Defending UEFA Champions League champions Barcelona have been drawn in the same group with seven-time European Champions AC Milan. The two teams will clash starting September 14 and will be expected to easily come out of their group which also includes Belarusian side Bate Borisov and Czech league champions Viktoria Plzen.
However, the main battle will be in group A which contains German side Bayern Munich, Italy’s Napoli, Span’s Villarreal and English side Manchester City who will be making their debut in the European competition.
Group B will see 2009-10 winners Inter Milan battle it out with CSKA Moscow, French Ligue 1 defending champions Lille and Turkish outfit Trabzonspor who replaced crisis-hit Fenerbahce.
Last season’s losing finalists Manchester United were drawn in a relatively easy group that contains Benfica, Basle and Romanian debutants Otelul Galati, while Real Madrid and Lyon will renew their unending rivalry in Group D that also has Ajax and Croatian outfit Dinamo Zagreb.
Group E will provide Chelsea winger Juan Mata a chance to play against his former club Valencia while Michael Ballack will also face his former players when he steps on the field for Bayer Leverkusen who are in the same group. Belgian sides Genk complete the group E line-up.
Arsenal, who secured a place to the group stages courtesy of a 3-1 aggregate win over Udinese, will face Olympique Marseille, Olympiacos and Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund in group F, as Europa League winners FC Porto face Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit and Apoel FC.
The group stage matches will kick off on September 13-14. The winners of each group and the runners up will advance to the last 16 with teams finishing third dropping to the Europa League.
Group A: Bayern Munich, Villarreal, Manchester City, Napoli
Group B: Inter Milan, CSKA Moscow, Lille, Trabzonspor
Group C: Manchester United, Benfica, Basle, Otelul Galati
Group D: Real Madrid, Lyon, Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb
Group E: Chelsea, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, Genk
Group F: Arsenal, Marseille, Olympiacos, Borussia Dortmund
Group G: FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit, Apoel FC
Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, BATE Borisov, Viktoria Plzen
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