Although we're only halfway through Matchday 2 of the 2014/15 Champions League, some clubs should already begin to worry about their chances in the competition.
It's still too early to hit the panic button and issue a red alert; however, with that said, a few of Tuesday's results are cause for concern. The group stage is only six matches long, so clubs can't exactly give it four or five matches to finally get things going.
Below you'll see the results from the eight UCL matches on Tuesday, followed by how the landscape looks in the four groups.
Matchday 2 Results
|E||CSKA Moscow||0-1||Bayern Munich|
Bayern Munich remain in the driver's seat after beating CSKA Moscow 1-0 in the Arena Khimki. That scoreline might not look too impressive at first glance, but winning in Moscow is no easy task.
Manager Pep Guardiola also felt that his team did well to score against a team clearly throwing everything into defense, per Richard van Poortvliet of UEFA.com:
We knew it wouldn't be easy. Our opponents basically defended with ten men. They only had [Ahmed] Musa, who Xabi Alonso was taking care of, up front. Nevertheless, they had two very good chances. In the Champions League victories never come easily. We are happy that we were able to earn these three points.
With matches in the Stadio Olimpico and the Etihad Stadium to come, getting three points here was important for Bayern. They can afford a minor slip-up in one of those two fixtures and likely still finish first in Group E.
Manchester City, on the other hand, are likely beginning to feel the pressure. Losing 1-0 on the road to Bayern is understandable, but drawing 1-1 at home with Roma will make many question the club's Champions League ceiling.
ESPN FC's John Brewin was critical of City's performance:
At this early juncture, this was always going to be a key match in Group E. City looked staid, lacking in freshness and were held off by excellent opponents who were well-organised by one of the continent's burgeoning coaches. Garcia could conceivably find himself eyed by City's powerbrokers one day. The whirlwind with which City blew teams away for much of last season was becalmed, as it has been too often in this season. David Silva's late chance in injury time was close, but there had been too few such moments of creation from Pellegrini's team.
He also argued that "a club that has spent beyond a billion pounds should be doing better in this competition by now." It's a fair assessment all things considered.
Roma remain unbeaten in Serie A and the Champions League. They look like they could pull off a Dortmund-like run to the final. In addition, they're bound to get stronger when Kevin Strootman makes his eventual return from injury, per Ian Herbert of The Independent:
Roma's next match against Bayern at home will reveal a lot about their European prospects.
Playing APOEL, Ajax had a great chance to make up some ground on Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona. Instead, the Dutch champions did themselves no favors by picking up a 1-1 draw.
Going into Cyprus and winning isn't easy, but for Ajax to get out of this group, they needed to take maximum points from their two matches against APOEL.
The four-time European champions haven't made the round of 16 in the Champions League since 2005/06, and that dry spell will likely continue this season.
The biggest surprise of the day was Paris Saint-Germain's 3-2 win over Barcelona. The French champions are currently fourth in Ligue 1, five points behind Marseille, and manager Laurent Blanc is under serious pressure to start delivering results.
He did exactly that on Tuesday, which Jonathan Johnson, Bleacher Report's resident Ligue 1 expert, thinks will give Blanc a stay of execution:
The most impressive aspect of PSG's victory was the fact that Zlatan Ibrahimovic was absent. Edinson Cavani did well playing through the center, with Lucas Moura and Javier Pastore helping on the wings.
Considering the amount of money that's been invested into the club, anything less than a Champions League semifinal run would be a disappointment for Paris Saint-Germain. Although Tuesday's match doesn't prove that PSG is the best club in Europe at the moment, they're working their way to that point.
Barca shouldn't get too concerned with the result. They're almost guaranteed to finish first or second in the group. Topping Group G would likely ensure getting an easier draw in the round of 16, though.
It didn't come easy, but Chelsea walked away with three points on Tuesday. The Blues went top of Group G, and should remain there from here on out. Schalke have struggled in their Bundesliga campaign, while neither Sporting nor Maribor look viable threats to finish first.
Diego Costa didn't look great against Sporting, but the Blues' midfield was spectacular. Both Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic controlled the center of the pitch, while the attacking trio of Andre Schurrle, Oscar and Eden Hazard was a constant threat for the Sporting back line.
Portuguese football expert Tom Kundert felt that the Chelsea were the deserved winners:
With Schalke, Maribor and Sporting all within a point of one another, it's anybody's guess as to who will finish second. Before Tuesday, you would've said Schalke, but their 1-1 home draw to Maribor gives you a little pause.
The German side entered the match coming off back-to-back league wins against Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund. Now, all of that momentum is stalled for the time being. Schalke get Sporting at home in their next Champions League match, which will likely establish the Group G hierarchy.
Much like Group G, Group H is extremely hard to call. Athletic, who looked to be the second-best team in the group after the draw was made, sits in last place after two matchdays. They really put themselves behind the eight ball with a loss to BATE Borisov.
Manager Ernesto Valverde spoke to Canal Plus, via Goal, after the match and offered a withering criticism of his team.
"We have no chance [of qualifying] if we play like today. We can't get to the last 16 playing like that," he said. "We had no intensity, I was desperately disappointed. We lost every single duel."
Athletic can't exactly count on an immediate turnaround, either. They play Porto in the Estadio do Dragao next, and their La Liga form (four losses in six matches) is extremely worrying.
Their struggles open the door for Shakhtar Donetsk, who have some problems of their own to deal with in the form of ongoing violence in Ukraine. They can't even play Champions League home games in their own stadium.
"Of course it's hard to play away from your home," said club captain Darijo Srna, per BBC Sport. "It is currently impossible to play in Donetsk. We are worried for the city, for the stadium, for all people who live there. We just have to play for our fans to show our character."
Shakhtar have built a strong European reputation over the last few years, but if they can advance to the round of 16 this year, then it will have been their best accomplishment since winning the 2009 UEFA Cup.