Injury-exhausted Beşiktaş faces fit Ajax in Champions League
An injury-exhausted Beşiktaş will face top-flight Ajax in the second UEFA Champions League group stage match in Amsterdam on Tuesday.
Istanbul powerhouse will play without some of its key players. Domagoj Vida, Welinton, Atiba Hutchinson, Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, Rachid Ghezzal, Mehmet Topal, Miralem Pjanic and Cyle Larin will not fight for the Black Eagles due to injuries.
Spain’s defender Francisco Montero will also be out after testing positive for COVID-19.
Beşiktaş is currently third with 14 points in seven matches in the Turkish Süper Lig.
For the Dutch, Sean Klaiber and Maarten Stekelenburg will be absent from the match due to injury.
Earlier on Saturday, the Amsterdam-based club beat Groningen 3-0 at home to take the lead of the Dutch Eredivisie. Ajax have so far scored 30 goals and conceded just one, currently at 19 points.
In the first group matches, Beşiktaş lost 2-1 to Borussia Dortmund in Istanbul, while Ajax beat Sporting CP 5-1 in Lisbon.
The Group C match will start at the Johan Cruyff Arena at 22:45 GMT. He will be refereed by French referee Benoit Bastien.
Madrid’s offensive power
Real Madrid host Sheriff on Tuesday, requiring Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior to get back into shape quickly after failing in a 0-0 draw against Villarreal in the Spanish league this weekend.
After dominating their opponents 22-8 in their opening seven matches in all competitions, Real have been unable to find their way to the net for the first time this season.
Sheriff arrives in Madrid at the top of Group D after opening his first Champions League campaign with a win over Shakhtar Donetsk.
Rodrygo was Madrid’s goalscorer in the team’s 1-0 win over Inter Milan in their Champions League opener.
Mauricio Pochettino remains elusive on who is Paris Saint-Germain’s first-choice goalkeeper and whether Keylor Navas or new signing Gianluigi Donnarumma will start against Manchester City in their Group A match in Paris on Tuesday.
This is not a bad dilemma for a coach. Navas was one of the best goalkeepers in the world last season while Donnarumma finished it by helping Italy win the European Championship.
Navas has started the last two games for PSG and looked in good shape, but Donnarumma might not be happy with the replacement role.
Up front, Pochettino will be hoping Lionel Messi returns on offense as the Argentine recovers from a minor knee injury that sidelined him for two games.
Messi’s last Champions League goal came for Barcelona against PSG at Parc des Princes in the round of 16 last season. He had a penalty saved in that game – by Navas.
The wait for Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund are sweating over the fitness of star striker Erling Haaland and influential captain Marco Reus for Sporting Lisbon’s visit on Tuesday in Group C.
Dortmund collapsed in a 1-0 defeat at Borussia Mönchengladbach in the absence of the players on Saturday, as it was evident how reliant the team had become on the goals provided by the pair.
Haaland has scored 11 goals and has added four more in seven games so far this season, while Reus has contributed one goal and five assists in his seven games in all competitions. Both were injured in training on Friday.
Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, travel to AC Milan in Group B on Tuesday and are still awaiting a decisive performance from Antoine Griezmann upon his return to the club.
Griezmann is winless in eight appearances for Atletico this season. The reigning Spanish champion has struggled recently with just one win in his last four matches, including a 0-0 home draw against Porto in their first Champions League game.
His last game was a superb 1-0 defeat against Alaves, then last in the Spanish league.
Porto welcome Liverpool after an unbeaten start to the season with five wins and three draws, including at Atletico Madrid to start their Champions League campaign.
Porto have won all three of their home matches edging their opponents 10-0. Veteran center-back Pepe is still considered uncertain for Tuesday’s Group B game due to a left leg muscle injury suffered in the 0-0 draw against Atlético in Madrid.