UEFA Champions League picks: Man United in trouble vs. Atalanta? PSG face Leipzig test; Liverpool vs. Atletico


The UEFA Champions League is back on Tuesday with two excellent days of soccer to look forward to with the reverse of the most recent slate a fortnight ago as the group phase passes the halfway stage.

Bayern Munich vs. Benfica, Borussia Dortmund vs. Ajax, Liverpool vs. Atletico Madrid and RB Leipzig vs. Paris Saint-Germain are all good candidates for the top match and promise plenty of excitement.

Do you agree with our panel of experts as to how this will pan out, or do you know better? Have your say and see how it matches up to our collective expectations.

All matches are available to stream on Paramount+. Below, our CBS Sports soccer experts have you covered with our predictions, check out how they did picking Tuesday’s matches and see what they think will happen on Wednesday:

Craving even more coverage of the world’s game? Listen below and subscribe to ¡Qué Golazo! A Daily CBS Soccer Podcast where we take you beyond the pitch and around the globe for commentary, previews, recaps and more.  

COMPLETE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PICKS

Malmo vs. Chelsea

Time: Tuesday, 1:45 p.m. ET (Paramount+)

Featured Game | Malmo FF vs. Chelsea

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
Malmo 0, Chelsea 2
Man of the Match: Édouard Mendy
Why: Has kept nine clean sheets in 12 UEFA Champions League matches last season, and has added another two this term.

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
Malmo 0, Chelsea 3 
Man of the Match: Kai Havertz
Why: Without Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, Chelsea will give the keys to Havertz. He has already demonstrated several times that he is a high-level player, including in last year’s final.

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: 
Malmo 0, Chelsea 2
Man of the Match: Kai Havertz
Why: I can see the German coming to the fore in difficult conditions as Thomas Tuchel’s champions aim to close the gap on Juve.

James Benge
Pick: Malmo 0, Chelsea 4
Man of the Match: Kai Havertz
Why: I hate to say this in such harsh terms but Malmo really aren’t very good, expect this to be a game where Chelsea run up the score.

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: Malmo 0, Chelsea 3
Man of the Match: Hakim Ziyech
Why: Against a packed in defense, Ziyech finally has a signature Chelsea performance

Wolfsburg vs. Red Bull Salzburg

Time: Tuesday, 1:45 p.m. ET (Paramount+)

Featured Game | Wolfsburg vs. Salzburg

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
Wolfsburg 1, Red Bull Salzburg 2
Man of the Match: Karim Adeyemi
Why: He has six in his last six Salzburg matches through all competitions.      

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
Wolfsburg 1, Red Bull Salzburg 1
Man of the Match: Karim Adeyemi
Why: The 19-year-old Adeyemi is special. He runs, scores and scores. He has unique qualities and wants to confirm himself, again.

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: Wolfsburg 1, Red Bull Salzburg 1
Man of the Match: Maxence Lacroix
Why: New coach bounce will see the Germans score a valuable point against a very good Austrian outfit and the Frenchman will be key.

James Benge
Pick: 
Wolfsburg 1, Red Bull Salzburg 0
Man of the Match: Koen Casteels
Why: Under new management in Florian Kohfeldt, Wolfsburg showed a defensive aptitude against Leverkusen that they will need against the numerous attacking threats posed by Salzburg. Casteels will probably be busy between the posts but he is the sort of goalkeeper who can win you games.

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: 
Wolfsburg 0, Red Bull Salzburg 1
Man of the Match: Brenden Aaronson
Why: Wolfsburg are relentlessly defensive, and Aaronson finds a moment of magic to unlock them.      

Villarreal vs. Young Boys

Time: Tuesday, 4 p.m. ET (Paramount+)  

Featured Game | Villarreal vs. Young Boys

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
Villarreal 1, Young Boys 1
Man of the Match: Meschak Elia
Why: The Congolese has six goals for Young Boys so far this season and is their biggest threat.

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
Villarreal 3, Young Boys 0
Man of the Match: Arnaut Danjuma
Why: Stellar in Old Trafford, growing steadily for weeks. The former Bournemouth has Champions League skills.  

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: 
Villarreal 2, Young Boys 1
Man of the Match: Arnaut Danjuma
Why: The Spaniards need to get a result and this should keep them in the running to advance with Danjuma at the fore.  

James Benge
Pick: 
Villarreal 1, Young Boys 2
Man of the Match: Meschak Elia
Why: Playing away probably suits Young Boys, forcing them to be a bit more cautious whilst looking to unleash the dangerous Meschack Elia on the break

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: 
Villarreal 1, Young Boys 0
Man of the Match: Pau Torres
Why: This team is struggling but Torres rescues them with a strong defensive performance and a set piece goal to hang onto.

Juventus vs. Zenit

Time: Tuesday, 4 p.m. ET (Paramount+

Featured Game | Juventus vs. Zenit

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
Juventus 2, Zenit 0
Men of the Match: Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci
Why: The center-back pairing led Juve to clean sheets in all three of their matches. Given Zenit’s attacking problems, they will be confident of another clean sheet

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
Juventus 2, Zenit 0
Man of the Match: Paulo Dybala
Why: Dybala was back as a protagonist against Inter last week as he working his way back to tip-top condition. Paulo for Juventus is a key player.  

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: 
Juventus 1, Zenit 1
Man of the Match: Sardar Azmoun
Why: Juve are wobbling right now and it would not be a surprise to see them drop points here with Azmoun Zenit’s main goal threat.

James Benge
Pick: 
Juventus 1, Zenit 1
Man of the Match: Claudinho
Why: Juventus have been worse than their results suggest, Zenit have been better. Time for a rebalance with the impressive Claudinho earning the visitors a welcome point.

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: 
Juventus 3, Zenit 1
Man of the Match: Paulo Dybala
Why: Juventus’s Serie A struggles thus far haven’t carried over in the UCL, and Dybala will shoulder the attacking load to make sure that continues.

Bayern Munich vs. Benfica

Time: Tuesday, 4 p.m. ET (Paramount+)    

Featured Game | Bayern Munich vs. Benfica

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
Bayern Munich 4, Benfica 1
Man of the Match: Robert Lewandowski
Why: This will mark his 100 UCL appearances, and he will do in style by carrying his side to another victory.

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
Bayern Munich 4, Benfica 1
Man of the Match: Robert Lewandowski
Why: His numbers speak for him. A goal machine, a robot that has no intention of stopping.

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: 
Bayern Munich 2, Benfica 0
Man of the Match: Kingsley Coman
Why: The Germans recovered from their Gladbach humiliation and will be keen to break the Portuguese down faster than last time with the Frenchman’s pace key.  

James Benge
Pick: 
Bayern Munich 4, Benfica 0
Man of the Match: Robert Lewandowski
Why: Lewandowski is surely not going to let his 100th Champions League pass by without finding the net at least one. Bayern are too good to be stopped.  

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: 
Bayern Munich 4, Benfica 1
Man of the Match: Robert Lewandowski
Why: It’s because he scores a lot of goals. Again.  

Sevilla vs. Lille

Time: Tuesday, 4 p.m. ET (Paramount+)    

Featured Game | Sevilla vs. Lille

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
Sevilla 1, Lille 1
Man of the Match: Jonathan David
Why: The Canadian international is already on double figures for the season after 22 appearances.

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
Sevilla 2, Lille 1
Man of the Match: Erik Lamela
Why: Dribbling and speed are decisive in this type of game, and the Argentine, who’s a Champions League-caliber player, knows how to hit.   

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: 
Sevilla 1, Lille 0
Man of the Match: Jules Kounde
Why: LOSC were unlucky away at PSG but still look a shadow of the team we saw crowned French champions. Sevilla to edge this with the Frenchman a rock at the back.

James Benge
Pick: 
Sevilla 2, Lille 1
Man of the Match: Rafa Mir
Why: Rafa Mir has looked like a player who is about to fulfill his great potential over recent months, having given Lille a fair few problems last time out he should find the net this time.

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: 
Sevilla 1, Lille 0
Man of the Match: Erik Lamela
Why: The former Spurs man has enjoyed life in Spain so far, and is an integral figure in Sevilla’s attack, here he adds to his goal tally. 

Dynamo Kiev vs. Barcelona

Time: Tuesday, 4 p.m. ET (Paramount+)    

Featured Game | Dynamo Kyiv vs. Barcelona

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
Dynamo Kiev 0, Barcelona 2
Man of the Match: Memphis Depay
Why: He has been one of the few Barcelona success stories this season and took his tally to 12 for club and country this term

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
Dynamo Kiev 0, Barcelona 2
Man of the Match: Ansu Fati
Why: He’s the star of the present and the future for Barcelona. His new contract can help him celebrate with another important goal. 

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: 
Dynamo Kiev 0, Barcelona 1
Man of the Match: Memphis Depay
Why: The Dutchman will turn up and help his team to a narrow win.

James Benge
Pick: 
Dynamo Kiev 0, Barcelona 2
Man of the Match: Memphis Depay
Why: Barcelona’s attacking play is better than their results in La Liga have suggested, this could be the game where things start progressing towards normality.

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: 
Dynamo Kiev 0, Barcelona 2
Man of the Match: Sergino Dest
Why: He’s missed some sitters recently, and now he finally gets one to go in a big moment.

Atalanta vs. Manchester United

Time: Tuesday, 4 p.m. ET (Paramount+)  

Featured Game | Atalanta vs. Manchester United

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
Atalanta 2, Manchester United 2
Man of the Match: Duvan Zapata
Why: The Colombian striker is a handful, and heads into the game with confidence up after scoring in his last two games

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
Atalanta 1, Manchester United 1
Man of the Match: Cristiano Ronaldo
Why: When you say Cristiano, you say Champions League. When you say Champions League, you say Cristiano.  

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: 
Atalanta 2, Manchester United 1
Man of the Match: Duvan Zapata
Why: The Italian side will get the win they missed out on last time and push Ole Gunnar Solskjaer back into difficulty with Zapata on target.

James Benge
Pick: 
Atalanta 2, Manchester United 1
Man of the Match: Duvan Zapata
Why: The fact that Tottenham were woeful on Saturday does not mean Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has solved anything. In fact, the passivity of a 3-4-1-2 threatens to be his undoing in Bergamo.

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: 
Atalanta 3, Manchester United 2
Man of the Match: Duvan Zapata
Why: His late goal caps an Atalanta comeback as the Italian side gets revenge.

Real Madrid vs. Shakhtar Donetsk

Time: Wednesday, 1:45 p.m. ET (Paramount+)

Featured Game | Real Madrid vs. Shakhtar Donetsk

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
Real Madrid 2, Shakhtar Donetsk 0
Men of the Match: David Alaba and Éder Militão
Why: They are forming a solid central defensive partnership. They have kept two clean sheets in three Champions League matches

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
Real Madrid 3, Shakhtar Donetsk 0
Man of the Match: Vinicius Junior
Why: Karim Benzema is pure class, but the Brazilian’s growth is incredible. And he also wants to confirm himself in the Champions League.

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: 
Real Madrid 2, Shakhtar Donetsk 0
Man of the Match: Karim Benzema
Why: The Frenchman to aid his team in a routine victory.

James Benge
Pick: 
Real Madrid 2, Shakhtar Donetsk 0
Man of the Match: Vinicius Junior
Why: It’s important not to get carried away with the development of young footballers, but also this is football. You’re supposed to get carried away. In that spirit, Vinicius Junior is well on course to be the next superstar of Brazilian football and he’ll only cement that standing this week.

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: 
Real Madrid 4, Shakhtar Donetsk 0
Man of the Match: Karim Benzema
Why: Benzema has been the best player in La Liga this season and here he carves up a poor Shakhtar side.

AC Milan vs. Porto

Time: Wednesday, 1:45 p.m. ET (Paramount+)

Featured Game | AC Milan vs. Porto

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
AC Milan 2, Porto 0
Man of the Match: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Why: He has 400 goals and counting.

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
AC Milan 1, Porto 0
Man of the Match: Theo Hernandez
Why: The left back among the strongest in the world — expect him to once again leave his mark.

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: 
AC Milan 1, Porto 0
Man of the Match: Olivier Giroud
Why: The Frenchman to prove the difference as the Italians get off the mark at last.

James Benge
Pick: 
AC Milan 2, Porto 0
Man of the Match: Franck Kessié
Why: There are plenty of other teams who might give up based on where Milan are now. Stefano Pioli’s men won’t and will show the class that has been apparent right the way through the Serie A season.

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: 
AC Milan 1, Porto 0
Man of the Match: Olivier Giroud
Why: A late headed goal to win, the Olivier Giroud special.

Sporting vs. Besiktas

Time: Wednesday, 4 p.m. ET (Paramount+)  

Featured Game | Sporting CP vs. Besiktas

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
Sporting 2, Besiktas 0
Man of the Match: Sebastián Coates
Why: The defensive rock, who also scored a brace in the last meeting

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
Sporting 1, Besiktas 1
Man of the Match: Michy Batshuayi
Why: The former Chelsea man loves European nights for his goals, an opportunity he cannot miss.

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: 
Sporting 2, Besiktas 0
Man of the Match: Pablo Sarabia
Why: The Spaniard at the double as the Portuguese maximize their points haul against the Turks.  

James Benge
Pick: 
Sporting 2, Besiktas 1
Man of the Match: Pablo Sarabia
Why: The Spain international has started to make a difference with goals and assists in recent weeks, expect that to continue as Sporting wrap up at least a Europa League spot.  

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: 
Sporting 2, Besiktas 0
Man of the Match: João Palhinha
Why: Palhinha makes this surprisingly competitive Sporting side tick.  

Borussia Dortmund vs. Ajax

Time: Wednesday, 4 p.m. ET (Paramount+

Featured Game | Borussia Dortmund vs. Ajax

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
Borussia Dortmund 1, Ajax 2
Man of the Match: Sébastien Haller
Why: He came up trumps in this fixture a couple of weeks ago. He netted against PSV too and is on 13 goals in 14 games this season.

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
Borussia Dortmund 2, Ajax 2
Man of the Match: Jude Bellingham
Why: Without Erling Haaland, Bellingham can definitely take the stage. Trust in the English jewel in midfield.

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: 
Borussia Dortmund 2, Ajax 2
Man of the Match: Sébastien Haller
Why: Another goal fest but this time a draw as the Frenchman adds to his growing tally.

James Benge
Pick: 
Borussia Dortmund 0, Ajax 2
Man of the Match: Dušan Tadić  
Why: Ajax are guffaw-inducingly good, their man of the match could be any one of half a dozen players but why not give it to their chance creator in chief Dušan Tadić, the man with more expected assists than Wolfsburg or Lille.

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: 
Borussia Dortmund 1, Ajax 3
Man of the Match: Antony
Why: Antony continues to absolutely explode as Ajax prove that last matchday’s domination of Dortmund was no fluke.  

Sheriff vs. Inter Milan

Time: Wednesday, 4 p.m. ET (Paramount+)    

Featured Game | Sheriff Tiraspol vs. Inter Milan

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
Sheriff 1, Inter Milan 3
Man of the Match: Joaquin Correa
Why: He should be a factor as a starter or of the bench after his eight-minute brace in Inter 2-0 win in last game vs. Udinese

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
Sheriff 0, Inter Milan 1
Man of the Match: Lautaro Martínez
Why: When there is a desperate need for win, he always answers present. Lautaro for Inter is crucial.

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: 
Sheriff 1, Inter Milan 1
Man of the Match: Edin Džeko
Why: The veteran Bosnian to rescue his side in tricky circumstances.

James Benge
Pick: 
Sheriff 2, Inter Milan 1
Man of the Match: Giorgos Athanasiadis
Why: On familiar ground Sheriff can tighten Inter up as they did to Shakhtar and take a giant step towards the last 16. It’ll require some high grade goalkeeping but we’ve seen that before from Athanasiadis.

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: 
Sheriff 0, Inter Milan 2
Man of the Match: Edin Džeko
Why: Sheriff are a great story but Dzeko will just be too physically dominant for them as he scores the goal to put Inter up.

Liverpool vs. Atletico Madrid

Time: Wednesday, 4 p.m. ET (Paramount+)    

Featured Game | Liverpool vs. Atlético Madrid

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
Liverpool 2, Atletico Madrid 1
Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah
Why: His remarkable 10-game scoring run came to an end against Brighton, but expect him to start a new streak again.

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
Liverpool 2, Atletico Madrid 2
Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah
Why: Salah is the strongest footballer in the world today, Klopp said. A question of form. Amazing.

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: 
Liverpool 2, Atletico Madrid 1
Man of the Match: Sadio Mané
Why: The Senegalese will excel as Klopp’s men get the better of the Spaniards.

James Benge
Pick: 
Liverpool 2, Atletico Madrid 0
Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah
Why: If Liverpool don’t take their foot off the gas — which they have been doing too often of late — then they have more than enough quality to cruise past Atletico.

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: 
Liverpool 2, Atletico Madrid 1
Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah
Why: His run of fine form continues as he once again puts defenders in the blender as he scores on his way to carrying Liverpool to a win.

Manchester City vs. Club Brugge

Time: Wednesday, 4 p.m. ET (Paramount+)    

Featured Game | Manchester City vs. Club Brugge

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
Manchester City 3, Club Brugge 0
Man of the Match: Riyad Mahrez
Why: He netted twice in Belgium and should start here after coming off the bench at the weekend.

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
Manchester City 3, Club Brugge 0
Man of the Match: Bernardo Silva
Why: Silva’s growth has cost him, in the summer he wanted to leave and instead now he has taken back Man City.

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: 
Manchester City 3, Club Brugge 0
Man of the Match: Bernardo Silva
Why: Expect a reaction from City after their Palace embarrassment with the Portuguese on song.

James Benge
Pick: 
Manchester City 3, Club Brugge 0
Man of the Match: Gabriel Jesus
Why: Stick a pin on the Manchester City team sheet and you’ll probably find a match-winning attack for this game, so why not pick Jesus on this occasion.

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: 
Manchester City 4, Club Brugge 0
Man of the Match: Phil Foden
Why: Brugge are the perfect opponent for Foden to figure out how to make the false 9 position his own.  

RB Leipzig vs. PSG

Time: Wednesday, 4 p.m. ET (Paramount+)  

Featured Game | RB Leipzig vs. PSG

Thomas Rongen
Pick: 
RB Leipzig 2, PSG 2
Man of the Match: Angel Di Maria
Why: He will return from European suspension and had a assist and netted the winner in last game vs Lille.

Fabrizio Romano
Pick: 
RB Leipzig 1, PSG 2
Man of the Match: Kylian Mbappé
Why: He’s the man who needs to make the difference, especially if Lionel Messi is not available.

Jonathan Johnson
Pick: 
RB Leipzig 1, PSG 1
Man of the Match: Neymar
Why: The Brazilian to finally turn it on to save PSG a point in Germany against a motivated home side who know that this is last chance saloon.

James Benge
Pick: 
RB Leipzig 0, PSG 2
Man of the Match: Kylian Mbappé
Why: Mbappé should be fit and firing coming into this game and if any player would relish the chance to get at a high Leipzig line it’s the Frenchman.

Mike L. Goodman
Pick: 
RB Leipzig 2, PSG 2
Man of the Match: Christopher Nkunku
Why: Nkunku showed spark in the reverse fixture, look for him to grab an important goal here.


Thanks for checking us out, and good luck with your picks!





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