UEFA Champions League group stage draw

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Football News

This evening's draw for the Champions League saw all four English clubs participating learn their European fate, and a marquee clash between returning giants Liverpool and Real Madrid aside most of the teams matched together are far from strangers to say the least.

Arsenal only secured safe passage to the group stage for a 17th successive season late last night with a nervy victory over Besiktas, but were still afforded the luxury of a prime spot in top pod of eight seeded teams.

The Gunners were paired with Borussia Dortmund for the third year in a row and also face the unenviable task of trip to Istanbul to take on Galatasaray, although Anderlecht thankfully arrived in Group D ahead of Roma to avoid a genuine group of death.

Anfield relishing Madrid visit

Liverpool are back in the competition for the first time since 2010 and were given a draw to savour, but face a huge challenge to balance the workload of Champions League football and a strong Premier League campaign.

Real Madrid are without doubt the headline draw for the Reds, who will also welcome FC Basel and Bulgarian underdogs Ludogorets to Anfield this year.

Blues back and mean business

Chelsea were easily England's best side in the competition last season and have a manager in Jose Mourinho with a proven track record in the Champions League, although he's yet to make that count at Stamford Bridge where it would matter most.

Mourinho's men are back in Gelsenkirchen to face Schalke as familiarity remained a common theme in the draw, while Sporting Lisbon and Maribor are tests the Blues will be more than confident of overcoming.

Pellegrini up against familiar foes

Manchester City meanwhile still have plenty to prove in Europe's elite club competition, although finally creeping into the second pot of seeds seemed to have finally laid the foundations for a more comfortable group stage exit.

City enjoyed two hugely entertaining clashes with Bayern Munich last season and once again come up against the might of the German giants in the group stage, with CSKA Moscow and Roma making up a group which will once again ensure Manuel Pellegrini's European credentials are tested to the full.

Group A

Atletico Madrid

Group B

Real Madrid
FC Basel

Group C

Zenit St. Petersburg
Bayer Leverkusen

Group D

Borussia Dortmund

Group E

Bayern Munich
Manchester City
CSKA Moscow

Group F

Paris Saint-Germain
APOEL Nicosia

Group G

Schalke 04
Sporting Lisbon

Group H

FC Porto
Shakhtar Donetsk
Athletic Bilbao
BATE Borisov

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UEFA Champions League
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