Julian Nagelsmann promised to enjoy Bayern Munich's 3-0 win at Barcelona with "a couple of drinks" as he pointed to how obviously the hosts are missing Lionel Messi.

Argentine great Messi played 149 Champions League games for Barcelona, scoring 120 goals and claiming 35 assists, but his switch to Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer in August has left a void.

Without him, Barcelona offered little going forward and failed to get a shot on target, the first time they have posed such a meek threat in a Champions League game since at least 2003-04, Opta said.

When they were thumped 8-2 by Bayern in the Champions League quarter-finals 13 months ago, Barcelona at least had five shots on target, with Messi managing two of those.

"In different moments, Lionel Messi would have helped in special things," said Bayern head coach Nagelsmann. "It's obvious a big player left the club, but still it's a very strong team.

"We played strong defence. We changed towards the second half as well and in the second half we were definitely a bit better in control and built better chances. We certainly had the space to get more chances."

Thomas Muller gave Bayern a half-time lead and Robert Lewandowski grabbed a double after the break to make it a cruise to victory for the German champions.

Nagelsmann arrived from Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig in the close season as successor to Hansi Flick and relished the moment of victory, which he planned to enjoy for the rest of the evening.

He described it as "a great start" and said Bayern would push to be "one of the top contenders" to be champions.

"I didn't ask in the hotel if they have proper glasses, but we're going to enjoy this win with a couple of drinks," he said.

"Winning the first game in the Champions League is always important, especially at a new club."

Asked about the evergreen prowess of veterans Muller and Lewandowski, Nagelsmann said: "I'm super happy to have these world stars on my team. It's great to work with them.

"Thomas is like a playing co-trainer who knows so much about football and tries to pass on those experiences to other players."

Lewandowski has scored in his last 18 appearances for Bayern, netting 29 goals in a run that stretches back to February in all competitions.

In the last three seasons since the start of the 2019-20 season, Lewandowski has scored 113 goals in 93 appearances for Bayern – 36 more than any other player in Europe's big five leagues in that time (Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo on 76 goals each).

He said that Lewandowski "just doesn't stop".

"And there's a definite reason why he scores so many goals," Nagelsmann said. "His whole life is directed to being a professional athlete and you can see that on the pitch."

Paulo Dybala expressed his desire to resolve his contract renewal with Juventus after helping the Serie A giants defeat Malmo in their Champions League opener.

Dybala scored Juve's second from the penalty spot in Tuesday's 3-0 victory as they coasted to a sixth consecutive group-stage away win and maintained their perfect record against Swedish opposition in Europe.

However, with less than a year left on Dybala's contract, there is the possibility that the 27-year-old could depart on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Juve vice-president Pavel Nedved sees the former Palermo star as a central piece to his project and reassured that his side are confident of reaching an agreement – a sentiment Dybala echoed on Tuesday.

"My renewal? I always try to give my best," Dybala provided a post-match update to Sport Mediaset.

"The parties are talking, there are great expectations from everyone. We hope for a good ending.

"I'm happy to score. It helps me psychologically, it makes me play calmly, with serenity, to help the team. Today we won and I'm very happy.

"We were returning from bad performances, the results did not support us, but we knew that this is another competition and what to do. We did it, playing with serenity, as a great team. Now we must continue on this."

Bayern Munich were disappointed only to beat Barcelona 3-0 at Camp Nou, again proving far too strong for their Champions League rivals.

The sides met for the first time since Bayern's sensational 8-2 success 13 months earlier, a victory in the quarter-finals that broke all manner of records.

The final scoreline was slightly more respectable for Barca this time, yet they were completely outclassed again by the Bundesliga champions on Tuesday.

Ronald Koeman's Barca did not muster a single shot on target for the first time in a Champions League match since Opta records began in 2003-04.

At the other end, Bayern were rampant, led by Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski.

Lewandowski scored twice after Muller's opener maintained his outstanding record against Barca, now standing at seven goals from six matches.

No player in Champions League history has more goals against Barca – Muller passed Ukraine great Andriy Shevchenko's five in the 8-2.

"We didn't allow much at the back, and up front we could have scored one or two more goals," Muller told Amazon.

"Playing here is just fun, the guys enjoyed it. If you win 3-0 here, that's a very important signal. We are very happy."

Muller was asked to explain why he scores so regularly against Barca, having netted once every 73 minutes in their Champions League meetings, converting seven of 16 shots.

"That's because Barcelona are a playful team, and as an attacking player, you get a little more space than against defensive blocks," he said. "But you can say that I like to score against Barca."

Muller was not alone in enjoying himself on Tuesday, however, as one of nine Bayern players to share 17 shots between them.

Bayern star Joshua Kimmich, who attempted one and created three, said: "We didn't get into the game that easily. The longer the game went on, the more we got control.

"We then happily make it 1-0 because it was a bit lucky. Nevertheless, we were already the better team in the first half. We could have won by even more.

"We let the ball run properly, although we still made a few simple mistakes. The bottom line is that we can be satisfied."

Massimiliano Allegri admitted there was increased pressure on Juventus in Tuesday's Champions League opener but expressed relief after coasting past Malmo 3-0.

Juve were winless in their first three Serie A games but eased to a sixth straight group-stage away win as they continued their unbeaten run against Swedish opposition in Europe.

Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala were both on the scoresheet as the visitors opened the Champions League with a win by a three-plus goal margin for just the second time, the other against Feyenoord in 1997-98.

And Allegri, who returned to the helm in Europe with his side for the first time since April 2019, was relieved following a fixture which came with added pressure due to their poor start.

"When you play in the Champions League, there is always some tension in the build-up, especially when playing away from home," Allegri told Sport Mediaset.

"There was naturally a little more pressure after three Serie A games in which we didn’t do that well.

"The lads played well on a technical level, we could’ve done better with some situations in the first half. We need to improve, but this doesn’t change the work we started on July 14.

"The psychological aspect is 90 per cent of sport, because when you make individual errors like we did so far this season, it makes us see things negatively.

"Results affect the way your work is judged, but we must do well to retain a balance both in defeat and above all in success."

The Bianconeri's sixth straight group-stage away win stretching back to last season extended upon what was already their longest such run.

Morata has scored six goals in his last six away games in the competition – as many as he had netted in his previous 22 – and he insisted Juve were not worried despite their winless run.

"No, we went through various situations here at Juventus, there weren't as many positive things as now," Morata responded to Sport Mediaset post-match when asked if his side were concerned ahead of Tuesday.

"You have to take the good, be positive as a team, as a club, as fans. You have to go on along the same lines.

"We had a serious match, both today and with Napoli, but sometimes football is like that, episodes make you draw or even lose. Today it was essential to win. Now let's put our heads back on the championship."

Romelu Lukaku's winner showed why Chelsea signed him, according to Thomas Tuchel after his side defeated Zenit 1-0 in their Champions League opener.

Lukaku's first European goal for the Blues proved the difference as they made it 12 group-stage games without defeat on Tuesday.

The Belgium forward now has four goals in three games against Russian opponents and only Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland and Bruno Fernandes have scored more than Lukaku's 14 European goals since the start of 2019-20 when he signed for Inter.

Tuchel splashed a club-record fee on the former Manchester United striker but he insisted that performances like this outing justify the transfer.

"It was an excellent header [from Lukaku for the goal], a well-timed cross by [Cesar] Azpilicueta," Tuchel told BT Sport post-match.

"He was brave enough to step up and we had bodies in the box. That's why he [Lukaku] is here. He likes to score and he's decisive for us."

In the history of the competition, only on two out of 28 occasions have the reigning champions lost the opener and no title defender has ever been beaten at home in their first group-stage tie.

Only Manchester City (11) have won more Champions League matches than Chelsea (10) since the start of last season and Tuchel was happy with his side's start to Group H.

"We had to be at our top level," the head coach continued. "I am happy because we had to work a lot. It was not easy. It's tough to perform consistently at that level.

"We expected a tough game because it's the highest competition in Europe and it's the Russian champions. It took us a while to make them tired but I liked what I saw.

"Winning is good for our belief. We are not finished but we are in a good place to improve.

"The first step is done. But there are five more matches to go [in the group stage]."

"It's shameful," a shellshocked Gerard Pique said in the aftermath of Barcelona's 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich. "Shame is the word."

The sentiment was different on Tuesday, as Barca at least this time battled, but Bayern were comfortable again, 3-0 winners in the Champions League at Camp Nou.

The Blaugrana's remarkable August 2020 humiliation was so significant because these sides were supposed to be rivals of a similar standard. Thirteen months on to the day, Bayern were backed to win big again. The only surprise was that Barca limited their opponents to three.

The Catalan club eventually heeded Pique's calls for "changes at all levels" – new president, new coach, new team – but it is tough to sincerely suggest this is a better outfit, even if they have a little more fight.

While Pique was one of six players in the XI remaining from the line-up in Lisbon, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were among the five to make way. Antoine Griezmann, called off the bench in the quarter-final, has also now departed. Those three outstanding attackers accounted for Barca's seven shots in that tie.

Instead, Luuk de Jong debuted on Tuesday, with Barca still searching for a post-Messi formula. Griezmann was one of two players to have moved on from Barcelona since starting their previous match at the end of August.

Perhaps Ronald Koeman deserves credit then for forging some sort of coherent unit in the interim. A three-man defence made Ronald Araujo a star in the opening stages as he battled Leroy Sane, helping Barca reach the 31-minute mark unbreached – the 2019-20 clash brought a record four Bayern goals in the same period.

But pressure was building and the breakthrough followed three minutes later as Araujo's defensive colleague Eric Garcia turned his back to a long-range Thomas Muller attempt and inadvertently deflected the ball beyond Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Koeman, coach of the Netherlands when Barcelona were taking their drubbing last year, told this week of how "several players suffered a lot" in Portugal, possibly explaining a reluctance to come out of their shell after going behind.

Revenge had been on the Barca boss's mind as he discussed looking "for our style to hurt the opposition", but that felt optimistic here. Before and after the opener on Tuesday, Dayot Upamecano dominated De Jong and Memphis Depay, winning nine of 15 duels, making four tackles and four interceptions.

Bayern have now won eight of 12 games against Barca but rarely can they have been so clearly superior, not tallying an eye-catching score but controlling proceedings with a conviction that the five-time European champions lacked the attacking talent to trouble them. The hosts did not muster a shot on target in a Champions League game for the first time since at least 2003-04, Opta said.

That gulf should not have come as news to Koeman, even if he wore a concerned expression when Robert Lewandowski stabbed in a simple second, Alphonso Davies' shot having been blocked and Jamal Musiala's follow-up striking the post. Offering some of his more sobering thoughts earlier this week, Koeman had pondered: "Can you get back to the level where you will really win Champions Leagues and be the best in Spain for years in a row? That is not the case at the moment. Let's hope that it will come again."

The crowd appear to have come to terms with the same realism. Having been absent when Barca's oldest Champions League XI played out the previous meeting, they stuck with a team that featured four teenagers by full-time. The veteran Pique was still on the pitch, too, to hopelessly fall at the feet of Lewandowski following another rebound five minutes from the end, giving the forward time to find the net once more.

Pique led the applause in a show of appreciation for those supporters at the final whistle, as attention now turns to simply getting out of the group. It is a modest ambition, but this is the first time Barca have lost a Champions League opener since 1997-98.

Beyond that, the financial rewards surely provide more achievable aims than the prizes on offer for Bayern and Co. Revenge in this fixture will have to wait. For how long, who knows?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt Manchester United should have been awarded a penalty in their 2-1 Champions League loss to Young Boys, but blamed the defeat on a lack of concentration.

United appeared to be heading for a routine victory when Cristiano Ronaldo, who matched former Real Madrid team-mate Iker Casillas' record with his 177th Champions League appearance, put them ahead in the 13th minute.

The goal made Young Boys the 36th different side Ronaldo has scored against in the Champions League, a record he now shares with Lionel Messi.

However, the game turned when Aaron Wan-Bissaka received a straight red card late in the first half for his foul on Christopher Martins Pereira.

United saw another decision go against them when Ronaldo went down under the challenge of Mohamed Camara, with referee Francois Letexier waving away his claims.

Young Boys made their personnel advantage count soon after through Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu's 66th-minute strike.

The Group F clash looked set for a draw, yet there was a final twist as a misjudged backpass from Jesse Lingard, who replaced Ronaldo in the 72nd minute, was pounced on by Jordan Siebatcheu to seal a famous win with the last kick of the game.

Asked about Ronaldo, Solskjaer said: "You can never be surprised by the man, he scored another goal, he should have had a penalty and sending off the other way. 

"He pounced on that mistake. He's exceptional but we have to look after him and it felt like the right moment to take him off."

On the penalty appeal, he added: "He shoves him with his arm and he's one-on-one with the keeper but [the referee] probably didn't do it as he'd have had to send him off and that's sometimes what you get with young refs."

Solskjaer, though, accepted United were the architects of their own downfall as they suffered another damaging away Champions League defeat akin to losses to Istanbul Basaksehir and RB Leipzig last season.

"Lack of concentration, make mistakes and you get punished," Solskjaer explained. "You get done. We did that last year, we conceded two sloppy counter-attacks against Basaksehir and lost that game in the last seconds today.

"Jesse wants to play it safe and misplaces the pass, concedes the goal, that happens in football. If Jesse gets that chance again he turns, swivels and boots the ball the other way. Discipline is a huge part of the game. Aaron's normally a very, very astute tackler, one of the best in the world.

"We know we've given ourselves a more difficult task, we did last year when everyone thought we were through after two games.

"You need 10 or 12 points, win your home games, one away from home. We've lost the opportunity to get three points but we've got two home games next and got to focus on those two."

Barcelona lost their opening Champions League match for the first time in 23 seasons as a Thomas Muller strike and Robert Lewandowski's brace earned Bayern Munich a 3-0 win on Tuesday.

The hosts were seeking revenge following their 8-2 loss against the same opponents in the 2019-20 quarter-finals, but Bayern proved far too strong once again in the Group E opener between the two heavyweights.

Muller opened the scoring in that humbling defeat for Barca 13 months ago and did likewise in the first half at Camp Nou before Lewandowski's simple finish gave Bayern breathing space early in the second period.

Lewandowski doubled his tally late on to seal a routine win that moves the German champions into top spot after the first round of fixtures, while Barca sit bottom after Dynamo Kyiv and Benfica played out a goalless draw.

Sergi Roberto was one of six players in Barca's line-up from the memorable previous clash between the sides and the wing-back blasted over a good chance in what was a bright start from the hosts.

Bayern soon started to get to grips with the game and would have been ahead if not for Marc-Andre ter Stegen's one-handed save to keep out a powerful Leroy Sane drive.

Barca relied on some last-ditch defending to keep them level, but Muller found a way through after 34 minutes with a shot from outside the box that took a heavy deflection off Eric Garcia and left Ter Stegen wrong-footed.

Ter Stegen was again required early in the second half to keep out a low Sane shot after the winger, who had set up Muller's goal, waltzed his way through as Bayern pushed for a second.

That duly arrived after 56 minutes when Jamal Musiala's shot cannoned back off the post and Lewandowski was in the perfect position to prod the rebound into an unguarded net using the bottom of his boot.

Bayern were eager to add a third and they did so five minutes from time through Lewandowski, the prolific striker converting another rebound after Serge Gnabry this time rattled the post.

Barcelona lost their opening Champions League match for the first time in 23 seasons as a Thomas Muller strike and Robert Lewandowski's brace earned Bayern Munich a 3-0 win on Tuesday.

The hosts were seeking revenge following their 8-2 loss against the same opponents in the 2019-20 quarter-finals, but Bayern proved far too strong once again in the Group E opener between the two heavyweights.

Muller opened the scoring in that humbling defeat for Barca 13 months ago and did likewise in the first half at Camp Nou before Lewandowski's simple finish gave Bayern breathing space early in the second period.

Lewandowski doubled his tally late on to seal a routine win that moves the German champions into top spot after the first round of fixtures, while Barca sit bottom after Dynamo Kyiv and Benfica played out a goalless draw.

Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata were on target as Juventus cruised to a 3-0 victory over Malmo in Tuesday's Champions League Group H opener.

Alex Sandro was the unlikely scorer of the opening goal before Dybala added a second from the penalty spot after a foul on Morata, who netted a third on the stroke of half-time.

Substitute Moise Kean rounded Ismael Diawara in the second half, only for Juve to be denied a fourth goal by the offside flag as Malmo struggled in their first group-stage appearance since 2015-16.

Massimiliano Allegri, who led Juve to the final in 2014-15 and again two seasons later, may be winless so far in Serie A on his return to Turin but his side started their continental campaign impressively.

Dybala spurned a glorious early opportunity as he slipped and wastefully fired over when through one-on-one with Diawara before Soren Rieks volleyed narrowly over for Malmo.

The hosts looked bright, but it was Alex Sandro who broke the deadlock after 23 minutes with a diving header into the bottom-left corner after Juan Cuadrado's delivery clipped Rodrigo Bentancur and found the left-back.

Alex Sandro should have doubled his account but angled wide before Dybala rolled his spot-kick down the middle following Lasse Nielsen's drag down on Morata in the final minutes of the half.

Morata joined in on the act moments later, the Spain forward racing through before fortuitously chipping over the incoming Diawara as Juve scored three first-half Champions League goals for the first time since 2012.

After the break, Morata searched for a second but could only power wide before seeing his left-footed drive denied by Diawara's smart reflex save after Dybala's intelligent flick-on.

Kean, who was slotted in by fellow substitute Weston McKennie, thought he had scored a fourth but was offside as Juve coasted towards their first win and the final whistle at the Eleda Stadion.

Romelu Lukaku scored his first Champions League goal for Chelsea as the holders started their title defence with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Zenit.

In Champions League history, the trophy holders have only lost their first game of the subsequent campaign on two of 27 previous occasions. Although Chelsea limited Zenit to little going the other way in this tussle, it looked as though Thomas Tuchel's side would be frustrated at Stamford Bridge.

Yet club-record signing Lukaku followed up his double against Aston Villa with a towering 69th-minute header to get the Blues up and running in Group H.

It proved decisive, but Zenit should have levelled – substitute Artem Dzyuba unable to convert from five yards out as Chelsea's profligacy went unpunished.

Despite a dominant start, Chelsea were caught cold defensively in the 12th minute, with Reece James just managing to block Claudinho's path to goal.

The trend continued, Chelsea prodding and probing without any sign of a breakthrough, Yaroslav Rakitskiy's tame 38th-minute effort marking the only attempt on target in the first half, before Lukaku headed James' cross over.

It took defender Antonio Rudiger to spark the crowd into life with a charging 50-yard run, the Germany international sending his shot just wide from the edge of the area.

Rudiger made a vital intervention at the other end, timing a challenge on Sardar Azmoun – who was heading through on goal – to perfection.

Chelsea made Rudiger's work count, Cesar Azpilicueta floating in a cross that Lukaku directed powerfully into the left corner.

Marcos Alonso drilled wide as Chelsea looked for a second, though parity should have been restored moments later.

Azmoun squared to his strike partner Dzyuba, only for the Russia forward to slice wide on the slide and let Chelsea off the hook.

Carlo Ancelotti is hoping to make history by landing a fourth Champions League title this season but is unsure where his Real Madrid rank among the favourites to win the competition.

The experienced Italian coach is level with Liverpool great Bob Paisley and former Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane with three triumphs in the competition previously known as the European Cup.

Ancelotti famously ended Madrid's 12-year wait for 'La Decima' – a 10th European crown – when beating Atletico Madrid 4-1 in the 2013-14 final in Lisbon.

Los Blancos went on to win the competition in three successive seasons under Zidane, during which time Ancelotti was boss of Bayern Munich and Napoli, before a spell with Everton.

Back at the Santiago Bernabeu since June, Ancelotti is out to become the most successful ever coach in the continental competition, having also twice gone all the way with Milan.

"It's a great motivation," he said at a news conference previewing Wednesday's opening group game against Inter.

"But the biggest motivation of all is to come back and win with Real Madrid. The joy is to go to Valdebebas every day to coach the team.

"For me this competition is special. I also won it as a player and I have excellent memories, especially winning Madrid's 10th. It is a fresh and special memory."

Ancelotti's 76 per cent win rate across his 25 Champions League games with Madrid is the best of any coach at a single club to have managed at least 20 matches.

He will be looking to build on that return on Wednesday when Madrid travel to San Siro for their much-anticipated Group D opener with Italian champions Inter.

Los Blancos will fancy their chances of advancing from a group that also contains Shakhtar Donetsk and debutants Sheriff Tiraspol, but trickier tests would then lie in wait.

Paris Saint-Germain are the trophy favourites of many after adding Lionel Messi to their ranks, while Bayern Munich and England's four-strong contingent are also much-fancied.

"It's hard to say whether we can be considered among the favourites," Ancelotti said when asked where his side currently rank among Europe's elite clubs.

"What I can say is that Madrid will be competitive all the way. To say whether we're favourites is too difficult. We'll just try to fight for everything."

Madrid have won only one of their previous eight away games against Inter in European competition, though that victory came in last season's group stage.

Both teams have a new head coach in the dugout 10 months on from that previous encounter, with Simone Inzaghi replacing Antonio Conte at Inter ahead of this season.

Inter dropped their first points of the season on Sunday with a 2-2 draw against Sampdoria, while Madrid saw off Celta Vigo 5-2 to make it three wins from four this term.

"Inter are doing well so far," Ancelotti said. "We did well in our last game against Celta, but tomorrow will be another story. It's a competition that gives Madrid great sensations.

"We know it will be complicated. Inter have a new coach but the structure is the same. We'll try to control the game and play to our best.

"They have lost important players but have also signed some important players. They are a team that play good football. It will be an open and competitive match."

Ancelotti also confirmed that full-back Marcelo will play no part against Inter because of an injury, while Gareth Bale also remains absent.

A night of Champions League history for Cristiano Ronaldo ended in a stunning twist as Young Boys staged a memorable fightback to beat 10-man Manchester United 2-1 in Group F.

United appeared set for a routine victory in Berne when Ronaldo, who had scored twice on his second debut for the club against Newcastle United on Saturday, put them ahead in the 13th minute.

But Aaron Wan-Bissaka's red card late in the first half gave Young Boys hope, which was realised when Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu levelled matters with a 66th-minute strike.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men looked set to emerge with a creditable point having defended for close to an hour a man down, yet there was a remarkable late twist as Jesse Lingard misjudged a backpass and Jordan Siebatcheu slotted past David de Gea to secure a famous result for the Swiss side.

Karim Benzema insisted Real Madrid are not overly dependent on his goals as Carlo Ancelotti's men prepare to face Inter in Wednesday's Champions League clash.

Madrid open their campaign with a trip to San Siro, having won just one of their previous eight away games against Inter in European competition.

Benzema, who is set to feature in his 17th consecutive Champions League, needs just one goal to overtake Raul and become the all-time fourth highest scorer in the competition.

However, the forward deflected questions as to whether his side are too reliant on his output and chose to focus on the team dynamic of Los Blancos.

"Real Madrid are a very strong team," Benzema said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference. "What I need to do is try to help my team with assists and goals. We have to win something and that is a collective effort.

"The Champions League is a different competition and we must try to do everything to win games.

"It's the most important competition. There are favourites, but something different often happens on the pitch, we have a good team and we will fight to win this Champions [League]."

Benzema also quashed suggestions that Madrid's new front three, which he has formed recently with Eden Hazard and Vinicius Junior, could recreate what he had with Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"I don't know, together we have done many things and many goals and that trident will remain in history," Benzema said.

"Vini [Vinicius Junior] is a strong player, he has grown and in this beginning of LaLiga he is scoring a lot. I am always by his side, I talk to him, if I can I talk to him and advise him because he is a top player.

"Now, however, let's think about today, about scoring and winning games."

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe could feature together for the first time when Paris Saint-Germain tackle Club Brugge, Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed.

How the superstar trio perform as a unit could define PSG's season and Pochettino's reign with the French giants, after Messi's shock switch from Barcelona.

Some observers harbour concerns that fielding three such forwards together could leave PSG exposed in other areas. Yet if they click, then PSG could be a rampant force in the Champions League, the tournament they dearly want to win.

Asked if he would select all three on Wednesday in PSG's European opener, Pochettino said: "Maybe, yes. It is possible."

There is little doubt PSG have three of the world's best forwards, but developing a winning team around them is the challenge facing their Argentine head coach.

Speaking in the pre-game news conference, Pochettino was asked whether he was excited about the prospect of the three front players teaming up.

"I will have to get on board all the excitement because I know how excited everyone is," he said. "I would be crazy to think otherwise."

Across the last four Champions League campaigns, only six players have been directly involved in 30-plus goals in the competition, and Pochettino can call on three of those in Mbappe (37 involvements), Messi (36) and Neymar (31).

If Messi plays a part, he will be making his 150th Champions League appearance after previously turning out 149 times for Barcelona, scoring 120 goals and providing 35 assists so far.

However PSG eventually line up, their Belgian hosts may be privately fearing the worst. That is because the last time Club Brugge hosted the Parisians, they were beaten 5-0 in the 2019-20 Champions League – this remains Brugge's heaviest home defeat in European competition. Mauro Icardi scored twice, while Mbappe came on as a substitute and grabbed a hat-trick.

Pochettino knows many expect his team to be major challengers for Champions League glory this season, but he believes holders Chelsea will take some stopping. He also rates the London outfit, coached by former PSG boss Thomas Tuchel, as a model that PSG should look to follow.

"Chelsea are the holders and they are the team to beat, if there is one," Pochettino said. "They have also strengthened by signing good players and have spent a lot more money than Paris Saint-Germain.

"We are not a team yet. We are a club that has recruited many players this summer. There are some very big names, but we have to turn into a team in the way that Chelsea did last season.

"Chelsea are the team to beat because they achieved their targets. We are a group of players that need to achieve the target of becoming a solid team in order to get the results that we want.

"There are no timeframes. At Paris Saint-Germain, you will be judged on the results that you achieve. There is always pressure at every club and in this case at PSG the club has been targeting a dream for many years of winning the Champions League, and that is something that we cannot deny."

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