On Tuesday, Oct. 20 and Wednesday, Oct. 21, the 2020-21 edition of the Champions League started with a bang. The Champions League is a European soccer competition that takes the best teams in Europe and pits them against each other to determine the best club in Europe. There are eight groups with four teams each. In the group stages, each team in a group will play every other group twice for a total of six matches. The top two of each group head into the knockout stages, which are two-legged competitions. After the round of 16 is the quarterfinals, the semifinals and then the final itself, which is a single match instead of two matches. There are 32 teams in total from all over Europe. The teams can qualify by either winning their domestic league, finishing in the top four of that league (depending on the country), winning the previous Champions League or winning the Europa League.
Out of the 16 matches that were played over Tuesday and Wednesday, there were some notable matches and results. The reigning Champion League winners and German champions Bayern Munich went against Spanish side Atletico Madrid and beat them 4-0, kicking off their title defense to a strong start. Among most fans, they are favorites to win the competition again with world-class players all over the pitch. Thirteen-time Champion League winners and current Spanish League winners Real Madrid, on the other hand, started off with a loss to Shakhtar Donetsk, losing 3-2 and sending shockwaves through the soccer world. Other notable games were French league-winners Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), losing 2-1 in the final moments against the English team Manchester United. The English champions, Liverpool, beat Ajax 1-0 in a closely fought match. The Italian champions Juventus beat Dynamo Kiev 2-0 without the help of star player Cristiano Ronaldo, who recently contracted COVID-19. Spanish runner-up Barcelona easily cruised past the Hungarian champions Ferencvaros with a score of 5-1. Manchester City beat the Portuguese champions Porto by a final of 3-1.
The next Champions League matchdays are Tuesday, Oct. 27 and Wednesday, Oct. 28. By the time that this article is published, the Tuesday matches should have been played already. The most notable match of the week, Juventus against Barcelona, is on Wednesday. That will feature two of the greatest players: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Over the past decade, if you asked anyone who the best soccer player was, those were the only two answers. This rivalry was ignited when Ronaldo was with Real Madrid, with each player winning a multitude of trophies. However, due to Ronaldo’s positive COVID-19 test, it is unlikely that he will be able to play. Regardless, it still should be one of the matches to watch as the Champions League continues.