ISTANBUL: Bayern Munich were placed in the same section as Robert Lewandowski’s Barcelona in Thursday’s draw for the UEFA Champions League group stage in Istanbul, while Erling Haaland will face his former club as Manchester City were paired with Borussia Dortmund.
Bayern and Barcelona will also come up against Inter Milan in Group ‘C’, which is completed by the Czech champions Viktoria Plzen.
Bayern beat Barcelona 8-2 in a one-off quarter-final in Lisbon in 2020, while the Catalans also lost 3-0 twice to the Germans last season as they were eliminated in the group stage.
Lewandowski, 34, signed for Barcelona during the close season for a fee that could reach 50 million euros ($49.9m) after scoring 344 goals in eight years at Bayern.
Haaland left Dortmund for Premier League champions City in the close season. Those sides will also face Sevilla and Danish champions FC Copenhagen in Group ‘G’.
Last season’s beaten finalists Liverpool will play Ajax, Napoli and Rangers in Group ‘A’, while reigning champions Real Madrid will face Celtic as well as RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk in Group ‘F’.
Meanwhile, Paris St Germain — who again start among the favourites to win a trophy that has continued to escape them since the Qatari takeover of more than a decade ago — will meet Juventus as well as Benfica and Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa in Group ‘H’.
Chelsea, winners in 2021, will take on Serie A champions AC Milan as well as Red Bull Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb in Group ‘E’, while Tottenham Hotspur will face last season’s Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt along with Sporting Lisbon and Marseille in Group ‘D’.
Porto and Atletico Madrid meet for the second season running in Group ‘B’, which also featured Bayer Leverkusen and Belgian champions Club Brugge.
This season’s group stage will begin with the first round of games on September 6 and 7.
All six matchdays will be played in the space of nine weeks, finishing on November 1 and 2, with UEFA needing to complete the group stage before the World Cup begins on November 20.
Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2022