Football

PSG handed tough Champions League group stage draw

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Five French teams were involved in the draw for the Champions League and the Europa League this week.

PSG and Monaco were handed challenging Champions League groups, whilst Saint-Etienne, Lille and Guingamp will all have hopes of reaching the next round of the latter competition.

Tough CL draw

Current Ligue 1 champions PSG were drawn in a difficult group alongside Barcelona, Ajax and Nicosia, the latter team coming from Cyprus and who managed to beat Aalborg in the qualify stages.

It is the Parisian side's most difficult draw in three years, with the club having topped their group in each of the last two seasons. With the Spanish giants and a strong Dutch team to face, it will be a true test of PSG’s credentials as they aim to become one of Europe’s best.

Monaco - who are having a shaky start in the league without James Rodriguez - have also been handed a tough group as they make their first appearance in the competition since the 2005/06 season.

Drawn in Group C alongside Benfica, Zenit St Petersburg and Bayer Leverkusen, Monaco will have to produce some fantastic performances if they have any chance of replicating their 2004 run into the final. Both Zenit and Leverkusen qualified for the knockout stages last year, whilst Benfica ended up qualifying for the Europa League after finishing third in a group that also contained PSG.

Europa League

In Friday's Europa League draw, all three French teams were dealt tough groups, but should they perform to their ability, they have the chance to win. Saint-Etienne were drawn in Group F, Lille in Group H and Guingamp in Group K.

St- Etienne face a difficult journey to Italian giants Inter Milan as well as trips to Ukraine and Azerbaijan to face Dnipro and Qarabag respectively.

On first glance, it seems like the French side will be playing for second place, but have the opportunity to boost their goal difference against only the second ever Azerbaijani side to reach this stage of the competition.

Lille also face a difficult group, having being paired alongside Wolfsburg, Everton and Krasnodar of Russia. After being defeated by Porto in the Champions League playoffs, Lille have a chance to redeem themselves, but will have to put in some strong performances.

The two games against the Germans and Everton will test the strength of Lille’s team, whilst the Russians will be no pushovers either.

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Guingamp hopes

Guingamp, who qualified for the competition despite finishing 16th and only two points away from relegation, will face Fiorentina, PAOK of Greece and Dinamo Minsk from Belarus.

Depending on results against the Greeks and Minsk, Guingamp have a chance of reaching the knockout stages. This is the first time that the French side have reached the competition properly since they reached the third round of the Intertoto Cup in 2003.

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Topics:
Paris Saint-Germain
Football
Europa League
Ligue 1

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