GENEVA — The long-standing criticism of the Champions League group stage? Greater mutual disparities in the area of wealth gap between clubs as creating competitive imbalances.
Say Liverpool and Eintracht Frankfurt after their heavy losses on Wednesday.
Or to coaches Thomas Tuchel and Domenico Tedesco, who lost their jobs the morning after shock losses for their teams, Chelsea and Leipzig respectively.
Liverpool suffered a stunning 4-1 defeat at Napoli where the hosts racked up four goals in just 47 minutes at the stadium named after club icon Diego Maradona.
Although Jurgen Klopp’s side have only lost four games in 2022, three of them were in the Champions League, including a 1-0 win over Real Madrid in late May.
Eintracht won the Europa League title in May but the German club and the team they beat in the final, Rangers, both found it difficult to return to top-flight competition on Wednesday after a long absence. .
Eintracht were surprisingly beaten 3-0 at home by Sporting Lisbon just four days after four goals in the Bundesliga led to Tedesco’s exit from Leipzig.
Rangers were blown away in the first half before losing 4-0 at Ajax.
Robert Lewandowski is already top of the scoring after his Champions League debut for Barcelona, who beat Viktoria Plzen 5-1.
A night after Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland each scored twice for their clubs Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, Lewandowski went one better with a hat-trick.
Tottenham beat Marseille 2-0 with Brazilian forward Richarlison scoring a late header on his Champions League debut.
A remarkable 11th minute of stoppage time at Atletico Madrid saw the home side open the scoring and a penalty for 10th man Porto before Antoine Griezmann sealed a 2-1 victory.
Bayern Munich cruised to a 2-0 win at Inter Milan, where Leroy Sane opened the scoring in the first half, and Club Brugge beat struggling Bayer Leverkusen 1-0.
Four Canadians dressed in Champions League action on Wednesday.
Alphonso Davies started at full-back for Bayern Munich against Inter Milan while midfielder Stefan Eustaquio started for FC Porto against Atletico Madrid.
Former Canada captain Scott Arfeld started on the bench for Rangers against Ajax while striker Ciel Lauren was a substitute for Club Brugge against Leverkusen.
Tajon Buchanan, returning from injury, did not dress for Berg.
The sacking of two coaches kicked off the Champions League drama on Wednesday morning.
Tuchel was sacked at Chelsea just 15 months after he guided the club to their second Champions League title. The German manager’s dissatisfaction with the club was clear in interviews after Tuesday’s late 1-0 loss at Dinamo Zagreb.
Tedesco lasted just nine months at Leipzig, two years ago in the semi-finals of the Champions League, and did not miss Tuesday’s 4-1 home loss to Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine.