Super Eagles forward, Ahmed Musa, is looking to start the 2015 UEFA Champions League campaign of CSKA Moscow on a bright note as they tackle Wolfsburg in Germany on Tuesday.
With four goals already under his belt in the qualifying rounds, Musa is hoping to score more that will help his Russian side out of Group B.
“We’re battle ready and just waiting for the game. We are here in Germany with high hopes and good spirit,” he told AfricanFootball.com.
“We want to start the group stage on a good note. Our aim is to win here against Wolfsburg. They are a good side too, but we have a target and we are working towards it. I will do my best to make that happen.”
Manchester United and PSV Eindhoven are the other teams in the group.
Below are the match backgrounds to Tuesday’s key games.
WOLFSBURG V CSKA MOSCOW
- Wolfsburg finished second in the Bundesliga last season to earn a second tilt at the UEFA Champions League group stage, having first featured in 2009/10.
- Last season, Dieter Hecking’s men reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League, their run ended by a 6-3 aggregate defeat by Napoli.
- En route to the last eight, Wolfsburg put nine goals past Russia’s FC Krasnodar in the group stage, winning 4-2 away and 5-1 at home. That latter success made it three wins out of three for Wolfsburg at home to Russian sides.
- For CSKA, this is their third consecutive campaign in the UEFA Champions League group stage. In each of the past two seasons, they failed to advance, finishing bottom both in 2013 and last term.
- CSKA’s elimination from Europe was confirmed on German soil last season when they fell 3-0 at FC Bayern Munich on matchday six. Bayern had already defeated them 1-0 at the Arena Khimki.
- CSKA have lost on all four previous visits to Germany, including another 3-0 reverse at Bayern in their opening game of the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League campaign.
PSV V MANCHESTER UNITED
- Dutch champions PSV are in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time since 2008/09.
- In last season’s UEFA Europa League, they reached the round of 32 before losing to Zenit. They lost their last two home games of that campaign – 1-0 against both Dinamo Moscow and Zenit.
- PSV have lost their last three home games against Premier League teams. Their most recent success came when current coach Phillip Cocu was still playing – 1-0 against Arsenal in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League round of 16.
- For Cocu, this is the first taste of the UEFA Champions League proper as a coach. He was in charge when PSV lost to AC Milan in the 2013/14 play-offs.
- United are back in the UEFA Champions League after a season’s exile. Fourth in the 2014/15 Premier League, they beat Club Brugge 7-1 on aggregate in last month’s play-off round to secure their participation.
- United won 2-0 at Ajax on their last visit to the Netherlands in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League round of 32, Ashley Young opening the scoring. David De Gea, Phil Jones, Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney also played.
- Their record away to Dutch clubs is W2 D2 L2. United also played the 1991 European Cup Winners’ Cup final in Rotterdam, beating Barcelona 2-1.
REAL MADRID V SHAKHTAR DONETSK
- The ten-times winners began last season with a 5-1 home win over FC Basel and in 45 European Cup campaigns have failed to win their opening home game only twice, most recently a 3-3 draw against Anderlecht in 1962.
- Madrid have won all three group home games for the past two campaigns – scoring ten goals each time – but their 11-game winning home streak in the competition ended when they went down 4-3 at home to Schalke 04 in last season’s round of 16 second leg.
- That defeat also curtailed the Blancos’ ten-match winning sequence in the tournament, home and away. Moreover, it was their first defeat in 22 UEFA Champions League games at the Santiago Bernabeu, with 19 of those games won.
- Madrid beat Schalke 5-4 overall last season and after a 1-0 home and aggregate win against Club Atlético de Madrid in the quarter-finals, advanced to a fifth successive semi-final where they lost to Juventus (2-1 away, 1-1 home).
- Madrid have won four and drawn two of their six home fixtures with Ukrainian visitors. With the exception of a 1985/86 UEFA Cup victory over FC Chornomorets Odesa (2-1 at home and on aggregate) they were all against FC Dynamo Kyiv.
- Overall their record against Ukrainian sides is W5 D6 L1.
- The Ukrainian Premier League runners-up are in their 11th group stage campaign.
- They beat Fenerbahce 3-0 at home in the third qualifying round to progress with the same aggregate score and in the play-offs they followed a 1-0 win at SK Rapid Wien with a 2-2 home draw.
- Twelve months ago Shakhtar drew 0-0 at Athletic Club on matchday one. They have enjoyed winning starts in European group stage competition in six of their last eight campaigns and recorded five matchday one victories out of their last seven in the UEFA Champions League.
- In 2013/14 Shakhtar won 2-0 at Real Sociedad on matchday one; overall their record away to Liga clubs is W2 D2 L5.
- Shakhtar lost the 2009 UEFA Super Cup 1-0 against Barcelona in Monaco.
- Shakhtar’s best performance in the UEFA Champions League came in 2010/11 when they reached the quarter-finals.
- Their other away group games last season brought a win at FC BATE Borisov and draw at FC Porto to finish second in Group H. In the round of 16 they lost 7-0 at Bayern Munich after a 0-0 home draw.
MANCHESTER CITY V JUVENTUS
- Second in the Premier League in 2015, City are competing in the group stage for the fifth year running. In each of their last two campaigns, they advanced to the round of 16.
- City won just one of their four home fixtures last season – against Bayern Munich (3-2) last November – and have only three wins from their last 11.
- City’s three home encounters with Serie A visitors this decade have all ended 1-1 – including last September’s meeting with AS Roma. Their last home win over Italian opponents was against AC Milan (3-0) in the 1978/79 UEFA Cup third round, with Kidd among the scorers.
- This is the fourth successive group stage campaign for the Italian champions, who are unbeaten in their last four away games in the competition.
- Juventus have not won in England since beating Manchester United FC 1-0 in the 1996/97 group stage.
- The two-time European champions came from two goals down to hold Chelsea FC 2-2 on their last visit to England in the 2012/13 group stage. Their overall away record against English clubs is W2 D6 L12.
PSG v Malmo
Real Madrid v Shakhtar Donetsk
Wolfsburg v CSKA Moscow
PSC v Manchester United
Benfica v Astana
Galatasaray v Atletico Madrid
Manchester City v Juventus
Sevilla v Borussia Monchengladbach