UCL preview: Man City seek bounce-back; United host Valencia

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Matchday no. 2 of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League group stage is upon us, and Tuesday is a massively important day for a pair of Premier League sides — for very different reasons.

[ MORE: Mourinho continues to spread blame at Man United ]

On one side of Manchester, there’s Man City, who suffered a shocking home defeat to Lyon in their Group F opener two weeks ago. Up next is a potentially tricky away clash with Hoffenheim. Julian Nagelsmann’s side began UCL play with a 2-2 draw away to Shakhtar Donetsk — they blew a pair of one-goal leads in doing so — and sit seventh in the Bundesliga following a 2-1 defeat to RB Leipzig this weekend.

Sergio Aguero left City’s 2-0 victory Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, but the forward has been labeled fit for selection. Kevin De Bruyne is back in training following a knee injury suffered in August, but the Belgian playmaker won’t be available on Tuesday. The hope is that he could return for Sunday’s titanic title clash with Liverpool (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) at Anfield.

[ MORE: Man United staff thinks Mourinho will be fired soon ]

On the other side of Manchester, there’s Man United — more specifically, there’s Jose Mourinho and his ongoing feud with, seemingly, anyone and everyone currently at the club. From telling Paul Pogba he’ll never captain United again, to their awkward interaction on the training field, to Monday’s claims that “some [players] care more than others,” let’s just say it’s been a tumultuous year start to the season month week for the Portuguese manager.

After kicking off Group H play with a 3-0 victory away to BSC Young Boys, the Champions League is the one competition in which United are currently excelling — the Red Devils were knocked out of the EFL Cup by Championship side Derby County a week ago, and currently sit 10th in the PL table after enduring the club’s worst start to a season in 29 years. Valencia, who suffered a 2-0 home defeat by Juventus two weeks ago, are set to visit Old Trafford.

Elsewhere in Europe, three-time defending champions Real Madrid will make the 2,500-mile trip east to Moscow, where they’ll seek to get back on track and make it two wins from two games in UCL play. Bayern Munich will host Ajax at the Allianz Arena in a battle of Group E’s two teams currently on three points.

Tuesday’s UCL schedule (all games at 3 p.m. ET unless noted)

Hoffenheim vs. Manchester City — 12:55 p.m. ET
Juventus vs. BSC Young Boys — 12:55 p.m. ET
Manchester Untied vs. Valencia
Bayern Munich vs. Ajax
CSKA Moscow vs. Real Madrid
Roma vs. Viktoria Plzen
Lyon vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
AEK Athens vs. Benfica