A condensed version of the Champions League group stage lastly will get below manner on Tuesday, with COVID-19-related disruptions an ever-present risk hanging over the competitors.
The 32-team contest will begin one month later than normal, a knock-on impact of the pandemic interrupting final season for 3 months, though the group stage will end as normal in early December with six match-days squeezed right into a 50-day interval.
It kicks off with a heavyweight conflict between Paris St. Germain and Manchester United on Tuesday in Group H, bringing again recollections of the English facet’s comeback two seasons in the past when it gained on away objectives after shedding 2-0 at residence.
Barcelona hosts Hungarians Ferencvaros, again within the group stage after a 25-year absence, in one other Tuesday match, whereas Wednesday’s video games embody titleholder Bayern Munich v Atletico Madrid and Ajax v Liverpool.
UEFA settled on the brand new timeframe in early June when the pandemic appeared to be below management in Europe. But with the current surge in an infection numbers across the continent, it has begun to look more and more formidable.
Ronaldo to miss opener
Cristiano Ronaldo is among the many gamers who’ve examined optimistic not too long ago, and he’ll miss Juventus’ opening match away to Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday.
The Portuguese may be pressured to sit out the next week’s match at residence to Barcelona, when he’s due to face his outdated rival Lionel Messi for the primary time in over two years.
UEFA has drawn up an in depth well being protocol which, in precept, permits groups to play even when members of the squad check optimistic.
As lengthy as a staff has a minimal of 13 out there gamers together with one goalkeeper, matches can go forward.
Clubs may even be allowed to discipline gamers who weren’t initially registered for the competitors to make up the numbers.
However, UEFA recognises that nationwide authorities might intervene and order a complete staff into quarantine, as occurred in a European under-21 qualifier between Iceland and Italy.
UEFA’s guidelines say that groups might have to forfeit matches within the Champions League, notably in the event that they fail to inform it of restrictions imposed by native authorities on both themselves or the visiting staff.
However, UEFA says it might additionally reschedule matches in some circumstances and has set a deadline of Jan. 28 for them to be performed, giving golf equipment a possible seven-week extension to full their fixtures.