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Gala reception for Real Madrid
September 17th, 2013 12:29AM

TAGS:  uefa champions league


[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Week 1] Galatasaray beat Real Madrid in Istanbul when they met last spring in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League, and that victory has the Turkish club confident it can duplicate the feat on the opening day of the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League group stage.

"It's a new season and we know we can beat them again," says Gala star Didier Drogba.

He is confident even though Galatarasay has one win and three ties in its first four domestic games.

"The best thing to do is play good soccer and give 100 percent to win," he said. "Once again, we are going to face the top clubs of Europe this season and I think we have a good chance to qualify."

The game will mark Gareth Bale's debut for Real Madrid in Europe, but coach Fatih Terim says Real Madrid already has enough players to give him worries.

"Real Madrid have bought a lot of important players this season with high price tags like Gareth Bale's," he said. "And they already have superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, who is one of the best players in the world with [Lionel] Messi. They already have [Angel] Di Maria, [Sergio] Ramos, [Karim] Benzema..."

Real Madrid also has Iker Casillas, who is expected to start in goal ahead of Diego Lopez.

BARCA-AJAX FIRST. Barcelona and Ajax, two of the most storied clubs in European history, will meet for the first time on Wednesday when they open group play at the Camp Nou. Most famously, Johan Cruyff played at Ajax before joining Barcelona, and he coached both teams. Louis van Gaal also coached both teams, while Frank Rijkaard played at Ajax and coached Barca.

The player traffic has been mainly one-way -- Amsterdam to Barcelona -- but Ajax, the Dutch champion, has Bojan Krkic on loan from Barca.

AMERICAN CONNECTION. Only two Americans will be playing in the group stage. Jermaine Jones, second behind only DaMarcus Beasley in UCL appearances by an American, plays his third UCL season with Schalke 04, while Sacha Kljestan returns with Anderlecht. Schalke 04 and Anderlecht open on the road at Steaua Bucharest and Benfica, respectively.

TUESDAY, Schedule:
Man. United-Bayer Leverkusen (live) 2:30 pm.
Viktoria Plzen-Man City (delay) 8 pm.

Galatasaray-Real Madrid (live) 2:30 pm.
Man. United-Bayer Leverkusen (delay) 8 pm.

Viktoria Plzen-Man. Cit (live) 2:30 pm.
Man. United-Bayer Leverkusen (delay) 5 pm.
Galatasaray-Real Madrid (delay) 10 pm.
Bayern Munich-CSKA Moscow (delay) midnight.

Galatasaray-Real Madrid (live) 2:30 pm.
Man. United-Bayer Leverkusen (delay) 5 pm.
Real Sociedad-Shakhtar Donetsk (delay) 7 pm.

WEDNESDAY, Schedule:
Barcelona-Ajax (live) 2:30 pm.


Chelsea-Basel (live) 2:30 pm.
Barcelona-Ajax (delay) 8 pm.

Marseille-Arsenal (live) 2:30 pm.
Barcelona-Ajax (delay) 5 pm.
Chelsea-Basel (delay) 7:30 pm.

Barcelona-Ajax (live) 2:30 pm.
Chelsea-Basel (delay) 5 pm.
Napoli-Bor. Dortmund (delay) 7 pm.

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