When the draw was made for the group stage of this season’s Champions League, Manchester City would have been pleased rather than delighted.
It doesn’t come much harder than two games against reigning champions and treble-winners Bayern Munich. And yet Manuel Pellegrini avoided another “group of death”, with matches against CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen ones he would expect to win – at least if he has realistic aspirations of taking City to the next level in the competition.
Every week we will take a look at how City’s Champions League opponents have fared in their domestic competitions, giving fans a hint of what to expect in the build-up to the matches that start on 17 September.
Bayern’s Super Cup triumph against Chelsea meant there was no match for the Bundesliga champions this weekend. Their last match was a 1-1 draw with SC Freiburg last Tuesday, a match that saw them drop their first points of the season and ultimately lose top spot to Borussia Dortmund this weekend.
The Russian champions kept up their fine recent form with a 2-1 win against Amkar Perm on Friday. Amkar took the lead less than 60 seconds into the game, but goals from Seydou Doumbia and Ahmed Musa gave CSKA a third straight win and sees them three points clear at the top of the table.
The Czech side remained top of their domestic league after a 3-2 win at home to Sigma Olomouc. Viktoria were 2-0 up inside 10 minutes, through goals from Daniel Kolar and Frantisek Rajtoral. The visitors pulled a goal back only for defender Lukas Hejda to make it 3-1. A 71st-minute strike from Sigma was the final goal and the home side stayed above Sparta Prague on goal difference.
image: © jiazi