Barca draw AC Milan again

Spanish giants draw seven-time winners in the Champions League as Bayern start title defence in Manchester City’s group.

Real Madrid will face Juventus in another blockbuster pairing [EPA]
Real Madrid will face Juventus in another blockbuster pairing [EPA]

Seven-times champions AC Milan, knocked out of the European Champions League by Barcelona in the last two seasons, were drawn against the Catalans again in the group stage of this season’s competition on Friday.

AC Milan were beaten 4-2 on aggregate by Barcelona in the round of 16 last year and 3-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals two seasons ago, when the two sides also met in the group stage.

The teams were drawn in Group H, alongside four-times winners Ajax Amsterdam and Celtic, the Scottish champions having also faced Barcelona in the group stage last season.

Tough draw

Nine-times champions Real Madrid will meet Juventus in two mouth-watering clashes in Group B which also features Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen.

Defending champions Bayern Munich will face CSKA Moscow, Manchester City and Viktoria Plzen in Group D.

“We have to go into the competition with a lot of respect and a lot of focus from the very start,” said Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

“We have to be especially careful not to underestimate CSKA Moscow and Manchester City. This will not be an automatic qualification but our aim is to make the knockout stage.”

Group F was arguably the toughest, pitting Arsenal against Olympique Marseille, last year’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund and Napoli. The first three of those teams also took part in the same group two seasons ago.

“This is a brilliant, balanced group with four teams who have what it takes to survive the group stage,” said Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp.

“The fact is we have to get something to put right against Arsenal and we have something to put right against Marseille. I have not been to Napoli but I am already looking forward to the atmosphere there.”

Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo added on the club website.

“We play sports to feel emotions and with these three opponents group, we are certain to have that.

Austria Vienna, the only debutants in the draw, were placed in Group G along with former champions Porto, Atletico Madrid and Zenit St Petersburg.

Champions League draw in full:

Group A

Manchester United (England), Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine), Bayer Leverkusen (Germany), Real Sociedad (Spain).

Group B

Real Madrid (Spain), Juventus (Italy), Galatasaray (Turkey), Copenhagen (Denmark).

Group C

Benfica (Portugal), Paris Saint-Germain (France), Olympiakos (Greece), Anderlecht (Belgium).

Group D

Bayern Munich (Germany), CSKA Moscow (Russia), Manchester City (England), Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic).

Group E

Chelsea (England), Schalke (Germany), Basel (Switzerland), Steaua Bucharest (Romania).

Group F

Arsenal (England), Marseille (France), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), Napoli (Italy).

Group G

FC Porto (Portugal), Atletico Madrid (Spain), Zenit St. Petersburg (Russia), Austria Vienna (Austria).

Group H

Barcelona (Spain), AC Milan (Italy), Ajax (Netherlands), Celtic (Scotland).

Source: Reuters

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