“The moment UEFA said we were going to play in Tel Aviv, it wasn’t a problem for me. Maccabi has a great team. We are not naive. We understand that we have to fight tomorrow.”
At 3:10 in some sportsbooks, Marsch’s men are the only club favored to win the first leg away. Salzburg is led by Dominik Szoboszlai and Patson Daka, who’ve helped the team thrive despite the sales of several stars including Erling Haalandand Takumi Minamino.
Molde has a much tougher test with Hungarian side Ferencvaros, who knocked off Celtic. That tie could go either way, while Slavia Prague and Olympiakos are respectively noticeable favorites to beat Midtjylland and Omonia Nicosia.
Dynamo Kiev will be expected to outlast Gent over two legs, while it would be a minor upset if PAOK takes down Krasnodar.
UEFA Champions League playoff round matches
All 12 legs will kickoff at 3 pm ET between Tuesday and Sept. 30.
Maccabi Tel-Aviv v. Red Bull Salzburg
Slavia Prague v Midtjylland
Krasnodar v PAOK
Gent v Dynamo Kiev
Molde v Ferencvaros
Olympiakos v Omonia
Ferencvaros v Molde
Dynamo Kiev v Gent
Omonia v Olympiakos
Midtjylland v Slavia Prague
PAOK v Krasnodar
Red Bull Salzburg v Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Bayern Munich thumped Schalke 8-0, running its win streak in all competitions to 22. That’s just two behind the world record set by Brazil’s Coritiba in 2011.
It’s not just about the extension of the streak, but about the pure domination from the champs.
Hat trick hero Serge Gnabry and midfield prototype Joshua Kimmich continued to play as well as any midfielder in the world. New pal Leroy Sane played a role in three goals while Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, and Leon Goretzka all scored before German-English teenager Jamal Musiala scored to make it eight.
As a domestic bonus, American defender Chris Richards played the final 17 minutes and completed 95 percent of his passes while making an interception.
As for the record, Bayern will have to work for it. The Bavarians need to beat Sevilla in Thursday’s UEFA Super Cup before visiting a decent Hoffenheim side.
If they win both, Bayern will have a chance to set a Guinness Book record by beating… Borussia Dortmund in the German Super Cup on Sept. 30.
Now let’s talk about Schalke. While sold midfielder Weston McKennie was starring for Juventus, the remaining players had little to like about their day.
A team that failed to win its final 16 league matches of the 2019-20 season, losing 10, was again oh-so-poor.
If manager David Wagner wanted to get some heat off his back after holding onto his position, this wouldn’t have helped things.
— Tyler Adams went the distance at midfield in RB Leipzig’s 3-1 win over Mainz. He was typically tidy at 78-of-82 passing including a perfect 4-for-4 on long balls. Adams had four tackles and won 4-of-9 duels.
— Werder Bremen’s Josh Sargent was deployed as more of a left-sided attacking midfielder in a lopsided loss to Hertha, making one key pass and putting a matching shot on target in an uneven performance.
— John Brooks helped Wolfsburg keep a clean sheet and posted three clearances, three interceptions, and a tackle at center back. He wasn’t as clean passing as usual, but connected on 7-of-13 long balls.
— There were just a few minutes for 88th-minute Eintracht Frankfurt sub Timothy Chandler. He won his only duel and completed his only dribble in the waning moments of a 1-1 draw with Arminia Bielefeld.
— Reyna scored his first Bundesliga goal and won a penalty in 78 strong minutes that featured a perfect 29-for-29 in passes.
— Bayern’s Richards, 20, went 17 minutes and completed 19-of-20 passes while making an interception.
— Stuttgart manager Pellegrino Matarazzo, a New Jersey-born Columbia University product, saw his promoted side lose at home to Freiburg.
— U.S. eligible Norwegian youth international Julian Ryerson was an unused sub for Union Berlin.
Player of the Week
Serge Gnabry was absolutely marvelous. Even considering the lack of, well, everything from Schalke, Bayern’s hat trick man had as many key passes as goals.
Gnabry hit 30-of-35 passes in doing all of his damage on 57 touches over 72 minutes.
The German made three tackles and two interceptions to edge opposite wing Leroy Sane’s 1-goal, 2-assist, 5-key pass day and the hat trick produced by Hoffenheim’s Andrei Kramaric in giving his team three leads and the win.
All three of Koen Casteels’ saves in Wolfsburg’s 0-0 draw with Bayer Leverkusen came inside the box, while Lacroix put together a gaudy stat line in front of him: 10 clearances, four interceptions, three tackles.
No one completed more dribbles than Matheus Cunha’s five. The Brazilian also scored as Hertha hung four on Werder Bremen.
Hertha Berlin v Eintracht Frankfurt — 2:30 pm ET Sept. 25
Bayer Leverkusen v RB Leipzig — 9:30 am ET Sept. 26
Augsburg v Borussia Dortmund — 9:30 am ET Sept. 26
Borussia Monchengladbach v Union Berlin — 9:30 am ET Sept. 26
Arminia v Koln — 9:30 am ET Sept. 26
Mainz v Stuttgart — 9:30 am ET Sept. 26
Schalke v Werder Bremen — 12:30 pm ET Sept. 26
Hoffenheim v Bayern Munich — 9:30 am ET Sept. 27
Freiburg v Wolfsburg — Noon ET Sept. 27
1. No slow start for this Manchester side: Pep Guardiola’s men may be the final Premier League team to start its season but the blue side of Manchester was firing on all cylinders from Moment No. 1 against a pretty darn good Wolves side. The second half showed a team a bit weary in a first serious match since August, but the start sent a message to the rest of the league that City won’t be going away.
2. Patricio keeps it a ball game: Wolves’ veteran backstop made four of his five saves from inside the box, including a nice recovery to thwart an early De Bruyne free kick and a great stop on Jesus in stoppage time (before the Brazilian found his goal off the ensuing corner).
3. Ake debuts, Stones gets chance: Fernandinho was back in the midfield and Aymeric Laporte is returning to fitness after a positive COVID-19 test, which left City new boy Nathan Ake and out-of-favor John Stones at the heart of Pep Guardiola’s back four.
Ake was perhaps a bit too aggressive at times while Stones saw a couple of lapses go unpunished and would’ve wanted to be closer to Jimenez on Wolves’ goal. Stones was also more ambitious in passing, with Ake playing it safe. The pair went a combined 7-for-8 in duels.
Man of the Match
Kevin De Bruyne — The reigning Premier League Player of the Year might’ve been nutmegged by Podence on Wolves’ goal, but otherwise did nothing to suggest he won’t contend for this year’s honor. The Belgian won and converted the opening penalty before getting the hockey assist with the most important pass of Phil Foden’s goal. His pressure then saw the ball hit him last before Jesus stroked home to finish the scoring.
Wolves – Man City recap
An early injury to Marcal forced Espirito Santo into an eighth-minute sub with Ruben Vinaigre replacing the Brazilian.
City was in control and De Bruyne spun a free kick that Rui Patricio saved well.
Romain Saiss, so good in the opening week win over Sheffield United, chopped down Kevin De Bruyne in the box and the Belgian smashed his spot kick home in the 20th minute.
Sterling forced a good save out of Patricio with a rip just before the half-hour mark.
He’d get an assist moments later, running onto a De Bruyne through ball and squaring to the heart of the box for Foden to slot over the line.
Wolves did nothing with a dangerous free kick and Patricio was soon called upon again as Gabriel Jesus flicked De Bruyne into the box.
Wolves were a little better after the break but sloppiness with the ball gave City chances nonetheless.
Patricio stopped Jesus on a 53rd-minute left-footed effort.
Daniel Podence whipped a shot off the outside of the goal in the 54th, and Ruben Neves rolled a shot that City cleared off the line.
Podence got by John Stones and chipped Ederson but the effort drifted just over the bar. And Raul Jimenez just missed turning an Adama Traore cross inside the far post at the hour mark.
The drama was ratcheted up when Podence nutmegged De Bruyne and sent a perfect cross between Benjamin Mendy and John Stones for Jimenez to head inside the far post for 2-1 with a dozen minutes left in the match.
Patricio stopped Jesus in stoppage time to keep the game 2-1 but the ensuing corner kick more or less ended the affair.