former club Copenhagen’s squad for the competition.

Sevilla v Arsenal (Tuesday)

Sevilla’s Ivan Rakitic kisses the Europa League trophy after victory over Roma
Sevilla’s Ivan Rakitic kisses the Europa League trophy after victory over Roma Sevilla’s Ivan Rakitic kissed the Europa League trophy after victory over Roma (Adam Davy/PA)

Sevilla are making their ninth appearance in the group stage and qualified as a result of extending their record as UEFA Cup or Europa League winners to seven with a penalty shoot-out victory over Roma in last season’s final in Budapest.

They have not made it to the last 16 in their last two attempts and welcome the Gunners to the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, having drawn both their Group B fixtures to date.

The Spaniards led French side Lens 1-0 at home in their opener courtesy of Lucas Ocampos’ early strike, but had to settle for a point after Angelo Fulgini levelled and they were pegged back once again in a dramatic conclusion to their trip to PSV Eindhoven, where they were 1-0 up and 2-1 ahead before Jordan Teze snatched a 2-2 draw deep into stoppage time.

Sevilla, who lost to Manchester City on penalties in August’s European Super Cup clash in Athens, finished 11th in last season’s LaLiga table, 39 points adrift of champions Barcelona and again find themselves in mid-table.

They have won only two of their 12 games in all competitions to date this season, but drew a second-successive league game on Saturday, when visitors Real Madrid needed a Daniel Carvajal equaliser to emerge with a point.

Celtic v Atletico Madrid (Wednesday)

Twice runners-up – on both occasions to derby rivals Real Madrid – Atletico have genuine Champions League pedigree, although they failed to make the last 16 for the first time in five seasons in 2022-23.

The sides have met on six previous occasions in European competition with the Spaniards having come out on top four times, the last of them a 1-0 Europa League victory at Celtic Park in November 2011, with the Scottish champions’ only reward two draws.

Atleti currently top Group E on goals scored ahead of Lazio with both sides on four points and Feyenoord a point behind.

They drew 1-1 in Rome – where the Serie A side were indebted to goalkeeper Ivan Provedel’s last-gasp equaliser – and twice came from behind at the Estadio Metropolitano, where Alvaro Morata’s double either side of an Antoine Griezmann strike secured a 3-2 victory over the Dutchmen.

Diego Simeone’s men head into the game on the back of a six-match winning run culminating in Saturday’s 3-0 league victory at Celta Vigo.

Newcastle v Borussia Dortmund (Wednesday)

Borussia Dortmund went out of last season's Champions League at the hands of Chelsea
Borussia Dortmund went out of last season's Champions League at the hands of Chelsea Borussia Dortmund went out of last season’s Champions League at the hands of Chelsea (John Walton/PA)

Last season’s Bundesliga runners-up, Dortmund were European champions in 1997 and went down 2-1 to compatriots Bayern Munich in the 2013 final.

They have made it to the knockout stage of the Champions League in eight of their 10 most recent campaigns, but went out to Chelsea in the round of 16 last season.

Their record in England, however, does not augur well with seven of their last eight visits having ended in defeat – both the Blues and Manchester City got the better of them last season.

Dortmund have collected just a single point from their two Group F outings to date, but are yet to find the back of the net following a 2-0 defeat at Paris St Germain and a 0-0 home draw with AC Milan.

However, the reverse in Paris remains the only one they have suffered in 11 games in all competitions and they have won their last five league games – the most recent of them a 1-0 victory over Werder Bremen on Friday – to sit two points adrift of early leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

Young Boys v Manchester City (Wednesday)

The Swiss champions are playing in the Champions League for the 10th time having missed out on a place in last season’s Europa League after a play-off defeat by Anderlecht.

They collected five points from their six games on their last appearance in 2021-22 and finished bottom of their group as a result.

Young Boys won their first home Champions League game against an English club – Tottenham in a 2010-11 play-off – but eventually went down 6-3 on aggregate and their last, a 2-1 victory over Manchester United in September 2021 on a night when Cristiano Ronaldo scored but Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off.

They went down 3-1 at home to Leipzig in their opening fixture, but were denied victory at Red Star Belgrade when Osman Bukari’s late goal ensured it ended 2-2.

They are unbeaten in four games in all competitions, but were held to a goalless home draw by FC Zurich on Saturday.