All four of England’s representatives in this season’s competition picked up wins, the first time this has happened in a group stage matchweek since October 2011. Manchester City and Tottenham set the tone on Tuesday, each putting five past Atalanta and Red Star Belgrade respectively to strengthen their position. Victory was particularly important for Spurs, who have had a torrid time of late but salvaged the goal difference that had taken a hit against Bayern Munich three weeks ago.
A draw at last season’s semi-finalists Ajax would have been considered a good result for Chelsea, but Frank Lampard’s side went one better on Wednesday as substitute Michy Batshuayi earned his side all three points. Liverpool then put Genk to the sword with a resounding 4-1 win to stay within a point of Group E leaders Napoli.
Kylian Mbappe was called upon from the bench to inspire a second-half rout from PSG as Club Brugge were swept away on Tuesday. The Frenchman entered the fray in the 52nd minute with his team a goal up and within 11 minutes had contributed a goal and an assist. He added two further strikes late on to complete a hat trick. At 20 years old he is now the youngest player to score 15 goals in the Champions League, breaking the previous record held by a certain Lionel Messi.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Erling Haaland scored a brace but could not prevent RB Salzburg from a 3-2 defeat to Napoli. In the process he became the second teenager to find the net in each of his first three Champions League appearances. He now only has two fewer goals in the competition than Eden Hazard.
Injury in the 2017/18 semi-finals ruled Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out of action for almost a year, meaning that the England international missed out on the entirety of Liverpool’s triumphant campaign in the following season. He seems keen to make up for lost time, though, and made his mark on Wednesday with two well-taken goals at Genk. Jurgen Klopp has a large roster of talented midfielders at his disposal, and the return of “the Ox” has given him a further option.
Defeat to Atletico Madrid means that Bayer Leverkusen need all of the six remaining fixtures in Group D to go their way if they are to reach the next round. The German outfit held out for 77 minutes at the Wanda Metropolitano, only to see substitute Alvaro Morata score a late winner. Partnered with Juventus turning it around against Lokomotiv Moscow, their hopes of progression are all but over.
Defeat in Italy could prove costly for Borussia Dortmund as they slipped to third in Group F behind Inter Milan. The Nerazzurri were deserved winners on the night, scoring in each half and even missing a late penalty. The two sides are now level on four points at the halfway stage, three behind leaders Barcelona. Inter’s failure to win at home to Slavia Prague had left them in trouble early on, but this victory has dragged the Bundesliga side back down.
On the face of it a 2-1 defeat at home to Barcelona is by no means a humiliation. What will disappoint Slavia Prague, however, is the fact that they could have actually taken something from the game. The Czech side had 24 shots at goal during their game, 11 more than the visitors. They also commanded a highly respectable 48% of possession against a Barcelona side at full strength. The optimism conjured by an equaliser five minutes after half time was short-lived as Barcelona regained the lead minutes later through an unfortunate own goal. The hosts pushed late on but could not level the scores again. The players’ reaction at full time showed just how close they had come.