Few Months after Madrid won the 'la decima'quest for who lifts the trophy in 2015 in Berlin returns
Barely four months since a certain team from Madrid accomplished their obsession - 'La Decima' against a fiercely viral neighbour from the Spanish capital; the quest for Europe's most prestigious club silver wear returned in the UEFA Champions league action.
From Lisbon to Munich, Turin to Amsterdam many eye brows were raised. We see why!.
Reds still never walk alone
After five years in exile, Liverpool are back to the business of Champions league football, and being at home against Ludogorets Razgrad - debutants from Bulgaria in group B which also has Champions Real Madrid and Swiss side FC Basel, Brendan Rodgers' team would never have it any easier.
Spare a thought to what we saw at Anfield, though Mario Balotelli got the opener in the 82nd to register his first goal for the Reds, Liverpool were walking alone with lots of missed chances in the game and without the injured Daniel Sturridge, the pace of Raheem Sterling did little up front.
Liverpool’s defense frailties were revealed by some late spark as Dani Abalo equalizer for Ludogorets in the 90th minute just moments after they hit the woodwork, but inexperience can be unforgiving teacher - a terrible back pass forced the Bulgarian goalkeeper into trouble with a questionable penalty awarded to Liverpool by the referee. Captain Steven Gerrard neatly side-footed home the spot kick for a 2-1 win in an unconvincing display by the Reds who had nine new additions during the summer and it appears none will turn out to be a goal scoring replacement for Luis Suarez.
2. Madrid Have More ambitions for La Decima + 1
Real Madrid have begun their title defense with a comfortable 5-1 win over FC Basel at the Santiago Bernabeu and Carlo Ancelloti's galaticos wasted no time in getting it character with goals from Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzima.
Summer World Cup revelation James Rodriguez also got his name on the score sheet for the Los Blancos. It was a walk in a park for Carlo Ancelloti's team who are without joy this season in the La Liga with back-back losses to Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid, those events, well traced to the summer departures of Angel di Maria to Manchester United and Xabi Alonso to Bayern Munich are yet to cast any shadows on what matters most to Madrid - being the first team to retain the Champions league trophy since it was renamed in 1992.
Perhaps a new obsession and who could blame them after all; they are the most successful team in Europe and they've got Cristiano Ronaldo, the world's best who shattered the records last term with 17 goals and we all know he's got an insatiable appetite for more.
3. The Germans are winning the war, and the English are trailing
It was a disappointing start for Premier league clubs in Europe with Arsenal losing 2-0 away to Borrusia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park, Manchester City also fell 1-0 in Munich to Bayern while Chelsea surprisingly were held at home to a 1-1 draw by Schalke.
We can accuse Jose Mourinho's side of complacency in conceding that late equalizer scored by Dutch striker Klass Jan Huntelaar after Cesc Fabregas had given them the lead in the first half where the blues looked quite comfortable with Didier Drogba up-front but the 36 year old is not the same legs he was two seasons ago when he struck the decisive penalty that gave Chelsea their European triumph on German soil.
No cause for alarm, they’ve got Diego Costa and Loic Remy who both came on as late substitutes and with the likes of Maribor and Sporting Lisbon also playing out a one all draw in the other game in group G, Chelsea will subdue to overcome.
Arsenal on the other hand struggled and paid dearly as Ciro Immobile drove in Dortmund's first goal with powerful shot after the Italian had began a run on the counter deep in his own half. The second goal, all about pace was set-up and finished by Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, the build-up to both strikes clearly showed the Gunners lack of a holding midfield enforcer who can track down the runs of opponents.
English Champions Manchester City were largely pegged back at the Allianz Arena by their German counterparts Bayern Munich and were fortunate to concede only once thanks to the many heroic saves pulled off by Joe Hart, but the England number one was undone by 89th minute strike from former City defender Jerome Boateng which had a bit of a deflection off Mario Gotze to secure the well-deserved three points for Bayern who created many goalscoring chances.
Pep Guardiola’s men were exquisite with Xabi Alonso and Philip Lahm in midfield, totally nullifying the likes of Yaya Toure and Fernandinho for possession.
4. Who the dark horse is?
Well this term it could be Atletico Madrid, the Spanish Champions and last season's finalists’, falling 3-2 to Olympiakos in Greece.
Portuguese side FC Porto were by far the biggest winners on match day one in the 6-0 routing of Bate Borisov with a hat trick by Algerian forward Yasine Brahimi - who's now top scorer and talk of Europe; he looks good to get more.
It's been 10 years since Porto last had any Champions league success - 2003/2004 winners with a 3-0 victory against Monaco in a final played in Germany under the guidance of a much younger Jose Mourinho who ultimately went on to become Europe's "special one", they could provide the much needed surprise package this season.
It's never early days with football on the European continent and we cannot wait to witness what match day two will have to offer and we’ll have our eyes on some key fixtures that may prove some decisive turnout in their respective groups.
Group A sees Atletico Madrid take on Juventus in a battle between two Champions, Roma travel to the Etihad to face Manchester City in another Group E marquee game, while Barcelona and PSG fire up group F at Parc des Princes.