There are some colossal match-ups in the Champions League this week in Paris, Madrid and Dortmund as James Horncastle discusses...
"Bayern were one of PSG's most vocal critics around the time of the Neymar signing.
The No.1 problem at the Parc
PSG v Bayern Munich
Wednesday, September 27, 19:45
Live on BT Sport Extra 2
Bayern were one of PSG's most vocal critics around the time of the Neymar signing. Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said they would never spend €222m on a player and tried to put it into context by pointing out that the Brazilian cost almost as much as the Allianz Arena. The pre-match lunch between the Bayern hierarchy and their counterparts at PSG could get awkward then unless they're still in a jovial mood after spending the weekend at Oktoberfest.
Wednesday's match at the Parc des Princes is, in many respects, a match-up between two teams with the same problem. Manuel Neuer is out until 2018 with a metatarsal injury and his back-up Sven Ulreich embarrassed himself in Friday's 2-2 draw with Wolfsburg. "I didn't sleep well," he said, probably because he kept playing Maximilian Philipp's long-range free-kick on a loop in his head.
PSG made efforts to upgrade in the same position over the summer. A salary worth €13m and the promises of three apartments and three limousines was not enough to persuade 18-year-old wunderkind Gigio Donnarumma to swap one fashion capital for another and leave Milan. Atletico's Jan Oblak was too expensive in a window in which PSG were already pushing the boundaries of FFP, while Pepe Reina looked like a low-cost compromise only their offer came far too late for Napoli to find a replacement.
The incumbent Alphonse Areola kept a clean sheet in Montpellier at the weekend. Progress of sorts according to L'Equipe. The Frenchman let in every shot he faced at the Mosson last year and, in truth, he still doesn't entirely convince. Without Neymar on Saturday, PSG laboured to a 0-0 draw. Edinson Cavani missed a couple of chances and Kylian Mbappe's 47th minute shot was the only time PSG actually hit the target. Wednesday should be a different story entirely and not just because Neymar will be back to argue over who gets to take his team's penalties and free-kicks.
Despite the weekend result and the clash of egos in the dressing room, PSG have impressed more than Bayern this season. After all, the German champions have hardly been drama-free themselves. Franck Ribery threw his shirt to the ground in frustration at being substituted. Robert Lewandowski lamented how Bayern don't spend like PSG and leaves the impression of wanting to play for Real Madrid. Thomas Muller has called out Carlo Ancelotti and Arjen Robben hasn't been backward in coming forward about how poorly the team is playing at the moment.
All is not well in Bavaria and with that in mind why not take PSG @ [2.02].
Who's the Bosz?
Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid
Tuesday, September 26, 19:45
Live on BT Sport Extra 2
There was something ironic about Cristiano Ronaldo coming back from a five-game ban in midweek and Real Madrid failing to score for the first time in 74 matches. The four-time Ballon d'Or winner tried again on Saturday but was frustrated, hitting the woodwork twice in Alavés.
In all, Ronaldo has had 18 attempts in the space of three days. Madrid still contrived to win with a brace from Dani Ceballos, who they signed off the back of an excellent tournament at the Under-21 Euros. But as Zinedine Zidane admitted: "It was not easy. This is not a brilliant period for us. But we got the three points and will see better days."
Whether better days will come already at Dortmund on Tuesday remains to be seen. As we saw in the Super Cup against Manchester United, the holders are unplayable when they turn it on, and last week's win at Real Sociedad was a reminder of Madrid's class.
Madrid know how to pace themselves in this competition and we shouldn't forget they won it last year despite finishing runners' up in their group. Dortmund ended up in front of them, not on head-to-head, but because they did a better job of polishing off teams Madrid were complacent against like Sporting and Legia Warsaw.
The Germans need a win after losing to Spurs at Wembley a fortnight ago and look good in the Bundesliga at the moment. Six-one winners against Gladbach on Saturday, a Pierre Emerick Aubameyang hat-trick is a warning not to take them lightly. Lars Stindl's goal was also the first Dortmund have conceded in the league this season under new coach Peter Bosz.
You fancy BVB to do something on Tuesday particularly with Christian Pulisic in such fine form on the flank where Madrid will be missing Marcelo and Theo Hernandez. Dortmund are [3.05] to win but memories of the 2-2 draws these sides played out both at the Signal Iduna Park and the Bernabeu last season perhaps give the draw a greater appeal @ [3.9].
Don't call it the Costa derby
Atletico Madrid v Chelsea
Wednesday, September 27, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 2
Diego Costa's shadow looms large over Wednesday's game in the Spanish capital. But you have to say the way everything has fallen into place actually helps Chelsea. In the end, Antonio Conte's text message did not stop the Blues turning a big profit and getting a very good price [£66m] for a player who turns 29 in a fortnight.
By happening outside the transfer window, Costa is ineligible to play and his replacement Alvaro Morata could hardly go into this game in more confident mood. His hat-trick at the weekend and excellent start to the season is accelerating the process of moving on from and forgetting about Costa.
The trouble is Atleti aren't missing Costa either because Antoine Griezmann has come back from suspension with a bang. After scoring the only goal in the first game at the Wanda Metropolitano last weekend, the Frenchman set-up Yannick Ferreira Carrasco's clincher in a 2-1 victory in Bilbao on Wednesday and then, with Carrasco's help, put the hitherto unbeaten Sevilla to the sword on Saturday.
Atleti could do with a win in the Champions League after a 0-0 with Roma a fortnight ago. The Rojiblancos couldn't believe they didn't win that game after throwing the kitchen sink at Alisson in the Roma goal. Chelsea will be harder to break down. The draw is on @ [3.4].