The Champions League begins this week with six British sides involved in the action.
Celtic host holders Real Madrid in an eye-catching clash on Tuesday, when Manchester City and Chelsea also start their challenges. Liverpool and Rangers – together in the same group – play on Wednesday, as do Tottenham.
Here, the PA news agency looks at the form of the sides facing the British teams.
Chelsea face a tricky opener in Group E as they travel to the Croatian capital to face a Dinamo side that are unbeaten in 19 matches at the Maksimir Stadium. They have also made a strong start to their Croatian league defence having won seven of their opening eight games, while they bounced back from defeat in the first leg of their play-off against Bodo/Glimt to reach the group stage with a 4-2 aggregate success.
The visit of the holders and record 14-time European champions is undoubtedly a glamour tie for for Celtic in Group F, yet it is also a formidable challenge. Real, a juggernaut fuelled by a huge weight of history, defied expectations to overcome stronger-fancied sides such as Paris St Germain, Manchester City and Liverpool to triumph last season, while also claiming the LaLiga crown. They have begun the new campaign in similar fashion, with four wins from four.
Julen Lopetegui’s side face a tough task as they host Premier League winners Manchester City in Group G. After losing some key players over the summer, Sevilla have made their worst start to a LaLiga campaign since 1981 by collecting just one point from their opening four games. Fans made their frustration clear as they went down to a dismal 3-0 loss to Barcelona at the weekend. Former Spain coach Lopetegui has good credit after winning the Europa League in 2020 and last season’s fourth-placed finish, but the pressure is growing quickly.
The Dutch giants, who host Rangers’ Champions League return in Group A, have needed little time to find their feet after a summer of upheaval. Ajax lost coach Erik Ten Hag, defender Lisandro Martinez and forward Antony to Manchester United, while Sebastian Haller also departed, but they have started the new Eredivisie season strongly with five wins from five under new boss Alfred Schreuder.
The Italian side face Liverpool in the group stage for a third time in five seasons and will go into Wednesday’s Group A clash at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in confidence after an impressive start in Serie A. Luciano Spalletti’s side, who finished third last term, sit top after three wins and two draws in their opening five games. Georgian Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has been particularly impressive, with four goals in those games, including Saturday’s winner at Lazio.
Marseille head to Tottenham in Group D buoyant after winning five of their opening six games in an unbeaten Ligue 1 start that sees them sitting level with champions PSG. The French outfit are looking to kick on this season under new manager Igor Tudor after finishing second and reaching the Europa Conference League semi-finals last term. They are facing Spurs competitively for the first time.