A Hot Take for Each Champions League Team After Matchday Three

Nov 5, 2020, 5:45 PM GMT
Bruno Fernandes
It wasn't a great matchday for Manchester United | DeFodi Images/Getty Images
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We are officially at the halfway point of the 2020/2021 Champions League group stages and what a journey it's been so far.

We're starting to get an idea about who might be the teams to watch this season, as well as which sides shouldn't have bothered turning up in the first place.

Here is one hot take for each of the 32 Champions League clubs in the wake of Matchday Three.

1. Ajax - Get It Done Quickly

Antony Santos
Ajax were quick of the mark in Matchday Three | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

47 seconds. That was all the time it took for Ajax to take the lead against Midtjylland.

Just nine minutes later they were two up and could sit back, relax and coast their way to an important three points. It pays to get the job done early.

2. Atalanta - Maybe Do Some Defending Next Time Lads?

Alejandro Gomez
It was a tough night for everyone's second favourite team | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

They might still boast a devoted, hipster following but Atalanta's defending against Liverpool was tragic.

We are huge fans of Gian Piero Gasperini's gung ho approach but come on, can we try to look like we're doing some marking next time lads?

3. Atletico Madrid - Joao Felix Is Very Good at Football

FBL-EUR-C1-LOKOMOTIV-ATLETICO
Joao Felix impressed on Matchday Three | MAXIM SHEMETOV/Getty Images

He may not have managed to score but that did not stop Joao Felix starring for Los Rojiblancos against Lokomotiv Moscow.

Of late, a few questions have been raised about whether the Portugal international can thrive in Diego Simeone's rigid system and his display in Russia added further evidence to the contrary.

4. Barcelona - At Least They're Good in Europe

Lionel Messi, Miralem Pjanic, Frenkie de Jong
It's good to smile | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

2020 is shaping up to be an annus horribilis for Barcelona. Even by this year's horrific standard, the Blaugrana have had a torrid time.

In the wake of an 8-2 demolition to Bayern Munich, the ousting of president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the ongoing threat of bankruptcy, the club's European form has been a rare bright spot.

Victory over Dynamo Kyiv made it three wins for three. That's something we guess.

5. Bayern Munich - They're Still Ridiculously Good

Joshua Kimmich, Jerome Boateng
That is one intense handshake | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

In case you needed anymore proof that Die Roten are the best team on the planet, they provided it with a stunning 6-2 demolition of Red Bull Salzburg.

Can anyone stop Hansi Flick's Bavarian brutes?

6. Borussia Dortmund - Feed the Braut And He Will Score

Erling Haaland, Simon Deli, Krepin Diatta, Simon Mignolet
Erling Haaland was never missing from here | Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Erling Haaland passed a late fitness to feature in Dortmund's 3-0 victory over Club Brugge.

Unsurprisingly, the prolific Norwegian bagged a brace - keeping up his record of scoring against every team he has faced in the Champions League.

7. Borussia Mönchengladbach - Gladbach > Real Madrid

Marco Rose, Alassane Plea
Marco Rose was all smiles after this one | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

It's simple really.

Real Madrid lost to Shakhtar Donetsk, Borussia Monchengladbach smashed Shakhtar 6-0 - therefore they are are a better side than Los Blancos. Next.

8. Chelsea - ANOTHER CLEAN SHEET?!

Frank Lampard
The best defensive coach in the world apparently | Clive Rose/Getty Images

Remember when Chelsea couldn't defend? Simpler times ay.

The Blues shutout against Rennes means they have now gone five games in all competitions without conceding. Don't you hate it when a good narrative falls apart?

9. Club Brugge - A Minor Setback or the Beginning of the End?

Club Brugge KV v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League
Not the scoreline Club Brugge wanted | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Usual Champions League whipping boys Club Brugge had started this season's competition very well, besting Zenit St. Petersburg and gaining a point against Lazio.

Is there 3-0 defeat the beginning of the end or simply a minor setback on the road to their first ever progression into the knockout stages? Only time will tell.

10. Dynamo Kiev - The Fight For the Europa League Is On!

Vicktor Tsygankov
Next stop, Thursday night football? | Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Dynamo Kyiv never had much chance of progressing from Group G over Barcelona and Juventus - and their recent defeat to the former all but ended their hopes.

Their attention now turns to Matchday Six when they take on Ferencvaros in what could be a winner takes all for a place in the Europa League. Fun!

11. Ferencvaros - Hey, At Least They Scored

Ferencvaros Budapest v Juventus: Group G - UEFA Champions League
At least you tried | Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

Take a bow Franck Boli. The striker grabbed a 90th minute consolation during Ferencvaros' 4-1 defeat to Juventus to give their fans something to talk about on Zoom in the weeks ahead.

12. Inter - Panic Stations?

Alessandro Bastoni
ZOOOOOOOMMMMM | Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

After three games Inter would have expected to have accrued more than two points.

After being edged out 3-2 by Real Madrid, things are starting to get a little desperate for Antonio Conte. Expect him to recruit another former Premier League wing back. That is the answer to everything after all.

13. Istanbul Basaksehir - Age Is Just a Number

Demba Ba
Demba Ba led the line well against United | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Both of Istanbul Basaksehir's goals received a massive helping hand from the Manchester United defence, but that should not detract from their fine display.

A special mention to 35-year-old Demba Ba, who rolled back the years with the easiest goal anyone has ever scored in the Champions League.

14. Juventus - Morata Finally Scored!

Spezia Calcio v Juventus - Serie A
You deserve that fella | MB Media/Getty Images

After netting the world's first 'disallowed' hat-trick last time out, we can't have been the only ones that were delighted to see Alvaro Morata bag a brace against Ferencvaros.

15. Krasnodar - A Great Chance Slips Away

Aleksandr Martynovich, Yuri Gazinski
Playing the blame game perhaps? | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

When you're 2-1 up and the opposition gets reduced to ten men, it takes a pretty spectacular capitulation to surrender the three points.

Step forward Krasnodar, who did exactly that against Sevilla.

16. Lazio - Bad, But Could Have Been Worse

Zenit St. Petersburg v SS Lazio: Group F - UEFA Champions League
Caicedo saved Lazio's skin | Marco Rosi - SS Lazio/Getty Images

Lazio really should be doing better than drawing to Zenit St. Petersburg, especially after poor result against Club Brugge.

At least Felipe Caicedo's 82nd minute equaliser saved them from a damaging defeat.

17. Liverpool - Jota or Firmino? That Is the Question

Should this man start against Manchester City?
Should this man start against Manchester City? | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

After Diogo Jota netted a hat-trick against Atalanta, Jurgen Klopp publicly stated that his performance did not give him a selection headache.

Privately though, the German must be battling migraines as he has the tough decision of opting for Jota or Roberto Firmino against Manchester City on Sunday.

18. Lokomotiv Moscow - The Dream's Still Alive

FBL-EUR-C1-LOKOMOTIV-ATLETICO
Their fans (who are actually allowed inside the stadium) are starting to believe | MAXIM SHEMETOV/Getty Images

When Group A was drawn, most pundits suggested that it was a foregone conclusion that Atletico and Bayern would progress.

However at the halfway mark, those stubborn Lokomotiv Moscow boys are just two points back from Atleti. They couldn't actually upset the odds could they?

19. Manchester City - Good Night at the Office

Ferran Torres
Ferran Torres pre-knee slide | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

There's not a huge amount to say about Manchester City's run of the mill 3-0 win over Olympiacos.

One of the most encouraging aspects of the victory was Ferran Torres - who impressed in a central role - netting once again.

20. Manchester United - Ole Out?

Edinson Cavani
Yeah, this is how a lot of United fans reacted after that first goal | Burak Kara/Getty Images

Schoolboy defending is too kind of a phrase to describe United's performance.

Serious questions have to be asked of the manager and the players after that pile of dross.

21. Marseille - 'We Are Being Sh*t'

Andre Villas-Boas
Maybe it's time for Andre Villas-Boas to return to the rally driving circuit | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

After his Marseille side were bested 3-0 by Porto, Andre Villas Boas gave a very honest post-match interview.

"In order to be s*** in the Champions' League, you have to at least qualify for the Champions' League. We did it and we are being s***," the former Chelsea boss said.

You cannot argue with that.

22. Midtjylland - Slow Starts Are a Big No

Anders Dreyer
Yeah, we can't believe it either mate | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

If you're without a win after two games, you cannot afford to concede two goals within ten minutes.

That's exactly what Midtjylland did against Ajax, eventually succumbing to a 2-1 defeat. The result probably signals the end of their slim chances of progression.

23. Olympiacos - On the Verge

Pape Abou Cisse
Olympiacos were bested 3-0 by Manchester City | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Matchday five is looking like it could be a important game for the Greek side. Another victory over fellow Group C strugglers Marseille would likely confirm a third placed finish.

24. Porto - Luis Diaz Is a Player

Luis Diaz
Luis Diaz scored another fine goal | Octavio Passos/Getty Images

Fresh from bagging a great goal against Manchester City in Porto's opening game, Luis Diaz was at it again against Marseille.

The Portuguese giants clearly have some player on their hands, and it won't be long until he starts to attract serious interest from elsewhere.

25. PSG - Discipline Is Key

FBL-EUR-C1-LEIPZIG-PSG
The first of two red cards for PSG | RONNY HARTMANN/Getty Images

Things got off to a great start for PSG in Leipzig with Angel Di Maria opened the scoring inside seven minutes.

However, things soon fell apart with Die Roten Bullen making it 2-1 and Les Parisiens having two man sent off before full time. The result does not bode well for Thomas Tuchel.

26. RB Leipzig - All Hail Emperor Gulacsi

Angel Di Maria, Peter Gulacsi
Peter Gulacsi spent time on loan at Hereford earlier in his career | Maja Hitij/Getty Images

With RB Leipzig 1-0 down, Peter Gulacsi made a vital penalty stop which helped Julian Nagelsmann's side kick start their revival.

He may not be the flashiest name in the squad, but make no mistake - the Hungarian is one of the best shot stoppers around.

27. Red Bull Salzburg - Tighten it Up

Cican Stankovic
Cican Stankovic had a long night | DeFodi Images/Getty Images


Look, of course playing against Bayern is not easy and in some ways Red Bull Salzburg deserve credit for trying to go toe to toe with the reigning European champions.

However, their open approach led to a 6-2 thumping and this now leaves them four goals back from Lokomotiv Moscow in third.

28. Real Madrid - Phew

Rodrygo
Rodrygo was the hero for Real Madrid | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

With 10 minutes left to play Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo combined to save Real from a second Champions League draw in as many games.

It was a fine strike and an important one as well. One dreads to think how their fans would have taken to not winning any of their first three European matches.

29. Rennes - Far From a Dream Debut

Dalbert
Europa League qualification is the best Rennes can hope for | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Rennes have not enjoyed the best maiden Champions League campaign.

Their 3-0 defeat to Frank Lampard's Chelsea means they currently sit stone dead last in Group E, six points adrift of both the Blues and Sevilla. We're not saying it's over but... actually, no we are saying it's over.

30. Sevilla - Passion, Desire, Teamwork

Felix Brych, Jesus Navas
Sevilla fans would have feared the worst after this | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

It takes a special team to rally after going into half time 2-1 down and reduced to ten man.

Presumably, Sevilla will be a bit gutted to have recorded a 3-2 win over Krasnodar in the end though, as securing a spot in their beloved Europa League by finishing third is always their number one priority.

31. Shakhtar Donetsk - Back to Reality

Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Moenchengladbach: Group B - UEFA Champions League
You lot are rubbish | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Going into their game against Gladbach, Shakhtar were the surprise leaders of Group B having famously beaten Real Madrid before drawing with Lazio.

Against Die Folen, they were utterly woeful, shipping no less than six goals without reply. The phrase: 'consistently inconsistent' comes to mind.

32. Zenit St Petersburg - A Point on the Board!

Zenit St. Petersburg v SS Lazio: Group F - UEFA Champions League
Zenit's Europa League dream is still alive and kicking | MB Media/Getty Images

After back to back defeats, Zenit's 1-1 draw with Lazio saved them the ignominy of securing zero points from their opening three games.

They're still never going to qualify but at least it keeps their Europa League hopes alive.

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