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5 Champions League games we can't wait for this season... and why

We’re looking at you Barcelona v Juventus.

Will Madrid have cause to celebrate again this season?
Will Madrid have cause to celebrate again this season?
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

IF YOU’RE NOT humming the Champions League theme at the mere thought of European club football’s premier competition returning, can you even call yourself a football fan?

The group stages get under way this week as Real Madrid look to become the first team in 41 years to win three European Cups on the spin.

But before anyone can think of lifting the trophy at the NSC Olimpiyskiy in Kiev on 26 May, they have to get through some intriguing groups.

With that in mind, here are five games we can’t wait to see:

Barcelona v Juventus, Nou Camp - 12 September

Source: FC Barcelona/YouTube

Barcelona are not the all-conquering force they have been over the past decade and more, but we’re only a couple of years removed from the Catalan club and Juventus playing out a cracking final in Berlin.

The Old Lady of Italian football will be disappointed with their performance in last May’s decider in Cardiff, but what better way to overcome any hangover than by taking down one of Europe’s elite clubs on their home patch.

PSG v Bayern Munich, Parc des Princes - 27 September

PSG Training With Kylian Mbappe - Camp Des Loges The €400m men in training. Source: Zabulon Laurent/ABACA

After activating the €222 million release clause of Neymar earlier this summer, PSG added superstar Kylian Mbappe on the last day of the transfer window for a fee that will reach €180m in 12 months time.

But will it be enough to see them achieve European success? This game on match day two of the Champions League will be a very good indication of where they are.

Real Madrid v Tottenham, Santiago Bernabeu - 17 October

Source: EMPICS Sport

These two met in the quarter-finals in 2011 but it didn’t go so well for Spurs then, losing 4-0 in the Santiago Bernabeu before slipping to a 1-0 defeat at home in the return leg.

Both Gareth Bale and Luka Modric were playing for the Premier League club at that time so it’ll be interesting to see how they fare lining up for the Spanish giants this time around.

Napoli v Manchester City, Stadio San Paolo - 1 November

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Final - Barcelona v Manchester United - Wembley Stadium Pep is used to European success. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

Any self-respecting football hipster from the early part of this decade still has a soft spot for Napoli, even if they haven’t quite managed to turn decent cup form into league success in Italy.

City have themselves failed to scale the European heights Pep Guardiola achieved at both Barcelona and Bayern and you suspect this is a game they’ll need to win to qualify as top seeds.

Sevilla v Liverpool, Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan - 21 November

Liverpool v Sevilla - UEFA Europa League Final - St. Jakob-Park Liverpool and Sevilla have previous in Europe. Source: 50 Giuseppe Esposito/PA Images

While they’ve never won the big one, Sevilla have a fantastic European record – winning three of the past four Europa League titles, with a victory against Liverpool in the 2016 decider.

They lost to Leicester in the Round of 16 last season and will be hoping to do better against English opposition this time around. Both teams like to play attacking football too, so goals are almost guaranteed.

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- Updated 14.15: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Real Madrid and Tottenham shared a group in 2011; they met in the quarter-finals.

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