Champions League Predictions 2013-14: Full Picks and Top Stars for Matchday 2

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2013

GENOA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 28:  Goran Pandev (C) of SSC Napoli celebrates with his team-mates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between Genoa CFC and SSC Napoli at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on September 28, 2013 in Genoa, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Matchday 2 of the Champions League has all of the stars, excellent matches and storylines you could possible want. And if it's anything like Matchday 1, we're all in for quite the treat. 

Two of the hottest teams in Europe meet in one intriguing matchup. Two of the most stacked rosters face in another. Portuguese powerhouses, Porto and Benfica, play tough opposition in Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, respectively. 

It's going to be a lot of fun. Let's predict each game and go over a few stars to keep an eye on.


Schedule and Predictions

VERONA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 25:  Juventus players applaud fans after the Serie A match between AC Chievo Verona and Juventus at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on September 25, 2013 in Verona, Italy.  (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images)
Dino Panato/Getty Images
2:45 p.m. ETFC BaselSchalke 04Draw, 1-1 
2:45 p.m. ETSteaua BucurestiChelsea Chelsea win, 1-0
2:45 p.m. ETArsenalNapoliDraw, 1-1
2:45 p.m. ETBorussia DortmundMarseilleDortmund win, 2-0 
Noon ETZenit St PetersburgAustria ViennaZenit win, 1-0 
2:45 p.m. ETFC PortoAtletico MadridDraw, 1-1 
2:45 p.m. ETAjax AmsterdamAC MilanDraw, 1-1 
2:45 p.m. ETCelticBarcelonaBarcelona win, 3-0
2:45 p.m. ETBayer LeverkusenReal SociedadDraw, 2-2 
2:45 p.m. ETShakhtar DonetskManchester UnitedDraw, 1-1
2:45 p.m. ETJuventusGalatasarayJuventus win, 2-0 
2:45 p.m. ETReal MadridFC CopenhagenReal Madrid win, 4-0 
2:45 p.m. ETAnderlechtOlympiakosDraw, 0-0 
2:45 p.m. ETParis Saint-GermainBenficaPSG win, 2-1 
Noon ETCSKA MoscowViktoria PlzenDraw, 1-1 
2:45 p.m. ETManchester CityBayern Munich Bayern win, 2-1


Top Matches

Arsenal vs. Napoli

SWANSEA, WALES - SEPTEMBER 28:  Aaron Ramsey celebrates after scoring their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Arsenal at Liberty Stadium on September 28, 2013 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Ima
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Two of the hottest teams in Europe will square off in a key Group F contest when Napoli travel to North London to face Arsenal. 

The Gunners have won nine straight games in all competitions and are currently atop the Premier League table with 15 points after six games. Meanwhile, Napoli remain unbeaten in their first seven games (six wins, one draw) and are currently second on Serie A's table with 16 points after six games. 

New additions have been key for both squads, with Mesut Ozil sparking Arsenal's attack while Gonzalo Higuain has already chipped in four goals for Napoli. 

Arsenal are really beat upSanti Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain won't suit up—but it hasn't slowed them down yet this year. Add in the fact that they play at home, and it's hard to see the Gunners losing this one. 

But Napoli are playing wonderful football under Rafa Benitez, and have proved they can travel without issue, defeating Borussia Dortmund, 2-1, on Matchday 1. Expect a spirited, competitive game that ends in a 1-1 draw. 


Manchester City vs. Bayern Munich

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUGUST 30:  Thomas Muller of Bayern Munich celebrates with his team mates after victory during the UEFA Super Cup between Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea at Stadion Eden on August 30, 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Shaun B
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Even hosting this game, you get the feeling Manchester City will be overpowered against the mighty Bavarians. 

City have now lost to Aston Villa and Cardiff City in the Premier League, while drawing with Stoke City. For all of this team's talent—remember, they crushed Manchester United already this season, 4-1—inconsistency remains a huge concern. 

Consistency has not been a problem for Bayern Munich. The Bavarians have won 10 of their 12 games this season, drawing with SC Freiburg and losing to Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Supercup. Even on the road, Bayern Munich have to be favored against a City side that are still working out their identity under new manager Manuel Pellegrini. 

Bayern Munich win, 2-1.


Stars to Watch

Mesut Ozil, Arsenal

The aforementioned Ozil has been brilliant since joining Arsenal, with a 7.97 match rating in three Premier League games, per, and three assists in three Premier League games. Arguably Europe's best No. 10, Ozil will give Napoli all they can handle and then some. 


Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, Real Madrid

ISTANBUL, TURKEY- SEPTEMBER 17: Real Madrid's Christiano Ronaldo (C) celebrates his goal with Gareth Bale (L) during UEFA Champions League Group B match at the Ali Sami Yen Area on September 17, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images)
Burak Kara/Getty Images

Ronaldo might just earn himself another hat trick against FC Copenhagen, much as he did against Galatasaray. Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Bale every time he takes the pitch this season. A strong showing against Copenhagen would go a long way for his confidence at his new club, and given his quality, it wouldn't be surprising to see him rival Ronaldo for Man of the Match. 


Wayne Rooney, Manchester United

Rooney has been fabulous this year, the lone bright spot in a tumultuous season for United, with five goals and four assists in seven appearances. Look for him to keep the good times rolling against Shakhtar Donetsk. 


Neymar, Barcelona

With Lionel Messi out for Barcelona's match against Celtic, it's time for Neymar to step up. He's certainly made the adjustment to European football look easy, with two goals and five assists in nine appearances. Celtic won't have an answer for the electrifying Brazilian.


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