The third matchday of the 2023/24 Champions league starts tomorrow, October 24th. The first two matchdays gave us multiple surprises and a whole lot of goals, in classic Champions League fashion. This time around, we have even more interesting matches to discuss about, with underdogs threatening and teams needing to rebound, so let’s dive straight in! 

GROUP A: Galatasaray – Bayern Munich, Tuesday, 18:45 CET, Rams Global Stadium, Istanbul 

Look away United fans – this is perhaps an unexpected matchup to be featured in this predictor piece, but recent result in the competition have made it so that these two sides are currently vying for top spot in Group A. Galatasaray has 4 points in two games so far, while Bayern has won two close games against United and Copenhagen. The Bavarian side will most likely be assured of qualification with a win today, as then they’d only need to avoid defeat in the home games against Copenhagen and Galatasaray. However, the Turkish side will be up for this game, especially since they are the home team, playing in front of one of the best atmospheres in Europe. While Bayern remain undefeated so far this season, they are prone to conceding a goal or two, as Tuchel has not yet perfected that particular trait of his team: the Bavarians have conceded 4 goals in their first two CL matches. Galatasaray could take advantage of such a weakness, considering their quality upfront with the likes of Icardi, Mertens, Zaha and more, especially since they scored 5 in their opening two games – 3 of them at Old Trafford. This is the underrated tie of the matchday, but we’ll give Bayern the slight edge, with “Both Teams to Score” also a good idea and, if you want to take somewhat of a risk, the 1X on Galatasaray at 2.60 is a great opportunity. 

What to look out for: Bayern come into this game with the likely absences of defensive favorite Upamecano, as well as Leon Goretzka and, most importantly, Serge Gnabry, meaning we might see more space for starboy Mathys Tel, who has been getting in on the goals for the Bavarians this season. 

Galatasaray to Win – 6.33 

Draw – 5.00 

Bayern to Win – 1.47 

GROUP B: Sevilla – Arsenal, Tuesday, 21:00 CET, Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan, Sevilla 

The Gunners head to Andalucia to face the reigning Europa League winners on Tuesday evening, in what is a crucial matchup for the determination of the outcome of this group. The Gunners are coming off perhaps a surprising draw against Chelsea, which in fairness is a good result seeing how things were shaping up at Stamford Bridge, while Sevilla managed to take a point away from their clash with Real Madrid over the weekend, with their performance in that match being more certainly more convincing than Arsenal’s. However, Sevilla have started their season the way they end the last one, in slow burning fashion, as they have only managed two wins in the 11 games in all competitions they’ve played so far – which resulted in former manager Jose Mendilibar being sacked before the international break. The Gunners will look to bounce back after their loss to Lens in the previous matchday, but Sevilla also need to get some points on the board, having drawn their first two encounters in this group. Arsenal may have the slight edge in this one, but the new manager – bounce is well and truly underway for the Andalusians. A draw may satisfy both sides in the end, so playing X (3.75) may not be a terrible shout if you want to take somewhat of a risk. 

What to look out for: Both sides will have almost their full squads available for this match, as only Mariano Dias for Sevilla and Jurrien Timber are officially out through injury. The midfield battle will be crucial in this game: Rice and Rakitic could be the keys in this clash. 

Sevilla to Win – 4.00 

Draw – 3.75 

Arsenal to Win – 1.88 

GROUP F: Newcastle United – Borussia Dortmund, Wednesday, 21:00 CET, St James Park, Newcastle 

Ah yes, the group of death back with two more fantastic matches this week. The Geordies are hosting Dortmund at St James’ on Wednesday evening. Dortmund sits in joint 3 alongside Bayern in the Bundesliga, having scratched out a 1-0 in at home against relegation threatened Bremen on Friday. Newcastle, on the other hand comfortably beat Crystal palace at home 4-0, in what was their first outing since the Tonali betting scandal was exposed to the public. The question now remains about how long the Italian midfielder will be banned for and how this will impact Newcastle’s midfield and team, considering Tonali has played essentially in every game for the Magpies so far. Dortmund is in dire need of points in the group, having collected only 1 in their first two encounters, and failing to score a single goal. However, considering Newcastle’s thrashing of PSG last time around, this will be a mighty hill to climb for the German side, who were outplayed by Milan at home in early October, and were lucky to escape with a 0-0 result. This game promises chances, but both sides have been diligent defensively, and have conceded less than a goal a game in their respective leagues. Consider playing an Under 2.5: my gut feeling tells me this could be a 2-0 win for Newcastle (a very risky 8.50), but Dortmund will have to score eventually: will they be able to, considering Newcastle’s defensive defections? 

What to look out for: Botman is doubtful for Newcastle: The Dutchman is the Geordies’ defensive stalwart, and Newcastle’s chances of conceding are lowered considerably if he is fit enough to play. On Dortmund’s side, the return of Marcel Sabitzer will give their midfield another option to choose from. 

Newcastle to Win – 1.75 

Draw – 4.00 

Borussia to Win – 4.50 

GROUP F: PSG – AC Milan, Wednesday 21:00 CET, Parc des Princes, Paris 

The other game in the group of death features two of footballs’ most exciting wingers, Mbappe and Rafael Leao, against each other. AC Milan are coming off a painful 0-1 home loss against direct rivals Juventus, tinged by a bit of bad luck for the Rossoneri, while PSG breezed past Strasbourg on Saturday. The Serie A outfit, however, should be able to field Maignan, Theo Hernandez and Loftus Cheek from the start, a luxury they did not have against Juve. The Rossoneri’s right flank will be tested to max when Mbappe will take on Calabria, who will likely have a torrid time trying to contain the Parisians’ star man. These teams sit in second and third respectively in the group, with PSG losing at St James’ after beating Dortmund at home in the forst round. Interestingly, both of Milan’s games so far have ended in 0-0 draws, with the Rossoneri outplaying their opponents in both, but not being able to capitalize on their chances. This will likely be a different game, as PSG will control the ball for the most part, and Milan will have to try and capitalize their chances on the break with the likes of Leao, Pulisic and Hernandez. PSG are favored in this one, especially after the weekend’s results, but the returns of key players to Milan’s starting XI could level things out a little bit. Over 2.5 is a good call, as well as Mbappe anytime goal scorer, since PSG’s main man has been on fire in recent weeks. If you feel like taking a bit of a risk, play the X2 double chance at 1.96. 

What to look out for: Curiously, this is the first time Donnarumma will play against his boyhood club. Both teams will have some vital players unavailable: PSG won’t be able to count on Asensio, Mendes, Kimpembe and Zaire-Emery, who was receiving a good amount of game time regardless of his 17 years of age. Milan will be without Bennacer and Chukwueze, while Loftus Cheek remains slightly doubtful. 

PSG to Win – 1.81 

Draw – 3.80 

AC Milan to Win – 4.33