Here are the Groups:
Group A: Benfica, Manchester United, FC Basel, CSKA Moscow.
Group B: Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Anderlecht, Celtic.
Group C: Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Roma, FK Qarabag.
Group D: Juventus, Barcelona, Olympiakos, Sporting CP.
Group E: Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool, NK Maribor.
Group F: Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Napoli, Feyenoord.
Group G: Monaco, FC Porto, Besiktas, RB Leipzig.
Group H: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, APOEL Nicosia.
Real Madrid in the Group of Death
Two-time defending champions get drawn in the Group of Death. (Image by Getty Images)
Group H is clearly the group to watch as the two-time defending champions Real Madrid have drawn Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham in their group alongside Cyprus side Apoel.
Real Madrid will have to continue the high form they are in if they want to survive. The Spanish side is still favorite to come out of the group, but they can’t afford to have slip-ups. Unless they are the top team in the world, they might not survive.
Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid are in a group again after being grouped together last year. Borussia Dortmund will look at the same challenge as last year when they also had a tough group with the defending champs, and they found some success winning the group.
Both games between the clubs ended in 2-2 draws, so it looks like things will be settled this year. The rematches should be fun to watch.
The addition of the Spurs drama is extra to the group this year. Spurs completely underwhelmed in last year’s competition, losing three games and two at Wembley. Many believe Spurs can’t fill and play well there.
Spurs will have to put the Wembley curse behind them with the difficult group. (Image by Getty Images)
Well, this year all their games are at Wembley because of the new stadium being built. If the Wembley form continues, or if the curse is true, it will be a tough year for Spurs, who will have to host the two-time champions and the high attacking Dortmund side.
Still, this group will feature six games of high-quality football in three cathedrals of the sports. The Bernabeu, Westfalenstadion and Wembley are world-class places. Every match between the clubs will be a spectacle to watch. This group will showcase the beauty of European club football.
Rounding out the group is Apoel, who will be the underdog in every match in the group. Not much is expected from them.
The Cyprus team does have some experience in the competition from 2012 when the team surprisingly got to the quarterfinals. The club will be looking to replicate the run they had, but it will be difficult with the group they were drawn in.
The Group of Life is Group G
Group G has Monaco, Porto, Besiktas and Red Bull Leipzig. It is the group where everyone seems to have a genuine chance of winning it.
There are no favorites in the group. Monaco is the champions in the group, but they have sold many of their stars from the semifinal side last year. With even more sales to come, it will difficult for the club to bring back the form they were in.
Monaco was given a lifeline with the difficult group, but none of the true football giants are in it. It will be challenging for the French Ligue side. Depending how they use the huge amount of funds that are coming in, they might be alright.
Porto, on the other hand, has been accustomed to making the second round of the tournament and will like their chances against teams who don’t really have experience. Porto has the side full of veterans that look poised to take control of the group. The Portuguese side will have the tough test, but with most of the squad at Monaco being sold, they seem destined to win the group.
Besiktas is the other team that will fancy their chances of coming through. They see the lowering of the level at Monaco and want to break the bad streak Turkish football has had in Europe.
The Turkish league has risen in funding in recent year, but it has yet to have translated to Europe. Now Besiktas has the opening of making some noise with this group. They have a big fanbase and the funding to really make noise. Don’t be surprised if you see Besiktas in the second round.
Red Bull Leipzig is the last team and really makes the group interesting. The German side finished second in the Bundesliga and will make their European debut with this group. The German side hasn’t really made the addition of the squad, but have been keeping many of the players in the team from the surprise year, something Monaco hasn’t been able to do.
With this draw, the Leipzig side will definitely fancy their chances of going through. Expect a young high-pressure side that attacks anytime they can.
This group seems the most entertaining on paper from the point of view that every team will believe they are the better side. This will give us a group full of open matches.
Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester city get favorable groups
All three teams came into the draw with nightmare possibilities and left with scenarios they will like.
Manchester United gets an easy favorite and becomes a contender to win it all. (Image by Getty Images)
United got drawn in group A alongside Benfica, Basel and Cska Moscow. All are games where the Red Devils will be favorites to win.
Manchester United may have gotten in the tournament through the back door of the Europa league, but now the three-time winners look poised for a deep run this year. They have started the league with two 4-0 thrashings. Things are looking bright for the English giants and Jose Mourinho.
If United can get one or two more players, they could be serious contenders to win the champions this year. It wouldn’t have been the first time Mourinho has won the Europa League and then the Champions League the following year.
Liverpool is the middle of the Coutinho drama, but there is good news. The Reds got drawn into Group E with Spartak Moscow, Sevilla and Maribor. They got one of the best options they had as their group’s champions with Spartak Moscow from Russia, a side Liverpool could get a win against.
Liverpool gets some much needed good news in the draw (Images : Getty Images )
They also get a win over Sevilla, which is the most favorable Spanish side they could have gotten and gives them the chance to avenge the loss they had in the Europa league final two years ago.
The last side Maribor is the Slovenian side that is among of the worst teams in the 32. They will look to shock the world, trying to get results with clubs much bigger in fan base and funding.
The Reds now look to be in a good place to make a run. Maybe this news makes them a little more willing to sell Coutinho. Liverpool could sell a couple players and still make it into the second round of the competition.
Man City ended up with the toughest group out of the three, but one that the club should handle. Group F is Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli and Feyenoord, along with the Manchester club.
Man City should be favorite, but face a very good Napoli side, who could easily get a result. Napoli returns a very cohesive squad that will challenge any team. A Shakhtar side that is a veteran of the competition and seems to be in final 16 every year. Feyenoord is a young side that will surprise this year.
Man city is favorited, but if Pep doesn’t get the squad focused, things could go wrong fast in this group. Compared to Liverpool’s and United’s group, it’s hard, but Manchester City should have the squad to go through easily.
Chelsea dealt with tough group
Chelsea have tough test as they come back to the competition (image: Getty Images )
The blues are in a group that will test how deep the squad is as they will have no easy games.
Chelsea is in Group C alongside recent finalist Atletico Madrid, Roma and debutant Qarabag. Chelsea is coming from missing the Champions League last year and want to be among the leaders in the competition again.
Atletico Madrid is among the favorites to win it all, losing two recent finals, but face the unique challenge of being transfer banned. For the group stage, the club will be without reinforcement which might make it tough for the Spanish side.
Roma will look to take control from Chelsea with locker room troubles and an Atletico side that can’t improve themselves. They have brought in some talent and brought in a young Italian manager Eusebio Di Francesco.
Qarabag is the side in trouble. The side is the first club from Azerbaijan to ever make the Champions League group stage and will prove to be a long trip for the three big European clubs. Besides the Group of Death with the defending champions, this seems to be the toughest group on paper.
Big matches you won’t want to miss
Bayern Munich vs PSG – September 27 at Parc des Princes and December 5 at Allianz Arena
Atletico Madrid vs Roma – September 12 at Stadio Olimpico and November 22 at Wanda Metropolitano
Roma vs Chelsea – October 18 at Stamford Bridge and October 31 at Stadio Olimpico
Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid – September 27 at Wanda Metropolitano and December 5 at Stamford Bridge
Juventus vs Barcelona – September 12 at Camp Nou and November 22 at Juventus Stadium
Sevilla vs Liverpool – September 13 at Anfield and November 21 at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan
Manchester City vs Napoli – September 26 at City of Manchester Stadium and November 1 at Stadio San Paolo
Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund – September 26 at Westfalenstadion and December 6 at Santiago Bernabeu
Borussia Dortmund vs Tottenham – September 13 at Wembley and November 21 at Westfalenstadion
Tottenham vs Real Madrid – October 17 at Santiago Bernabeu and November 1 at Wembley
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