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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 19 October, 2019
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5 things to look out for in tonight's Champions League games

Manchester City will look to Sergio Aguero, Chelsea are without Diego Costa and Cillian Sheridan’s APOEL take on Paris Saint-Germain.

Aguero celebrating a goal against CSKA Moscow last season.
Aguero celebrating a goal against CSKA Moscow last season.
Image: Ivan Sekretarev

1. City behind closed doors

WITH ONE POINT from their opening two group games, Manchester City travel to the Russian capital in search of a first win. The Premier League champions met CSKA Moscow at the same stage a year ago when Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo shared the goals in 2-1 and 5-2 wins.

While Negredo is out on loan at Valencia these days, Argentine striker Aguero is now joint top goalscorer in the Premier League with Diego Costa after notching four in the win over Tottenham on Saturday.

CSKA, currently second in their domestic league but bottom of Group E, will not have the support of home fans to rely on as they play their second game behind closed doors after being handed a three-match ban by UEFA for racist incidents.

2. Ribery back for Bayern

In the same group, second-placed Roma host leaders Bayern Munich at the Olympic Stadium in the hope of taking points off the 2013 winners.

Despite missing a number of key players in the 1-1 draw with Man City on matchday two, Rudi Garcia’s side impressed at the Etihad Stadium and were well worth the draw which Francesco Totti’s record-breaking goal earned them.

The Giallorossi come into the fixture on the back of a 3-0 win over Chievo on Saturday while Bayern remain unbeaten this season and welcomed Franck Ribery back during the 6-0 demolition of Werder Bremen on Saturday.

3. Chelsea to do without Costa

Chelsea will be once again without the services of top scorer Diego Costa when they welcome Slovenian side Maribor to Stamford Bridge this evening.

The Spanish international sat out the 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday due to a hamstring injury picked up while on international duty and manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that he is also a doubt for the weekend’s Premier League clash with Manchester United.

The Londoners haven’t hit top form in the Champions League yet but are top after a draw against Schalke was followed up with the 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon thanks to Nemanja Matic’s header. Maribor, meanwhile, have two draws under their belt so far.

4. Old team-mates go head-to-head

France Soccer Champions League Luis Enrique. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Once team-mates at Barcelona, Luis Enrique and Frank de Boer tonight lock horns as managers of two of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Enrique, who played alongside De Boer between 1999-2003, will aim to bounce back from their recent defeat to Paris Saint-Germain when they face the Dutch champions — who have two points from as many matches.

It’s also a huge week for Barca in La Liga as they meet Real Madrid in El Clasico this Saturday when Luis Suarez’s four-month ban comes to an end.

There is also an Irish connection to this one as Mayo native Damien McGraith will be one of the referee’s assistants at the Nou Camp.

5. Sheridan’s APOEL face under-strength PSG

Cillian Sheridan, the only Irish player contesting the group stages in this year’s competition, will be hoping his APOEL team can cause an upset when Paris Saint-Germain arrive in Nicosia.

The Cavan-born striker has been a regular for the Cypriots, who lost 1-0 to Barcelona before claiming a 1-1 draw at home to Ajax, and scored in the qualifiers against HJK and AaB Aalborg.

PSG are missing their talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic through injury while Marquinhos, and Ezequiel Lavezzi are definitely out and David Luiz and Thiago Silva are doubts.

Tonight’s fixtures (7.45pm unless stated): 

  • CSKA Moscow v Manchester City (5pm)
  • Roma v Bayern Munich 
  • APOEL v Paris Saint-Germain
  • Barcelona v Ajax
  • Schalke v Sporting Lisbon
  • Chelsea v Maribor
  • BATE Borisov v Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Porto v Athletic Bilbao

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Ben Blake

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