UEFA Champions League preview
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Winners of the competition 16 times between them, European giants Real Madrid and AC Milan meet in the headline clash on Matchday 3 of the UEFA Champions League.

With the group phase already approaching the halfway mark, several sides could all but seal their place in the knockout rounds with victory this week.

Match of the day
Real Madrid-AC Milan, Group C, Santiago Bernabeu, 20:45

Some 51 years after their first meeting, a 3-2 extra-time win for Los Merengues in the 1958 final, the two most successful sides in the competition face off in the latest chapter of an enduring rivalry. The Spaniards have hosted Milan five times at the Bernabeu, winning four and drawing four of those games.

Although Cristiano Ronaldo will not be around to torment the Rossoneri defence, Real have plenty of attacking firepower, as a haul of eight goals in their first two outings shows. In contrast the Italians, who have struggled to compensate for Kaka's switch to Madrid, have scored only twice so far, both those goals coming from the ageless Filippo Inzaghi on Matchday 1.

Milan coach Leonardo has much to ponder as he attempts to fill the void left by the departure of Carlo Ancelotti and the retirement of Paolo Maldini, not least the injury suffered by American centre-half Oguchi Onyewu on international duty last week. The embattled Brazilian can at least take heart from Ronaldinho's encouraging performance in the 2-1 defeat of Roma at the weekend, the first time his compatriot has shone this season.

The other matches
Languishing in third place in Group A after collecting two draws and scoring just one goal in their first two games, Juventus need to pick up maximum points at home to Maccabi Haifa. The Italians will also be hoping for Bordeaux and Bayern Munich to cancel each other out in their meeting in France. Neither of the top two are in the best of form, with Laurent Blanc's side having lost their last two league games and Bayern continuing to blow hot and cold in the Bundesliga.

Premier League leaders and Group B frontrunners Manchester United travel to Russia to face a CSKA Moscow side rocked by the season-ending ankle injury suffered by Chilean midfielder Mark Gonzalez on international duty last week. Strangely, the English giants have never won in Russia, recording draws at Torpedo Moscow and Rotor Volgograd on their two previous visits. In the other game in the section German champions Wolfsburg will be out to build on their promising start at home to pointless Besiktas.

Unbeaten at home in the competition in 19 games, a record stretching back to 22 February 2006, Group D pacesetters Chelsea entertain Atletico Madrid, who lie bottom and have yet to score. Second-placed Porto play host to the well-organised APOEL Nicosia, who have also yet to score but conceded only once in the opening two matches.

Third plays first in Group E as Liverpool receive a visit from Lyon. The faltering Reds have slumped to four league defeats already this season and with the 2-0 reverse at Fiorentina still fresh in the memory they need to bounce back fast. With the Italians eyeing three points on their visit to bottom-placed Debrecen, anything less than a win against the Frenchmen could prove costly for Rafael Benitez's side.

Despite reigning supreme in Serie A, Inter Milan have gone seven games without a win in the Champions League, a poor return for a side that has specifically set its sights on European success. And there is no guarantee that Group F rivals Dynamo Kiev, Tuesday's visitors to the San Siro, will allow Jose Mourinho's men to end that barren run. In the other game Barcelona will put Rubin Kazan to the test at the Camp Nou, where the Russian title holders will have to make do without injured striker Aleksandr Bukharov.

Sevilla, who lead Group G with maximum points, travel to Stuttgart without the injured trio of Renato, Andres Palop and Abdoulaye Konko. Having struck six goals so far, a tally bettered only by Real Madrid, the Spaniards should still pack plenty of punch however. Rangers, who were trounced 4-1 at Ibrox Park by Sevilla in their last game, have the chance to atone for that performance at home to Romanian new boys Unirea Urziceni.

Finally in Group H Arsenal will aim to make it three wins out of three when they travel to the Netherlands to take on AZ Alkmaar.

Player to watch
The 20-year-old Thomas Muller has been the revelation of the season so far at Bayern Munich. His two goals on matchday 1 against Maccabi Haifa quickly led comparisons with his celebrated namesake Gerd. "Even when he plays badly he scores," said Der Bomber approvingly.

The stat
Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea have all won their opening two games in the Champions League. The Gunners and the Reds are used to making fast starts in the competition, having won their first three group games on four separate occasions in all, the only two sides to have done so.

What they said
"I've got a tear in my left meniscus but I need to keep going until December and the match against Inter." Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon

Have your say
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