5.45pm We have another fantastic night of Champions League football on Wednesday! We kick if off on BETDAQ Betting Exchange with one of the early kick offs as Shakhtar Donetsk host Celtic. Fair to say that Shakhtar produced one of the shock results in the first round of fixtures with a 4-1 win over RB Leipzig – they were away from home and started the game trading double figures! I think RB Leipzig went off in the 1.2’s and although the xG figures were reasonably close, Shakhtar were lethal in front of goal – they basically took every chance they got. Celtic had home advantage and were outclassed by Real Madrid, but that wasn’t a surprise given the gulf in class between the sides. With that win for Shakhtar over RB Leipzig, that definitely put Celtic on the backfoot in the race for third. It’s hard to see past Real Madrid and RB Leipzig taking the two top spots in this Group; however you have to say that RB Leipzig have been poor this season. Perhaps that opens the door for Shakhtar to progress, but they’ll have to collect six points over Celtic to do that. The market doesn’t see that happening, with Celtic coming into this game as clear favourites. They are currently trading 2.26 at the time of writing.

I have to say I was very surprised when I clicked into the market and saw that price. I expected a much more open market. Both sides play their domestic football at a reasonably low level – indeed it’s even hard to get a read on Shakhtar’s league to fully judge the standard. My opinion isn’t far away on the Scottish Premiership too because it’s a very low standard outside of the top two. Obviously Celtic look the best side this season, but both of the top Scottish clubs were totally outclassed last week. This is an easier test for Celtic, and maybe we’ll get a better reflection of where they stand. That being said, they are much stronger at home when they have a superb atmosphere behind them rather than away, and I’m very happy to lay them at 2.26. I fully expect a closer game than the odds suggest, and Celtic stand out as the value lay of the evening.

The Ultra Says:
Three points lay (liability) Celtic to beat Shakhtar Donetsk at 2.26 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● This will be the fifth time Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic have faced each other in the group stage of a UEFA Champions League campaign, following 2004-05 (one win each) and 2007-08 (one win each).
● Celtic have lost both of their previous away games against Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League, while failing to score on both occasions – 0-3 in October 2004 and 0-2 in September 2007.
● Shakhtar Donetsk will be looking to win three consecutive home games against an opponent in European competition for the third time, having previously done so against Roma in 2018 and Sporting Braga in 2016 (both runs of three).
● Shakhtar Donetsk named six players aged 23 or younger in their starting XI in their 4-1 win over RB Leipzig on MD1 of this season’s UEFA Champions League and the average age of their XI was just 24 years and 180 days, the second youngest of any side on MD1 behind only FC Salzburg.
● This will be Celtic’s first away game in the UEFA Champions League since November 2017, when they suffered a 7-1 defeat against Paris Saint-Germain under Brendan Rodgers. The Bhoys have only kept one clean sheet in 33 away games in the competition, with that coming in a 3-0 win v Anderlecht in 2017-18.
● Following their win against RB Leipzig on MD1, Shakhtar Donetsk will be looking to open a UEFA Champions League campaign with two victories. This only happened before in 2010-11 and 2007-08, when, one of their two victories that season came against Celtic, beating them 2-0 in a home game under Mircea Lucescu.
● Celtic striker Giorgos Giakoumakis is still looking to score his first goal in major European competition (excluding qualifiers), having featured 12 times between his time at AEK Athens and Celtic without scoring (six games in the UEFA Europa League, four in the UEFA Champions League and two in the UEFA Conference League).
● Marian Shved scored twice on his UEFA Champions League debut for Shakhtar Donetsk (v RB Leipzig), while no player has ever netted more within their first two appearances for the club in the competition.
● Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart has only kept one clean sheet in his last 13 away games in the UEFA Champions League, while he’ll be looking to keep his first on the road in the competition since December 2014 versus Roma (for Man City).
● Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mykhailo Mudryk was one of three players to be directly involved in three goals on MD1 (one goal, two assists), along with Robert Lewandowski and Piotr Zielinski. Aged 21 years and 244 days, Mudryk was the youngest Shakhtar player to be directly involved in as many as three goals in a UEFA Champions League game since Douglas Costa in September 2010 (20y 14d v Braga).


8pm We start the 8pm games with Chelsea hosting Red Bull Salzburg in Graham Potter’s first game in charge. I have to say it was a huge shock last week when Thomas Tuchel was sacked as Chelsea manager – there wasn’t even a little period where he was seemingly under pressure. Nobody expected it in the UK media, nobody was even asking for it. The fans didn’t seem happy with the decision and although Chelsea had started the season poorly, I didn’t think the panic button was about to be pressed! At the time I felt who are they going to get that’s better than Tuchel, and although Graham Potter has done a wonderful job at Brighton over the last few years, I still feel he isn’t in the same bracket as Tuchel. Potter is a fantastic manager, but you have to remember that Brighton had the perfect set up for him – he basically only had to focus on the team and football. That will be different at Chelsea as the off-field bits creep in and it will be interesting to see how he handles that. For Potter, the decision was basically a no brainer – how much better can Brighton get and then how can he turn down Champions League football at Chelsea? He had to take the job. I know a number of football numbers feel this won’t go well, especially with the management of Chelsea at the moment, and while I would agree with that I still feel he had no option but to take the chance. Who knows, it could work out superbly.

Although this is his first game and I don’t want to sound dramatic, this is basically a must win game now. Chelsea are on the backfoot after losing to Dinamo Zagreb last week, and you simply have to be winning against Red Bull Salzburg with home advantage. Anything bar a win would be a very disappointing result, but it will be interesting to see how the players react to the sacking. I don’t think Tuchel lost the dressing room or even close to it – plus he was given money during the transfer window too. The thing decision just seems bizarre. Salzburg actually picked up a draw last week at home to AC Milan, and they created an xG figure over double what AC Milan managed. That was a good performance, and I think we’ll see goals here. I’m fascinated to see how Potter sets up Chelsea because Brighton were so attacking under him – but Salzburg shown enough to suggest they can score here, but I do expect a 2-1 or 3-1 win to Chelsea. Over 2.5 goals is worth backing at 1.55.

The Ultra Says:
Two points win Over 2.5 goals at 1.55 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● This will be the first meeting between Chelsea and RB Salzburg – the Blues have only lost one of their previous four games against Austrian sides in European competition (W1 D2), although the most recent of those matches came against FK Austria Wien in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994.
● RB Salzburg have never beaten an English side in European competition in six attempts (D1 L5). Since drawing against Blackburn in the UEFA Cup back in September 2006, they have lost all five of their meetings with English opposition.
● Chelsea were beaten by Dinamo Zagreb in their opening game of this UEFA Champions League campaign, while they have never previously lost their opening two games in an edition of the tournament. The last time they lost consecutive games in the competition was in 2019-20, losing both legs against Bayern Munich in the Last 16.
● Chelsea have only lost one of their last 20 home games in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League (W13 D6), with that lone defeat coming against Valencia under Frank Lampard in September 2019. The Blues are unbeaten in their last eight (W5 D3), with the last two both ending 4-0 – v Malmö FF and Juventus last term.
● RB Salzburg have lost each of their last three away games in the UEFA Champions League; their longest losing streak of this type in the competition, and just one fewer defeat than they suffered in their first 10 away games in the competition (W3 D3 L4).
● Chelsea failed to score in their defeat against Dinamo Zagreb on MD1, while the Blues haven’t failed to find the net in consecutive UEFA Champions League games within the same campaign since March/April 2011 under Carlo Ancelotti – 0-0 v FC København and 0-1 v Manchester United.
● RB Salzburg’s starting XI last time out had an average age of 23 years and 30 days; the youngest of any team on MD1 in this season’s UEFA Champions League. Indeed, the Austrian side only had one player over the age of 24 within their starting XI – Andreas Ulmer (36y 311d v AC Milan).
● Among teams who have been involved in the last two campaigns, only Bayern Munich (13.1) have averaged more high turnovers per game than Chelsea (13) in the UEFA Champions League. However, the Blues have only converted one of their 143 high turnovers into a goal, which is five fewer than the team with the most goals scored in this fashion in this period (6, Ajax).
● If he plays in this game, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang could become the oldest player to score in his first home appearance for Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League (33y 88d), with the current oldest being Michael Ballack in September 2006 (29y 351d v Werder Bremen).
● Noah Okafor has scored four goals in his last five UEFA Champions League appearances, including one versus AC Milan last time out. The only player to score more times than Okafor (4) for RB Salzburg in the competition is Erling Haaland (8).


8pm Erling Haaland meets his Dortmund teammates again quickly here as Manchester City host Dortmund! What can you say about Haaland’s start to the season only it’s been sensational. He’s going to score an incredible amount of goals. It was interesting to hear Kevin De Bruyne say in an interview recently that there was more to football than just scoring goals when asked about Erling Haaland; one wonders if there is more to that within the camp! The reality is he is incredible at what he does, and City have always missed a natural goal scorer. How many times have we seen a crazy high xG figure from them only to not convert their chances? The market is very confident on a home win here with City trading as short as 1.21 at the time of writing. Perhaps that’s a reflection of Dortmund’s standing at the moment – they aren’t the force they once were having sold their best players, and it will take them years to recover from losing Haaland. It’s hard to see anything bar a comfortable City win here to be honest because Dortmund have been pretty average in the Bundesliga this season. They haven’t created much, and their main form of defence is attack after all.

I feel it’s a question of how many goals will City score here rather than will they win, and with the home win trading so short we’ll have to look towards the goal and handicap markets for some value. The market is fully expecting goals here with Under 2.5 goals trading as short as 1.37 – to be honest it’s hard to argue with that price. This game screams goals. City aren’t going to sit back, and Dortmund are just going to have to fight fire with fire. I can’t see that working well for Dortmund, but it’s pretty much their only option. If they sit back and invite City onto them they will get hammered anyway. While I can see plenty of goals, I also expect an easy win for City here. There are definitely come tempting bets in the handicap market, but I’m going to take a chance here with Any Other Home Win (Man City to score four or more goals and win) in the Correct Score market at 2.88. Dortmund were brushed aside by RB Leipzig at the weekend and they haven’t been at their best this season either – City can really embarrass them here.

The Ultra Says:
Two points win Any Other Home Win Correct Score at 2.88 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● This will be the third UEFA Champions League campaign in which Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund have met – after failing to win either of their games in the 2012-13 group stage (D1 L1), the Citizens won both legs of the quarter-final against them in 2020-21 (both by a 2-1 scoreline).
● Borussia Dortmund will be looking for their first away win against an English side in the UEFA Champions League since October 2013, when they won 2-1 at Arsenal. They have lost each of their four such games in the competition since then, losing against three different sides (Arsenal, Spurs x2 and Manchester City).
● Manchester City have won their last eight home games against German sides in the UEFA Champions League by an aggregate score of 30-9. Indeed, the last German side to win at the Etihad Stadium in the competition was Bayern Munich in October 2013 (3-1), who were then managed by current Man City boss Pep Guardiola.
● Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 20 UEFA Champions League home games, winning 18 and drawing two. It’s the longest such unbeaten run by an English side in the competition since Chelsea’s run of 21 between September 2006 and December 2009.
● Manchester City have won 57 of their 103 UEFA Champions League matches (55.3%) – only three teams have a higher win rate in the history of the competition (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich), while Man City’s is the highest of any team never to have won the trophy.
● None of Borussia Dortmund’s last 17 away games in the UEFA Champions League have been drawn, with the German side winning seven and losing 10 since a 1-1 draw at APOEL Nicosia in October 2017.
● This will be Man City boss Pep Guardiola’s 150th UEFA Champions League game in charge, the fifth manager to reach the milestone in the competition. He’s won 94 of his 149 so far, with only Alex Ferguson (102 wins from 190 games) and Carlo Ancelotti (99/179) ever winning more matches in the competition (Ancelotti’s numbers don’t include a 3-0 awarded win against Inter in 2005).
● Man City striker Erling Haaland has scored 25 goals in 20 UEFA Champions League appearances, the most by any player in their first 20 games in the competition. He netted 15 in 13 games with Borussia Dortmund and could become just the second player to score a Champions League goal both for and against the German side, after Ciro Immobile.
● 19-year-old Jude Bellingham has scored three UEFA Champions League goals for Borussia Dortmund, the joint-most of any English teenager in the competition (level with Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott, Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden).
● Giovanni Reyna provided two assists in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-0 win against FC København on MD1, as many as he’d made in his first 10 appearances in the competition combined.