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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Liverpool and Bayern Munich kick off campaigns with tough road trips – Champions League in Opta numb

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The most decorated club competition in the world is back underway, and Wednesday’s Champions League action promises some fireworks.

Winners in 2019-20, Bayern Munich will travel to the San Siro to take on Inter, while last year’s runners-up Liverpool head to Napoli for a game they are favoured in.

Reigning Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt will look to keep up Germany’s strong record against Portuguese teams when they host Sporting CP, and Harry Kane will be aiming to build on his superb European record as Tottenham host Marseille.

For a closer look, Stats Perform have dove into some interesting facts and nuggets about each matchup on Wednesday to give a clearer picture about how these clashes of champions may play out.

Inter v Bayern Munich

After their last Champions League run ended in a quarter-final loss to Villarreal, Bayern Munich will be desperate for a much improved result as they seek their seventh title, beginning their campaign away from home against Inter.

The sides have evenly split their seven previous European meetings, with three wins each and one draw, although it has been over a decade since their last Champions League fixture back in 2011.

While they do not have much recent history against Bayern in this competition, Inter’s games against German opponents have turned into goal-fests, with 39 total goals (19 for, 20 against) in their past 10 matches.

Bayern have had much more success against Italian sides, going unbeaten in their past 10 (8W, 2D) – with their last loss coming in that 2011 battle with Inter, and the Nerazzurri were also the last side to keep a clean sheet against them in the 2010 final.

Romelu Lukaku will be a hard man to replace for the Italians as he will be absent after suffering a thigh injury. In his 16 European contests for Inter, he has 17 goal involvements (13 goals and four assists).

Napoli v Liverpool

This will be the third time in the past five seasons that Napoli and Liverpool have landed in the same Champions League group after back-to-back years in 2018-19 and 2019-20, with the Italian side winning all three of their home games.

Napoli have not featured in the last two editions of Europe’s top competition, but they were a force in the group stage before their drought, with only one loss from their previous 12 matches (5W, 6D).

Mohamed Salah’s seven goals in last season’s group stage was the second-most ever in a group stage from a player on an English team, trailing only Ruud van Nistelrooy’s eight during Manchester United’s 2004-05 campaign. Salah is also one assist away from tying James Milner and Steven Gerrard for Liverpool’s record number of assists in the Champions League (12).


Tottenham v Marseille

In the first ever competitive meeting between these two sides, Tottenham will likely be confident in their ability to get the job done at home against a Marseille side long removed from any Champions League success.

From their past 15 Champions League games, Marseille have only one win, against Olympiakos in 2020. English sides have given them particular trouble as well, as they have 12 losses against Premier League sides in their history in the competition – twice as many as against any other nation (six losses against Italian teams).

Harry Kane will be looking to add to his stellar European record, with 23 goal involvements (20 goals, three assists) in 24 career fixtures. Of all players with at least 20 Champions League goals, only Erling Haaland (64), Mario Gomez (102) and Lionel Messi (103.7) have a better minutes-per-goal figure than Kane’s 104.4

Eintracht Frankfurt v Sporting CP

The reigning Europa League champions, Eintracht Frankfurt are making history with their first-ever Champions League berth, becoming the 14th German side to ever qualify – breaking the tie with Spain (13) for the most by any nation.

German sides have given Sporting trouble over the years, with 13 losses and one draw from 14 tries in European competition, with that emerging as a theme between the two nations.

Against all Portuguese sides, German teams are undefeated in their past 15 Champions League matches (13W, 2L) dating back to 2006.

After netting five times in last season’s Europa League triumph to take his tally up to 11, Eintracht’s Daichi Kamada can enter the club’s record books as one of their top-three goalscorers in European competition with one more.


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