PSG destroy Real Madrid 3-0 behind two goals from Angel Di Maria, Juventus and Tottenham both throw away a two-goal lead to draw with Atletico and Olympiakos, Bayern and Man City ease past their rivals.
Here we summarize the key talking points from these matches.
Di Maria loves facing his former clubs
Di Maria loves going up against one of his former employers. It was just last season when the Argentine put in a man of the match performance against Man Utd at Old Trafford.
As he did when facing Man Utd, Di Maria showed up and produced a brilliant performance. The Argentine beat Courtois at his near post for the first goal, before a stunning finish into the bottom corner for his second.
He will no doubt be looking forward to the second leg at the Bernabeu.
Madrid have problems at the back and midfield
Real Madrid had players missing in midfield and at the back as Modric, Isco, Marcelo and Ramos all missed out. But it is unclear whether any of those would have made a difference in this match.
Militao was at fault for the first goal and looks low on confidence, with only Mendy really earning any credit in defence.
And the midfield was slow and static compared to a quicker and slicker PSG side. Tuchel is an excellent coach and his influence on this team can be seen by their ability to move the ball in quick transitions from defence to midfield and midfield to attack.
Madrid’s players, by comparison, did not seem to know what they were doing or even where they should be positioned.
The curious case of Higuain continues
Higuain has already opened his account for Juventus this season, scoring in the 4-3 Serie A win over former club Napoli, but against Atletico the 31-year-old had a strange game.
Taken off on 80 minutes for the fresher Paulo Dybala, Higuain had two shots with one on target, though then a pass might have been the better option.
Playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuain will not need to be Juventus’ main goalscoring outlet, but it would certainly help them if he started scoring more regularly.
Lack of goalscorer could cost Atletico in Europe
En route to their round-of-16 exit last season, Atletico scored just 11 goals in eight Champions League games. Four of those came through the recently-departed Griezmann, while Wednesday’s starting striker Costa managed just one.
And that could be a problem for Atletico this season. Against Juventus, Atletico were excellent in pushing their opponents and enjoyed the better chances. But Savic and Herrera finding the net this time.
Atletico’s forwards need to start scoring if the side are to harbour hopes of reaching the latter stages of the competition.
Coutinho plays a big hand
Coutinho wasn’t to be among the goals or assists but remained the architect-in-chief throughout the course of the fixture. He controlled the pace of the game through his sharp instincts and passing.
He was everywhere on the pitch; receiving passes in deeper areas, starting attacks all by himself, completing duels and take-ons, linking up play with an aesthetic touch and bringing all the forward players in close proximity with one another.
There will be more daring opponents and monumental challenges, but should Coutinho play this way, the goals would not be far away at all.
Pochettino and Eriksen are losers in Tottenham draw
Following last season’s final heartbreak, Pochettino will have wanted to get the new Champions League campaign off to a winning start. An away trip to Greece was always going to be a tough fixture, but Spurs would have expected to eventually pull through.
And that is what looked likely to happen when Spurs rode their luck early on before going 2-0 up after 30 minutes thanks to Kane and Lucas. But as they did against Arsenal, Spurs’ defence eventually crumbled under the pressure, allowing the home side back into the game before gifting an opportunity to equalise in conceding the penalty.
On Wednesday evening, Eriksen had a game to forget, really looking lost on the Karaiskakis turf and far from the midfielder linked with Real Madrid and Manchester United in the summer.
The Dane had an unusually average passing accuracy of 78.33% and lost possession 22 times, more than any other player on the pitch, including one costly moment.
Although Vertonghen was the one to commit the foul, Eriksen must take a portion of the blame for Olympiacos’ penalty, being far too nonchalant on the edge of his own area and losing possession.
Fernandinho the solution to centre-back crisis
Shorn of injured centre-backs Laporte and Stones, the pressure had been cranked up the pressure on Pep Guardiola’s side. City weren’t having any of it, though.
Fernandinho slotted into the left-side of central defensive and his presence also allowed Otamendi to switch to the right, where he is more comfortable, having been badly exposed on the left-hand side at Norwich.
Guardiola admits the Brazilian cannot play every game because of his age, but Fernandinho is the best choice as centre-back temporarily.