Football

Champions League group stage draw: 2013/14

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Another season of Europe's elite competition is dawning on us with the competition as fierce as ever.

Arsenal, Celtic, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are once again the five British sides competing in the competition this season.

Reigning European champions Bayern Munich head into the season with Barcelona legend Pep Guardiola the newly-appointed manager and his first European test comes against old adversary Jose Mourinho when Bayern take one Chelsea. 

Record holding nine-time European champions Real Madrid have replaced the self-proclaimed 'Special One' with experienced Italian and former boss Carlo Ancelotti. The arrival of Gareth Bale is imminent. Los Meringues will be hoping Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale team up to devastating effect.

Spanish counterparts FC Barcelona are another team with a new man at the helm. Tata Martino is a relative unknown and Barcelona fans will be hoping he can improve on the work of Tito Vilanova, while Lionel Messi and Neymar in tandem is a scintillating prospect along with illustrious stars Xavi Hernandez, Andreas Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas.

Other elite sides such as Champions League runners-up Borussia Dortmund will be looking to go one better than last season, despite the loss of the extremely gifted Mario Gotze to fierce rivals Bayern.

Italian champions Juventus have improved arguably the only weakness of their side by drafting in the abrasive Carlos Tevez and free agent Fernando Llorente. PSG have overseen an extensive overhaul of their side with Edinson Cavani a star addition among others and they will be anticipating a better showing in Europe.

Arsenal:

The Gunners remain in European's elite competition for the 16th consecutive season following a 5-0 aggregate win over Turkish side Fenerbahce. They remain in pot one due to their continued success in progressing beyond the group stage. The Champions League still eludes Arsenal and they are against the odds to rectify that this season.

Celtic:

Neil Lennon's men impressed in the Champions League last season following a five year absence from the competition. They managed an historic 2-1 win over Spanish giants FC Barcelona while progressing from a group consisting of not only Barcelona, but Benfica and Spartak Moscow.

Chelsea:

The 2011/12 winners will be hoping to build on their single Champions League trophy. Mourinho has plenty of experience and pedigree in the competition winning titles with FC Porto and Inter Milan, while getting Real Madrid to the semis on two occasions. The Blues will hope he can continue in similar fashion and win Chelsea's second Champions League.

Manchester City:

Oil rich Manchester City are yet to progress past the group stages and they might feel their co-efficient ranking counts against them with the English side having played against Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli in the last two seasons. City are seeded in the third pot again, but will be desperate for a better showing this time around.

Manchester United:

Three-time European champions Manchester United have had relative success in the competition over the last five or six years with their most recent success  in the 2007/08 season with a victory on penalties against Chelsea. The group stages of the Champions League is uncharted territory for new United boss David Moyes and with the fierce competition, Moyes might be content with a place in the Quarter-Finals.

Champions League draw:

Group A: Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad

Group B: Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, FC Copenhagen

Group C: SL Benfica, Paris Saint Germain, Olympiacos, Anderlecht

Group D: Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, Viktoria Plzen

Group E: Chelsea, Schalke 04, Basle, Steaua Bucharest

Group F: Arsenal, Olympique Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli

Group G: FC Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit St Petersburg, Austria Vienna

Group H: FC Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax, Celtic

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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