UEFA hosted the draw for the Champions League ‘proper’ in Monaco last night, following the conclusion of the qualifying stages Europe’s premier club competition earlier this week.
This year looks to have thrown up more ‘groups of death’ than any in recent memory, as European powerhouses were handed clashes more befitting of epic finals than group–stage skirmishes.
Group A sees Premier League big spenders take on the might of German favourites Bayern Munich, as well as an encouraging Villareal side and the historic Napoli of Italy.
Inter Milan will face CSKA Moscow in what will likely be billed as the marquee match in Group B, though French Champs Lille will provide a tough opposition and Trabzonspor could prove to be a stubborn in front of their notoriously passionate Turkish faithful.
English Champions Manchester United find themselves in a favourable Group C, with Benfica the most likely to give them trouble in a group that also includes FC Basle of Switzerland and Otelul of Romania, who are making the UEFA Champions League bow.
Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid will face a tough time in Group D, as Lyon, Ajax and Dinamo Zagreb will provide top-notch opposition for Los Blancos, who have made no secret of their European dreams.
After a questionable start in the Premier League, Chelsea will find little comfort in their Champions League campaign, having drawn Spain’s Valencia and Bundesliga runner-up Bayer Leverkusen.
Having overcome the qualifying stages, Arsenal will also unlikely be thrilled with their company in Group F with Marseilles, Borussia Dortmund and Olympiacos all potential contenders to top the group.
Group G will see a highly-fancied Porto side tested in Champions League football without Andre Villas-Boas as they square off with Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit St. Petersburg and APOEL Tel-Aviv, who will all be keen to leave them wishing they’d stayed in the Europa League.
Barcelona and AC Milan will lock-horns in arguably the biggest group-stage clash of the competition, with BATE Borisov and Czech minnows Plzen out to cause to battle hard to capitalise, should one of the giants white-wash the other.
Full standings for the UEFA Champions League are as follows:
Zenit St Petersburg
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