Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (L) and teammates go through their paces during a training session at the club's Valdebebas training grounds in Madrid, September 17, 2012. Real Madrid will face Manchester City in their Champions League soccer match on Tuesday.
(Photo : REUTERS/Sergio Perez (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
The first day of the Champions League gets underway this afternoon with four of the eight groups in action. Let's take a look at Group D.
Real Madrid vs. Manchester City 2:45 PM ET
Arguably the marquee match of the day between the two best squads playing today. While Manchester City is looking good thus far in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho's Merengues have been dreadful despite winning the Spanish Cup. At the center of the crisis the team's main leader Cristiano Ronaldo whose "sadness" has not only distracted the squad but hurt their performance. A 1-0 loss to Sevilla on Saturday was the latest of their woes which do not seem to be improving.
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Meanwhile City tied 1-1 over the weekend and will gladly take compliments from Mourinho that they will one day win the Champions League. Why not now? Madrid has Ronaldo, Ozil, and a plethora of other superstars, but City is just as packed with stars.
Edge: Real Madrid would be a lock if not for the fact that they are not playing their best these days. But they are home and fired up for this one. Don't discount City however as they have looked better than Madrid to start the season.
Prediction: Home field pays off for Ronaldo and company. 2-0 Real Madrid.
Borussia Dortmund vs. Ajax Amsterdam 2:45PM ET
Both squads are happy to face each other in the first match of the group. Dortmund looks to make up for an embarrassing run of one win and one draw last year. They have dominated in the Bundesliga but have failed to translate domestic success in continental competition. They will hope that home field advantage will play to their advantage. Meanwhile Ajax will look to make up for a third place group stage finish last season and an early exit in the Europa League. Both of these squads will be looking for a major win as they let the more potent teams in the group pound each other.
Edge: Borussia Dortmund. The home field advantage and the tremendous campaign alst season in the Bundesliga makes this team a true winner.
Prediction: 2-1 Dortmund.