Blog

Will Adeyemi return to haunt Bayern?

Adeyemi’s return, Madrid’s birthday bash and fortress Anfield all catch Simon Hart’s eye in his UCL matchweek blog

Player to watch: Karim Adeyemi (Salzburg)

Bayern München have been to the quarter-finals or beyond in nine of the last ten Champions League campaigns. They have won all five previous home matches against Austrian opposition. They will start as strong favourites when their round of 16 tie against Salzburg resumes in Munich on Tuesday night with the sides level at 1-1. Yet all that said, the sight of one of their own in the colours of the away team may just give the home supporters cause to temper their optimism.

After all, if Salzburg’s young German international forward, Karim Adeyemi, can rise to the occasion on his return to his home city, then perhaps a shock is not out of the question. The 20-year-old will surely relish the prospect. As he told Champions Journal in an interview in Issue 10, Adeyemi spent two years playing for Bayern schoolboy sides and used to dream of emulating Arjen Robben. “I was a huge Bayern fan when I played for Bayern in the U9s and U10s,” he said. “I was a big fan of Arjen Robben and I think he was one of the best players at Bayern with his left foot and finishing skills, as well as his one-on-one abilities.”

By his own admission, Adeyemi was less than a model pupil in those days, yet he has done plenty of growing-up since and his own one-on-one abilities drew the Champions League spotlight on his first start in the competition. Eight days after his goalscoring debut for Germany’s national team, Adeyemi won three penalties singlehandedly in the first half of Salzburg’s opening game of the group stage in Seville on 14 September.

On that night, his startling pace left the Spanish side’s experienced defenders responding like rabbits-in-the-headlights. Although he missed a spot-kick in that 1-1 draw at Sevilla, he made amends with two successful conversions in his next match against LOSC Lille, having won another of those penalties himself.

As it happens Adeyemi actually made his Champions League debut in Munich as a 71st-minute substitute in a 3-1 group-stage defeat in November 2020. On Tuesday Bayern followers will get a better glimpse of the youngster who began playing football for TSV Forstenried in his home district before spending two years with Bayern from 2009. After leaving, he played his junior football for Unterhaching, just south of Munich, before joining Salzburg, two hours from his home city, as a 16-year-old.

So far this season, Adeyemi has three goals and two assists in the Champions League. His 15th league goal of the campaign, meanwhile, arrived in the 4-0 home win against Altach on Saturday. It was his first goal of 2022 and leaves him with 19 in all competitions for Salzburg this season. There would be no better place than back at Bayern to reach the 20-mark.

Can Vini Jr help Madrid turn the tables on Paris?

Talking point: A Bernabéu birthday comeback?

The front page of Spanish sports daily Marca on Monday features five of Real Madrid’s younger players – Eduardo Camavinga, Rodrygo, Vini Jr, Éder Militão and Fede Valverde – and the headline: “Dreaming of their first big night.” Inside, the paper ponders whether this crop are ready to engineer a memorable comeback in the second leg of their tie against Paris Saint-Germain, following their last-gasp loss at the Parc des Princes last month.

You have to go back to the 2015/16 quarter-finals for the last time Madrid trailed in a Champions League tie ahead of the second leg at the Santiago Bernabéu; then the deficit was 2-0 against Wolfsburg and they responded with a 3-0 triumph (all three goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo). There have been many other such nights in the history of a club who celebrated their 120th birthday last weekend – not least a famous 5-1 win against English champions Derby County in 1975 after a 4-1 first-leg loss at the Baseball Ground.

When it comes to attempts to retrieve a 1-0 deficit, though, the Merengues’ record is mixed with six wins and six defeats in all UEFA club competitions across the years, most recently, a 2-1 aggregate loss to Lyon at this stage in 2010. The return of Lionel Messi – whose two goals for Barcelona inflicted a 2-0 semi-final defeat for Madrid at the Bernabéu in 2011 – is another cause for concern, even if his penalty miss in the first leg made it eight goalless games against the club he has faced more than any other.

The here and now offers hope for Carlo Ancelotti’s men. While Paris were losing at Nice at the weekend, Madridistas saw their side’s third straight win since the first leg, a streak which has left them eight points clear at the Liga summit. Defensively they are functioning well: in their last six games they have conceded only twice – one a penalty, the other that piece of Kylian Mbappé first-leg magic. Up front, meanwhile, Karim Benzema – just back from injury for the first leg – should be sharper with three Liga outings (and goals) under his belt since. Moreover, in Vini Jr they have a forward with as many key passes as anyone in the Champions League this season – and whose total of take-ons (40) is one more than Mbappé has attempted. That big night might yet happen. 

Lionel Messi feels the heat of an Anfield night

The number: 34

Liverpool have won all 34 UEFA competition ties in which they won the away first leg, highlighting the Herculean task Italian champions Inter face at Anfield as they look to overturn their 2-0 first-leg loss.

Bernardo Silva and City were too much for Sporting in Lisbon

And finally: Sporting visit a different city

Sporting’s visit to Manchester City on Wednesday falls six days before the 10th anniversary of their only previous visit to the home of the English champions. When they were last there, on 15 March 2012, Sporting were defending a 1-0 first-leg lead in a Europa League round of 16 tie. They scored two first-half goals through Matías Fernández and Ricky van Wolfswinkel to build a 3-0 aggregate lead. City hit back in the second half through Sergio Agüero (2) and Mario Balotelli's penalty but it was not enough as Roberto Mancini’s side missed out on goal difference.

At that point City were a club still seeking a first league title since 1968. Agüero would end the wait two months later and a decade on, with another four Premier League crowns to their name, they are a fearsome prospect. Sporting, beaten 5-0 in Lisbon in the first leg, will be playing for pride – and looking to avoid a repeat of their 12-1 aggregate loss to Bayern in 2008/09, which remains a record for the knockout stage and began with an identical home beating.

Player to watch: Karim Adeyemi (Salzburg)

Bayern München have been to the quarter-finals or beyond in nine of the last ten Champions League campaigns. They have won all five previous home matches against Austrian opposition. They will start as strong favourites when their round of 16 tie against Salzburg resumes in Munich on Tuesday night with the sides level at 1-1. Yet all that said, the sight of one of their own in the colours of the away team may just give the home supporters cause to temper their optimism.

After all, if Salzburg’s young German international forward, Karim Adeyemi, can rise to the occasion on his return to his home city, then perhaps a shock is not out of the question. The 20-year-old will surely relish the prospect. As he told Champions Journal in an interview in Issue 10, Adeyemi spent two years playing for Bayern schoolboy sides and used to dream of emulating Arjen Robben. “I was a huge Bayern fan when I played for Bayern in the U9s and U10s,” he said. “I was a big fan of Arjen Robben and I think he was one of the best players at Bayern with his left foot and finishing skills, as well as his one-on-one abilities.”

By his own admission, Adeyemi was less than a model pupil in those days, yet he has done plenty of growing-up since and his own one-on-one abilities drew the Champions League spotlight on his first start in the competition. Eight days after his goalscoring debut for Germany’s national team, Adeyemi won three penalties singlehandedly in the first half of Salzburg’s opening game of the group stage in Seville on 14 September.

On that night, his startling pace left the Spanish side’s experienced defenders responding like rabbits-in-the-headlights. Although he missed a spot-kick in that 1-1 draw at Sevilla, he made amends with two successful conversions in his next match against LOSC Lille, having won another of those penalties himself.

As it happens Adeyemi actually made his Champions League debut in Munich as a 71st-minute substitute in a 3-1 group-stage defeat in November 2020. On Tuesday Bayern followers will get a better glimpse of the youngster who began playing football for TSV Forstenried in his home district before spending two years with Bayern from 2009. After leaving, he played his junior football for Unterhaching, just south of Munich, before joining Salzburg, two hours from his home city, as a 16-year-old.

So far this season, Adeyemi has three goals and two assists in the Champions League. His 15th league goal of the campaign, meanwhile, arrived in the 4-0 home win against Altach on Saturday. It was his first goal of 2022 and leaves him with 19 in all competitions for Salzburg this season. There would be no better place than back at Bayern to reach the 20-mark.

Can Vini Jr help Madrid turn the tables on Paris?

Talking point: A Bernabéu birthday comeback?

The front page of Spanish sports daily Marca on Monday features five of Real Madrid’s younger players – Eduardo Camavinga, Rodrygo, Vini Jr, Éder Militão and Fede Valverde – and the headline: “Dreaming of their first big night.” Inside, the paper ponders whether this crop are ready to engineer a memorable comeback in the second leg of their tie against Paris Saint-Germain, following their last-gasp loss at the Parc des Princes last month.

You have to go back to the 2015/16 quarter-finals for the last time Madrid trailed in a Champions League tie ahead of the second leg at the Santiago Bernabéu; then the deficit was 2-0 against Wolfsburg and they responded with a 3-0 triumph (all three goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo). There have been many other such nights in the history of a club who celebrated their 120th birthday last weekend – not least a famous 5-1 win against English champions Derby County in 1975 after a 4-1 first-leg loss at the Baseball Ground.

When it comes to attempts to retrieve a 1-0 deficit, though, the Merengues’ record is mixed with six wins and six defeats in all UEFA club competitions across the years, most recently, a 2-1 aggregate loss to Lyon at this stage in 2010. The return of Lionel Messi – whose two goals for Barcelona inflicted a 2-0 semi-final defeat for Madrid at the Bernabéu in 2011 – is another cause for concern, even if his penalty miss in the first leg made it eight goalless games against the club he has faced more than any other.

The here and now offers hope for Carlo Ancelotti’s men. While Paris were losing at Nice at the weekend, Madridistas saw their side’s third straight win since the first leg, a streak which has left them eight points clear at the Liga summit. Defensively they are functioning well: in their last six games they have conceded only twice – one a penalty, the other that piece of Kylian Mbappé first-leg magic. Up front, meanwhile, Karim Benzema – just back from injury for the first leg – should be sharper with three Liga outings (and goals) under his belt since. Moreover, in Vini Jr they have a forward with as many key passes as anyone in the Champions League this season – and whose total of take-ons (40) is one more than Mbappé has attempted. That big night might yet happen. 

Lionel Messi feels the heat of an Anfield night

The number: 34

Liverpool have won all 34 UEFA competition ties in which they won the away first leg, highlighting the Herculean task Italian champions Inter face at Anfield as they look to overturn their 2-0 first-leg loss.

Bernardo Silva and City were too much for Sporting in Lisbon

And finally: Sporting visit a different city

Sporting’s visit to Manchester City on Wednesday falls six days before the 10th anniversary of their only previous visit to the home of the English champions. When they were last there, on 15 March 2012, Sporting were defending a 1-0 first-leg lead in a Europa League round of 16 tie. They scored two first-half goals through Matías Fernández and Ricky van Wolfswinkel to build a 3-0 aggregate lead. City hit back in the second half through Sergio Agüero (2) and Mario Balotelli's penalty but it was not enough as Roberto Mancini’s side missed out on goal difference.

At that point City were a club still seeking a first league title since 1968. Agüero would end the wait two months later and a decade on, with another four Premier League crowns to their name, they are a fearsome prospect. Sporting, beaten 5-0 in Lisbon in the first leg, will be playing for pride – and looking to avoid a repeat of their 12-1 aggregate loss to Bayern in 2008/09, which remains a record for the knockout stage and began with an identical home beating.

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Player to watch: Karim Adeyemi (Salzburg)

Bayern München have been to the quarter-finals or beyond in nine of the last ten Champions League campaigns. They have won all five previous home matches against Austrian opposition. They will start as strong favourites when their round of 16 tie against Salzburg resumes in Munich on Tuesday night with the sides level at 1-1. Yet all that said, the sight of one of their own in the colours of the away team may just give the home supporters cause to temper their optimism.

After all, if Salzburg’s young German international forward, Karim Adeyemi, can rise to the occasion on his return to his home city, then perhaps a shock is not out of the question. The 20-year-old will surely relish the prospect. As he told Champions Journal in an interview in Issue 10, Adeyemi spent two years playing for Bayern schoolboy sides and used to dream of emulating Arjen Robben. “I was a huge Bayern fan when I played for Bayern in the U9s and U10s,” he said. “I was a big fan of Arjen Robben and I think he was one of the best players at Bayern with his left foot and finishing skills, as well as his one-on-one abilities.”

By his own admission, Adeyemi was less than a model pupil in those days, yet he has done plenty of growing-up since and his own one-on-one abilities drew the Champions League spotlight on his first start in the competition. Eight days after his goalscoring debut for Germany’s national team, Adeyemi won three penalties singlehandedly in the first half of Salzburg’s opening game of the group stage in Seville on 14 September.

On that night, his startling pace left the Spanish side’s experienced defenders responding like rabbits-in-the-headlights. Although he missed a spot-kick in that 1-1 draw at Sevilla, he made amends with two successful conversions in his next match against LOSC Lille, having won another of those penalties himself.

As it happens Adeyemi actually made his Champions League debut in Munich as a 71st-minute substitute in a 3-1 group-stage defeat in November 2020. On Tuesday Bayern followers will get a better glimpse of the youngster who began playing football for TSV Forstenried in his home district before spending two years with Bayern from 2009. After leaving, he played his junior football for Unterhaching, just south of Munich, before joining Salzburg, two hours from his home city, as a 16-year-old.

So far this season, Adeyemi has three goals and two assists in the Champions League. His 15th league goal of the campaign, meanwhile, arrived in the 4-0 home win against Altach on Saturday. It was his first goal of 2022 and leaves him with 19 in all competitions for Salzburg this season. There would be no better place than back at Bayern to reach the 20-mark.

Can Vini Jr help Madrid turn the tables on Paris?

Talking point: A Bernabéu birthday comeback?

The front page of Spanish sports daily Marca on Monday features five of Real Madrid’s younger players – Eduardo Camavinga, Rodrygo, Vini Jr, Éder Militão and Fede Valverde – and the headline: “Dreaming of their first big night.” Inside, the paper ponders whether this crop are ready to engineer a memorable comeback in the second leg of their tie against Paris Saint-Germain, following their last-gasp loss at the Parc des Princes last month.

You have to go back to the 2015/16 quarter-finals for the last time Madrid trailed in a Champions League tie ahead of the second leg at the Santiago Bernabéu; then the deficit was 2-0 against Wolfsburg and they responded with a 3-0 triumph (all three goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo). There have been many other such nights in the history of a club who celebrated their 120th birthday last weekend – not least a famous 5-1 win against English champions Derby County in 1975 after a 4-1 first-leg loss at the Baseball Ground.

When it comes to attempts to retrieve a 1-0 deficit, though, the Merengues’ record is mixed with six wins and six defeats in all UEFA club competitions across the years, most recently, a 2-1 aggregate loss to Lyon at this stage in 2010. The return of Lionel Messi – whose two goals for Barcelona inflicted a 2-0 semi-final defeat for Madrid at the Bernabéu in 2011 – is another cause for concern, even if his penalty miss in the first leg made it eight goalless games against the club he has faced more than any other.

The here and now offers hope for Carlo Ancelotti’s men. While Paris were losing at Nice at the weekend, Madridistas saw their side’s third straight win since the first leg, a streak which has left them eight points clear at the Liga summit. Defensively they are functioning well: in their last six games they have conceded only twice – one a penalty, the other that piece of Kylian Mbappé first-leg magic. Up front, meanwhile, Karim Benzema – just back from injury for the first leg – should be sharper with three Liga outings (and goals) under his belt since. Moreover, in Vini Jr they have a forward with as many key passes as anyone in the Champions League this season – and whose total of take-ons (40) is one more than Mbappé has attempted. That big night might yet happen. 

Lionel Messi feels the heat of an Anfield night

The number: 34

Liverpool have won all 34 UEFA competition ties in which they won the away first leg, highlighting the Herculean task Italian champions Inter face at Anfield as they look to overturn their 2-0 first-leg loss.

Bernardo Silva and City were too much for Sporting in Lisbon

And finally: Sporting visit a different city

Sporting’s visit to Manchester City on Wednesday falls six days before the 10th anniversary of their only previous visit to the home of the English champions. When they were last there, on 15 March 2012, Sporting were defending a 1-0 first-leg lead in a Europa League round of 16 tie. They scored two first-half goals through Matías Fernández and Ricky van Wolfswinkel to build a 3-0 aggregate lead. City hit back in the second half through Sergio Agüero (2) and Mario Balotelli's penalty but it was not enough as Roberto Mancini’s side missed out on goal difference.

At that point City were a club still seeking a first league title since 1968. Agüero would end the wait two months later and a decade on, with another four Premier League crowns to their name, they are a fearsome prospect. Sporting, beaten 5-0 in Lisbon in the first leg, will be playing for pride – and looking to avoid a repeat of their 12-1 aggregate loss to Bayern in 2008/09, which remains a record for the knockout stage and began with an identical home beating.

Will Adeyemi return to haunt Bayern?
Blog

Will Adeyemi return to haunt Bayern?

Adeyemi’s return, Madrid’s birthday bash and fortress Anfield all catch Simon Hart’s eye in his UCL matchweek blog

Player to watch: Karim Adeyemi (Salzburg)

Bayern München have been to the quarter-finals or beyond in nine of the last ten Champions League campaigns. They have won all five previous home matches against Austrian opposition. They will start as strong favourites when their round of 16 tie against Salzburg resumes in Munich on Tuesday night with the sides level at 1-1. Yet all that said, the sight of one of their own in the colours of the away team may just give the home supporters cause to temper their optimism.

After all, if Salzburg’s young German international forward, Karim Adeyemi, can rise to the occasion on his return to his home city, then perhaps a shock is not out of the question. The 20-year-old will surely relish the prospect. As he told Champions Journal in an interview in Issue 10, Adeyemi spent two years playing for Bayern schoolboy sides and used to dream of emulating Arjen Robben. “I was a huge Bayern fan when I played for Bayern in the U9s and U10s,” he said. “I was a big fan of Arjen Robben and I think he was one of the best players at Bayern with his left foot and finishing skills, as well as his one-on-one abilities.”

By his own admission, Adeyemi was less than a model pupil in those days, yet he has done plenty of growing-up since and his own one-on-one abilities drew the Champions League spotlight on his first start in the competition. Eight days after his goalscoring debut for Germany’s national team, Adeyemi won three penalties singlehandedly in the first half of Salzburg’s opening game of the group stage in Seville on 14 September.

On that night, his startling pace left the Spanish side’s experienced defenders responding like rabbits-in-the-headlights. Although he missed a spot-kick in that 1-1 draw at Sevilla, he made amends with two successful conversions in his next match against LOSC Lille, having won another of those penalties himself.

As it happens Adeyemi actually made his Champions League debut in Munich as a 71st-minute substitute in a 3-1 group-stage defeat in November 2020. On Tuesday Bayern followers will get a better glimpse of the youngster who began playing football for TSV Forstenried in his home district before spending two years with Bayern from 2009. After leaving, he played his junior football for Unterhaching, just south of Munich, before joining Salzburg, two hours from his home city, as a 16-year-old.

So far this season, Adeyemi has three goals and two assists in the Champions League. His 15th league goal of the campaign, meanwhile, arrived in the 4-0 home win against Altach on Saturday. It was his first goal of 2022 and leaves him with 19 in all competitions for Salzburg this season. There would be no better place than back at Bayern to reach the 20-mark.

Can Vini Jr help Madrid turn the tables on Paris?

Talking point: A Bernabéu birthday comeback?

The front page of Spanish sports daily Marca on Monday features five of Real Madrid’s younger players – Eduardo Camavinga, Rodrygo, Vini Jr, Éder Militão and Fede Valverde – and the headline: “Dreaming of their first big night.” Inside, the paper ponders whether this crop are ready to engineer a memorable comeback in the second leg of their tie against Paris Saint-Germain, following their last-gasp loss at the Parc des Princes last month.

You have to go back to the 2015/16 quarter-finals for the last time Madrid trailed in a Champions League tie ahead of the second leg at the Santiago Bernabéu; then the deficit was 2-0 against Wolfsburg and they responded with a 3-0 triumph (all three goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo). There have been many other such nights in the history of a club who celebrated their 120th birthday last weekend – not least a famous 5-1 win against English champions Derby County in 1975 after a 4-1 first-leg loss at the Baseball Ground.

When it comes to attempts to retrieve a 1-0 deficit, though, the Merengues’ record is mixed with six wins and six defeats in all UEFA club competitions across the years, most recently, a 2-1 aggregate loss to Lyon at this stage in 2010. The return of Lionel Messi – whose two goals for Barcelona inflicted a 2-0 semi-final defeat for Madrid at the Bernabéu in 2011 – is another cause for concern, even if his penalty miss in the first leg made it eight goalless games against the club he has faced more than any other.

The here and now offers hope for Carlo Ancelotti’s men. While Paris were losing at Nice at the weekend, Madridistas saw their side’s third straight win since the first leg, a streak which has left them eight points clear at the Liga summit. Defensively they are functioning well: in their last six games they have conceded only twice – one a penalty, the other that piece of Kylian Mbappé first-leg magic. Up front, meanwhile, Karim Benzema – just back from injury for the first leg – should be sharper with three Liga outings (and goals) under his belt since. Moreover, in Vini Jr they have a forward with as many key passes as anyone in the Champions League this season – and whose total of take-ons (40) is one more than Mbappé has attempted. That big night might yet happen. 

Lionel Messi feels the heat of an Anfield night

The number: 34

Liverpool have won all 34 UEFA competition ties in which they won the away first leg, highlighting the Herculean task Italian champions Inter face at Anfield as they look to overturn their 2-0 first-leg loss.

Bernardo Silva and City were too much for Sporting in Lisbon

And finally: Sporting visit a different city

Sporting’s visit to Manchester City on Wednesday falls six days before the 10th anniversary of their only previous visit to the home of the English champions. When they were last there, on 15 March 2012, Sporting were defending a 1-0 first-leg lead in a Europa League round of 16 tie. They scored two first-half goals through Matías Fernández and Ricky van Wolfswinkel to build a 3-0 aggregate lead. City hit back in the second half through Sergio Agüero (2) and Mario Balotelli's penalty but it was not enough as Roberto Mancini’s side missed out on goal difference.

At that point City were a club still seeking a first league title since 1968. Agüero would end the wait two months later and a decade on, with another four Premier League crowns to their name, they are a fearsome prospect. Sporting, beaten 5-0 in Lisbon in the first leg, will be playing for pride – and looking to avoid a repeat of their 12-1 aggregate loss to Bayern in 2008/09, which remains a record for the knockout stage and began with an identical home beating.

Penalty Pedigree

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Player to watch: Karim Adeyemi (Salzburg)

Bayern München have been to the quarter-finals or beyond in nine of the last ten Champions League campaigns. They have won all five previous home matches against Austrian opposition. They will start as strong favourites when their round of 16 tie against Salzburg resumes in Munich on Tuesday night with the sides level at 1-1. Yet all that said, the sight of one of their own in the colours of the away team may just give the home supporters cause to temper their optimism.

After all, if Salzburg’s young German international forward, Karim Adeyemi, can rise to the occasion on his return to his home city, then perhaps a shock is not out of the question. The 20-year-old will surely relish the prospect. As he told Champions Journal in an interview in Issue 10, Adeyemi spent two years playing for Bayern schoolboy sides and used to dream of emulating Arjen Robben. “I was a huge Bayern fan when I played for Bayern in the U9s and U10s,” he said. “I was a big fan of Arjen Robben and I think he was one of the best players at Bayern with his left foot and finishing skills, as well as his one-on-one abilities.”

By his own admission, Adeyemi was less than a model pupil in those days, yet he has done plenty of growing-up since and his own one-on-one abilities drew the Champions League spotlight on his first start in the competition. Eight days after his goalscoring debut for Germany’s national team, Adeyemi won three penalties singlehandedly in the first half of Salzburg’s opening game of the group stage in Seville on 14 September.

On that night, his startling pace left the Spanish side’s experienced defenders responding like rabbits-in-the-headlights. Although he missed a spot-kick in that 1-1 draw at Sevilla, he made amends with two successful conversions in his next match against LOSC Lille, having won another of those penalties himself.

As it happens Adeyemi actually made his Champions League debut in Munich as a 71st-minute substitute in a 3-1 group-stage defeat in November 2020. On Tuesday Bayern followers will get a better glimpse of the youngster who began playing football for TSV Forstenried in his home district before spending two years with Bayern from 2009. After leaving, he played his junior football for Unterhaching, just south of Munich, before joining Salzburg, two hours from his home city, as a 16-year-old.

So far this season, Adeyemi has three goals and two assists in the Champions League. His 15th league goal of the campaign, meanwhile, arrived in the 4-0 home win against Altach on Saturday. It was his first goal of 2022 and leaves him with 19 in all competitions for Salzburg this season. There would be no better place than back at Bayern to reach the 20-mark.

Can Vini Jr help Madrid turn the tables on Paris?

Talking point: A Bernabéu birthday comeback?

The front page of Spanish sports daily Marca on Monday features five of Real Madrid’s younger players – Eduardo Camavinga, Rodrygo, Vini Jr, Éder Militão and Fede Valverde – and the headline: “Dreaming of their first big night.” Inside, the paper ponders whether this crop are ready to engineer a memorable comeback in the second leg of their tie against Paris Saint-Germain, following their last-gasp loss at the Parc des Princes last month.

You have to go back to the 2015/16 quarter-finals for the last time Madrid trailed in a Champions League tie ahead of the second leg at the Santiago Bernabéu; then the deficit was 2-0 against Wolfsburg and they responded with a 3-0 triumph (all three goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo). There have been many other such nights in the history of a club who celebrated their 120th birthday last weekend – not least a famous 5-1 win against English champions Derby County in 1975 after a 4-1 first-leg loss at the Baseball Ground.

When it comes to attempts to retrieve a 1-0 deficit, though, the Merengues’ record is mixed with six wins and six defeats in all UEFA club competitions across the years, most recently, a 2-1 aggregate loss to Lyon at this stage in 2010. The return of Lionel Messi – whose two goals for Barcelona inflicted a 2-0 semi-final defeat for Madrid at the Bernabéu in 2011 – is another cause for concern, even if his penalty miss in the first leg made it eight goalless games against the club he has faced more than any other.

The here and now offers hope for Carlo Ancelotti’s men. While Paris were losing at Nice at the weekend, Madridistas saw their side’s third straight win since the first leg, a streak which has left them eight points clear at the Liga summit. Defensively they are functioning well: in their last six games they have conceded only twice – one a penalty, the other that piece of Kylian Mbappé first-leg magic. Up front, meanwhile, Karim Benzema – just back from injury for the first leg – should be sharper with three Liga outings (and goals) under his belt since. Moreover, in Vini Jr they have a forward with as many key passes as anyone in the Champions League this season – and whose total of take-ons (40) is one more than Mbappé has attempted. That big night might yet happen. 

Lionel Messi feels the heat of an Anfield night

The number: 34

Liverpool have won all 34 UEFA competition ties in which they won the away first leg, highlighting the Herculean task Italian champions Inter face at Anfield as they look to overturn their 2-0 first-leg loss.

Bernardo Silva and City were too much for Sporting in Lisbon

And finally: Sporting visit a different city

Sporting’s visit to Manchester City on Wednesday falls six days before the 10th anniversary of their only previous visit to the home of the English champions. When they were last there, on 15 March 2012, Sporting were defending a 1-0 first-leg lead in a Europa League round of 16 tie. They scored two first-half goals through Matías Fernández and Ricky van Wolfswinkel to build a 3-0 aggregate lead. City hit back in the second half through Sergio Agüero (2) and Mario Balotelli's penalty but it was not enough as Roberto Mancini’s side missed out on goal difference.

At that point City were a club still seeking a first league title since 1968. Agüero would end the wait two months later and a decade on, with another four Premier League crowns to their name, they are a fearsome prospect. Sporting, beaten 5-0 in Lisbon in the first leg, will be playing for pride – and looking to avoid a repeat of their 12-1 aggregate loss to Bayern in 2008/09, which remains a record for the knockout stage and began with an identical home beating.

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Player to watch: Karim Adeyemi (Salzburg)

Bayern München have been to the quarter-finals or beyond in nine of the last ten Champions League campaigns. They have won all five previous home matches against Austrian opposition. They will start as strong favourites when their round of 16 tie against Salzburg resumes in Munich on Tuesday night with the sides level at 1-1. Yet all that said, the sight of one of their own in the colours of the away team may just give the home supporters cause to temper their optimism.

After all, if Salzburg’s young German international forward, Karim Adeyemi, can rise to the occasion on his return to his home city, then perhaps a shock is not out of the question. The 20-year-old will surely relish the prospect. As he told Champions Journal in an interview in Issue 10, Adeyemi spent two years playing for Bayern schoolboy sides and used to dream of emulating Arjen Robben. “I was a huge Bayern fan when I played for Bayern in the U9s and U10s,” he said. “I was a big fan of Arjen Robben and I think he was one of the best players at Bayern with his left foot and finishing skills, as well as his one-on-one abilities.”

By his own admission, Adeyemi was less than a model pupil in those days, yet he has done plenty of growing-up since and his own one-on-one abilities drew the Champions League spotlight on his first start in the competition. Eight days after his goalscoring debut for Germany’s national team, Adeyemi won three penalties singlehandedly in the first half of Salzburg’s opening game of the group stage in Seville on 14 September.

On that night, his startling pace left the Spanish side’s experienced defenders responding like rabbits-in-the-headlights. Although he missed a spot-kick in that 1-1 draw at Sevilla, he made amends with two successful conversions in his next match against LOSC Lille, having won another of those penalties himself.

As it happens Adeyemi actually made his Champions League debut in Munich as a 71st-minute substitute in a 3-1 group-stage defeat in November 2020. On Tuesday Bayern followers will get a better glimpse of the youngster who began playing football for TSV Forstenried in his home district before spending two years with Bayern from 2009. After leaving, he played his junior football for Unterhaching, just south of Munich, before joining Salzburg, two hours from his home city, as a 16-year-old.

So far this season, Adeyemi has three goals and two assists in the Champions League. His 15th league goal of the campaign, meanwhile, arrived in the 4-0 home win against Altach on Saturday. It was his first goal of 2022 and leaves him with 19 in all competitions for Salzburg this season. There would be no better place than back at Bayern to reach the 20-mark.

Can Vini Jr help Madrid turn the tables on Paris?

Talking point: A Bernabéu birthday comeback?

The front page of Spanish sports daily Marca on Monday features five of Real Madrid’s younger players – Eduardo Camavinga, Rodrygo, Vini Jr, Éder Militão and Fede Valverde – and the headline: “Dreaming of their first big night.” Inside, the paper ponders whether this crop are ready to engineer a memorable comeback in the second leg of their tie against Paris Saint-Germain, following their last-gasp loss at the Parc des Princes last month.

You have to go back to the 2015/16 quarter-finals for the last time Madrid trailed in a Champions League tie ahead of the second leg at the Santiago Bernabéu; then the deficit was 2-0 against Wolfsburg and they responded with a 3-0 triumph (all three goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo). There have been many other such nights in the history of a club who celebrated their 120th birthday last weekend – not least a famous 5-1 win against English champions Derby County in 1975 after a 4-1 first-leg loss at the Baseball Ground.

When it comes to attempts to retrieve a 1-0 deficit, though, the Merengues’ record is mixed with six wins and six defeats in all UEFA club competitions across the years, most recently, a 2-1 aggregate loss to Lyon at this stage in 2010. The return of Lionel Messi – whose two goals for Barcelona inflicted a 2-0 semi-final defeat for Madrid at the Bernabéu in 2011 – is another cause for concern, even if his penalty miss in the first leg made it eight goalless games against the club he has faced more than any other.

The here and now offers hope for Carlo Ancelotti’s men. While Paris were losing at Nice at the weekend, Madridistas saw their side’s third straight win since the first leg, a streak which has left them eight points clear at the Liga summit. Defensively they are functioning well: in their last six games they have conceded only twice – one a penalty, the other that piece of Kylian Mbappé first-leg magic. Up front, meanwhile, Karim Benzema – just back from injury for the first leg – should be sharper with three Liga outings (and goals) under his belt since. Moreover, in Vini Jr they have a forward with as many key passes as anyone in the Champions League this season – and whose total of take-ons (40) is one more than Mbappé has attempted. That big night might yet happen. 

Lionel Messi feels the heat of an Anfield night

The number: 34

Liverpool have won all 34 UEFA competition ties in which they won the away first leg, highlighting the Herculean task Italian champions Inter face at Anfield as they look to overturn their 2-0 first-leg loss.

Bernardo Silva and City were too much for Sporting in Lisbon

And finally: Sporting visit a different city

Sporting’s visit to Manchester City on Wednesday falls six days before the 10th anniversary of their only previous visit to the home of the English champions. When they were last there, on 15 March 2012, Sporting were defending a 1-0 first-leg lead in a Europa League round of 16 tie. They scored two first-half goals through Matías Fernández and Ricky van Wolfswinkel to build a 3-0 aggregate lead. City hit back in the second half through Sergio Agüero (2) and Mario Balotelli's penalty but it was not enough as Roberto Mancini’s side missed out on goal difference.

At that point City were a club still seeking a first league title since 1968. Agüero would end the wait two months later and a decade on, with another four Premier League crowns to their name, they are a fearsome prospect. Sporting, beaten 5-0 in Lisbon in the first leg, will be playing for pride – and looking to avoid a repeat of their 12-1 aggregate loss to Bayern in 2008/09, which remains a record for the knockout stage and began with an identical home beating.

Penalty Pedigree

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