The Champions League makes its return this week as the group phase gets underway with RB Leipzig hosting Istanbul Basaksehir to open up group G. Julian Nagelsmann led Leipzig to the semi-finals in only their second season in the competition. Their only previous appearance was in 2017/18 when failing to get out of their group. Their run in last season's competition ended with a 3-0 loss to PSG. Istanbul will make their bow in this competition in Germany after winning the Turkey Super Lig last season but they have been involved recently in the Europa League losing out to Copenhagen at the start of August in the last-16.
Leipzig find themselves top of the Bundesliga after a 2-0 win over Augsburg on Saturday left them with 10 points from their first four games and the team are unbeaten in five matches since their semi-final defeat to PSG back in August. At the back they have conceded just two goals at the start of this season whilst scoring 13 times and have won both of their home games so far this campaign by a combined 7-1 score-line. In a group consisting of PSG and Manchester United, a win against new boys Basaksehir will be pivotal to Leipzig's hopes of progressing to the knockout stages again. The German side won their opening group game last season away to Benfica but were beaten by Lyon, 2-0, in their first home match of the group stage. They went on to win two of their three matches at the Red Bull Arena with a win over Tottenham Hotspur in the knockout rounds of the competition and have only lost one of their last 19 games at home in all competitions since Lyon's win over a year ago.
Debutants Istanbul Basaksehir make their bow off the back of a Super Lig triumph which guaranteed their entry into the group phase of the Champions League but they have made a slow start this campaign. A 2-0 win over Trabzonspor at the weekend was their first league win in five games after three consecutive defeats to start the season. Stretching back to July for the latter stages of last season Istanbul had gone seven games without a win before Saturday's win and it came on the road which ended a five-game losing run on their travels. Basaksehir lost two but won two of their Europa League away games last season including a 2-1 win in Germany over Borussia Monchengladbach but given the contrasting starts to life this campaign for either team I can only see this game going one way.
Istanbul put up a good showing in the Europa League last year and managed to make it to the last-16 but at this level I don't expect much from the Turkish champions. Nagelsmann has Leipzig motoring and they have picked up where they left off from last year. I'm expecting a comfortable win for RB here and I'm tipping a home win with a -1 handicap.