The biggest club competition in world football, the Champions League is back. The 2019/2020 Champions League kicks off on Tuesday, September 17 with some Nigerian players in action.
Granted, these aren’t the most popular Nigerian players but it’s still important we highlight them.
In this piece, we preview the Nigerians in the Champions League this season and how much impact they could have for their clubs this season in the Champions League.
Victor Osimhen (Lille)
The best Nigerian player at the moment, Victor Osimhen is the player Nigerians are watching out in the Champions League this season. After a brilliant start to life in France where he has scored five goals in five games for Lille, the 20-year-old is set to make his Champions League debut.
While his move to French side Lille signalled the upward trajectory of his career, the Champions League could be another opportunity for him to impress with the whole world watching.
He has trips for Chelsea and Valencia to show what he can do and a top performance from him in those games could see his career get another lift with a move to La Liga or the Premier League.
Osimhen’s Lille will face Ajax, Chelsea and Valencia in Group H.
Tyronne Ebuehi (Benfica)
After a year out of football because of a long-term injury, Tyronne Ebuehi is back but still gradually getting to full fitness. He is yet to start a game for Benfica this season but he should get some minutes in the Champions League.
Benfica will face Lyon, Zenit and RB Leipzig.
Paul Onuachu (Genk)
Another Super Eagles player to watch for in the Champions League this season, Onuachu will be playing in the Champions League this season with Belgian club Genk.
Onuachu will have the opportunity to test his mettle against the likes of Virgil van Dijk when Genk face Liverpool in Group E. Exciting games against Napoli and Red Bull also await he and his teammates in the Champions League group stage.
Stephen Odey (Genk)
From the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) to the Champions League in just two years, Odey’s rise continued with his move to Genk from Switzerland side FC Zurich.
Odey is however yet to breaking into the starting XI so far this season with two substitute appearances. With compatriot Paul Onuachu and Dieumerci Ndongala ahead of him in the pecking order, the former MFM FC striker will have to bid his time at Genk especially in the Champions League.
However, like Onuachu, he will have the chance to go up against the two of the world’s best defenders in Van Dijk and Kalidou Koulibaly when Genk meet Liverpool and Napoli in Group E of this season’s Champions League. Genk will also face Red Bull.
Peter Olayinka (Slavia Prague)
At just the age of 23, Peter Olayinka has journeyed quite a lot since he first arrived in Albania in 2012. Now in Czech side Slavia Prague, the Nigerian forward will be competing in this season’s Champions League.
Trips to two iconic stadiums in European football, Nou Camp and San Siro await for Olayinka and his Slavia Prague teammates and he will be hoping to make an impression against Barcelona and Inter Milan.
He will be one of the players Prague are counting as they aim to cause an upset in Group F.
David Okereke (Club Brugge)
Nigerian forward David Okereke has started this season in fine form with four goals in six games. This is a form he will be hoping to take into the Champions League this season although he faces top oppositions in Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in Group A.
Emmanuel Bonaventure (Club Brugge)
Although he isn’t a guaranteed starter anymore at Club Brugge, Bonaventure is still expected to play a key role in Club Brugge’s Champions League campaign this season. He will be hoping to trouble Real Madrid, Galatasaray and Paris Saint-Germain’s defence with his pace.
Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow)
Lokomotiv Moscow go again in the Champions League this season with Super Eagles defender Bryan Idowu in their squad. Idowu has been a fringe player this season with just two starts and that is not expected to change in the Champions League except there is an injury.
If he gets his chance, Idowu will have the likes of Diego Costa, João Félix and Cristiano Ronaldo to defend against when Lokomotiv Moscow face Atletico Madrid and Juventus in Group C. Lokomotiv Moscow will also face Bayer Leverkusen in the group.
Iyayi Atiemwen (Dinamo Zagreb)
Nigerian midfielder Iyayi Atiemwen will be making his Champions League debut this season with Dinamo Zagreb. Having started well at his new club, the 23-year-old will be hoping to make an impact in the Champions League group stage where Dinamo Zagreb will face Manchester City, Atalanta and FC Shakhtar Donetsk in Group C.