UEFA conducted it’s annual Champions League group-stage draw at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. The draw pitted some exciting ties and several sub-plots with many players and managers being pitted against their former sides.
Real Madrid face Borussia Dortmund, Bayern face PSG
Holders Real Madrid, who are looking for a historic third-successive title, are in Group H. They face a few tricky ties against Borussia Dortmund, APOEL Nicosia of Cyprus and Tottenham Hotspur. The latter sees Gareth Bale and UEFA Midfielder of the Year Luka Modrić come up against their former sides.
Premier League champions Chelsea, who are back in the competition after a one-year absence, face a tricky tie to Atlético Madrid. Diego Costa will certainly be the main talking point before that game. In addition to that, they also face AS Roma – Antonio Rudiger comes up against his former employers here. As well as this, they face competition debutants Qarabag. They are the first team from Azerbaijan to qualify for the competition proper.
Being in Pot 2, it seemed as if the two Manchester clubs were certain to have tricky ties, but the draw was favourable to them as City, drawn for Group F face Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk, Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli and Feyenoord, while Manchester United, who qualified after winning the Europa League last season face Portuguese champions Benfica – one of José Mourinho’s former clubs, a short trip to FC Basel in Switzerland and CSKA Moscow in Group A.
Meanwhile their neighbours Liverpool, who are set to host Champions League football for the first time under Jürgen Klopp are in Group E and they face a long trip to Russia to play Spartak Moscow, a match in Spain against Sevilla, and Slovenia’s Maribor.
Elsewhere in Europe, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, who smashed the world transfer record to sign Neymar, are pitted against each other in Group B and will also come up against Anderlecht and Scottish champions Celtic.
Last season’s runners-up Juventus face Barcelona, who they beat in last season’s quarter-finals and also come up against Olympiacos and Sporting CP in Group D, while competition debutants RB Leipzig are in Group G alongside FC Porto, AS Monaco and Besiktas.
Groups in Full:
Group A: Benfica, Manchester United, FC Basel, CSKA Moscow
Group B: Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Anderlecht, Celtic
Group C: Chelsea, Atlético Madrid, AS Roma, Qarabag
Group D: Juventus, Barcelona, Olympiakos, Sporting CP
Group E: Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool, Maribor
Group F: Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Napoli, Feyenoord
Group G: AS Monaco, FC Porto, Besiktas, RB Leipzig
Group H: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham Hotspur, APOEL Nicosia
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