[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE]
The 2009-10 UEFA Champions League, available for the first time on the Fox networks, kicks off this week with Day 1 of the group
stage. Several exciting matches are on tap, mostly notably a clash between Barcelona and Inter Milan. For a look at Day 1's top matches and the complete television schedule ... THREE GAMES TO WATCH: Chelsea-Porto (Tuesday).
Under new coach Carlo Ancelotti
, the Blues' goal is to finally win the Champions League, but they open with a tough test against a perennial contender, Porto.
Chelsea will be without star
, banned for three games for verbally abusing the referee at the end of their semifinal series against Barcelona in April. Right back Jose Bosingwa
was banned for two matches for remarks he made after the Barca second leg. Porto has lost its two Argentine stars, Lisandro Lopez
and Lucho Gonzalez
, sold to French clubs Lyon and Marseille, respectively. Marseille-AC Milan (Tuesday).
Marseille has not won a trophy since its 1-0 victory over Milan in the 1993 European Cup final. It's gotten off to a good start in France, where it is
unbeaten in four games under new coach Didier Deschamps
. Milan, on the other hand, has struggled, losing to Inter Milan, 4-0, and being held to a 0-0 tie by
Livorno in its last two games.
Milan sold Kaka
to Real Madrid, whose role as favorite in Group C only adds to the pressure on Marseille and Milan
to get a result on Day 1. In his absence, countryman Ronaldinho
has underperformed and will likely be on the bench at the Stade Velodrome. Also on the bench
still seeking his first competitive action with Milan should be American Oguchi Onyewu
. Inter Milan-Barcelona
It's the first meeting between the Spanish and Italian champions since they exchanged stars. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
went to Barca after
helping Inter win three straight Serie A titles. Samuel Eto'o
joined Inter from Barcelona after scoring the first goal in its 2-0 win over Manchester United
in the '09 Champions League final.
Who's the better player? Inter coach Jose Mourinho
thinks he knows. "Eto'o is the best attacker in the world,"
he said. "My players are always better. Last year Ibrahimovic was the best forward in the world, now I say Eto'o."
COMPLETE TV SCHEDULE: Tuesday
(FSC: delay, Wednesday, 2 am ET; Fox Sports en Espanol, Thursday, 10:30 am ET) Maccabi Haifa-Bayern Munich
Group B Wolfsburg-CSKA Moscow Besiktas-Manchester United
(FSC, Fox Sports en Espanol: delay, 10 pm ET) Group C FC Zurich-Real Madrid
Fox Sports en Espanol: live, 2:30 pm ET; Setanta Sports USA: delay, 5 pm ET; FSC: delay, Thursday, 11 am ET) Marseille-AC Milan
(FSC: live, 2:30 pm ET; Setanta Sports USA: delay, 6:45 pm ET; Fox Sports en Espanol, Thursday, 12:30 pm ET) Group D Chelsea-Porto
(Setanta Sports USA: live, 2:15 pm ET; FSC, Fox Sports en Espanol:
delay, 5 pm ET) Atletico Madrid-APOEL Nicosia Wednesday
Group E Liverpool-Debrecen
(FSC: live, 2:30 pm ET; Fox Sports en Espanol, delay, 5 pm ET; Setanta Sports USA:
delay, 5 pm ET) Lyon-Fiorentina
(Fox Sports en Espanol: delay, Thursday, 11 am ET; FSC: delay, Thursday, 5 pm ET)
Group F Inter Milan-Barcelona
(Fox Sports en Espanol, live, 2:30 pm ET, FSC:
delay, 7 pm ET; Setanta Sports USA: delay, 6:45 pm ET) Dynamo Kiev-Rubin Kazan
Group G VfB Stuttgart-Rangers
(FSC: delay, Thursday, 11 am ET; Fox Sports en Espanol: delay, Thursday, 1 pm
Group H Olympiakos-AZ Standard
(Setanta Sports USA: live, 2:15 pm ET; FSC: delay, 5 pm ET; Fox Sports en Espanol: delay, Thursday, 9:30 pm ET)