Reigning champions Real Madrid will face Leipzig, Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic Glasgow in the Champions League group stage, while Barcelona will clash with Bayern Munich and Inter de Milan after Thursday’s draw.
Madrid claimed their 14th European crown by beating Liverpool in the final last season, and on paper Carlo Ancelotti’s side should have no trouble progressing to the round of 16 in Group F.
“We always want to be first in the group and win every game but we are aware of the difficulties. Leipzig reached the semi-finals two years ago, with Shakhtar we already know each other well and Celtic have great support in their stadium,” he said after the match. raffle Emilio Butragueño, director of institutional relations for Madrid.
Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski will face his former team in the group stage, after the Catalan side were drawn with Bayern in Group C, along with Inter Milan and Viktoria Plzen.
At Bayern, Lewandowski won eight league titles, three German Cups, the Champions League and the Club World Cup.
Manchester City striker Erling Haaland will also face his old team, as the English champions were drawn with Borussia Dortmund in Group G, which are completed by Sevilla and FC Copenhagen.
“A difficult group, at a high level, but this is the Champions League. There are few affordable rivals. The favorite of the group is City due to its potential,” said Monchi, Sevilla’s sporting director.
Paris Saint Germain begin their quest for a first trophy in Europe’s top club competition in a tough Group H with Juventus (BIT: JUVE ), Benfica and Maccabi Haifa.
Meanwhile, Liverpool will face Ajax Amsterdam, Napoli and Rangers in Group A.
Chelsea, winners of the 2020-21 edition, will face Italian champions AC Milan in Group E, along with RB Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb.
Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt were drawn with Tottenham Hotspur, Sporting Lisbon and Olympique Marseille in Group D.
The group stage of the Champions League will start earlier than usual, on September 6, and will conclude before the World Cup in Qatar, which will take place from November 20.
The round of 16 will start in February, with the final being played at Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium in June.