In Monaco this afternoon the Champions League group stage was drawn and already in this early round there are some big ties to look forward to.
The most eye catching group of the lot sees the Spanish champions vs the English, Dutch and German champions in group D. Manchester City were hoping they wouldn’t be pitted against the opponents of this calibre again but they will have to overcome the toughest group in the entire draw with second favourites Real Madrid and past winners Ajax and Borussia Dortmund vying for those two qualification places.
Interesting ties elsewhere see the current holders, Chelsea, take on the Italian champions, Juventus with newcomers FC Nordsjaelland of Denmark and Shakhtar Donetsk rounding off the group. The Turin side have never beaten the Blues in a European Fixture whilst the other two have never played last year’s Champions League winners.
Manchester United find themselves up against Braga and and FC Cluj with a tough fixture against Galatasarary in Turkey ahead of them. Arsenal will face off against Schalke, Olympiakos and French champions Montpellier as they look to win their first European Cup.
Other notable draws see Bayern Munich and Valencia drawn against each in what will be a rematch of the 2001 final, which the German side won. Barcelona will play against Celtic as well as Benfica and Spartak Moscow. PSG, making their return to the Champions League, will face Porto, Dynamo Kiev and Dinamo Zagreb. Whilst AC Milan will be playing against Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht and Spanish new boys Malaga.
The first set of fixtures are on the 18th and 19th Septemeber.
Champions League draw in full
Group A: Porto, Dynamo Kiev, Paris St Germain, Dinamo Zagreb.
Group B: Arsenal, Schalke, Olympiakos, Montpellier.
Group C: AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht, Malaga.
Group D: Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund.
Group E: Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, FC Nordsjaelland.
Group F: Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille, BATE Borisov.
Group G: Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic.
Group H: Manchester United, Braga, Galatasaray, CFR Cluj.