Champion League draw Man City,Bayern,Barca opponentsAugust 26, 2021
UEFA Champion League draw for group stages is complete. It has thrown up a host of thrilling matchups and storylines for the coming months with a string of Europe’s biggest clubs drawn against each other.
Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain will face off in Group A, in what could ultimately be a matchup between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The latter has already moved to the French capital while the Premier League champions are in talks with Ronaldo’s representatives over a potential transfer. Regardless, their quartet might be the most thrilling of all with German side RB Leipzig joining them a year after knocking Manchester United out in the group stages.
Meanwhile, Messi’s former club Barcelona will have to face a rerun of their nightmare 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the 2020 quarterfinals in Group E. Title holders Chelsea will face Juventus in Group H while Group B contains three former winners — Liverpool, Porto and AC Milan — alongside Spanish champions Atletico Madrid.
Champion League draw group stage results
Group A: Manchester City, Paris Saint Germain, RB Leipzig, Club Brugge
Group B: Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Porto, AC Milan
Group C: Sporting, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax, Besiktas
Group D: Inter MIlan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sheriff
Group E: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Benfica, Dynamo Kyiv
Group F: Villarreal, Manchester United, Atalanta, Young Boys
Group G: Lille, Sevilla, Red Bull Salzburg, Wolfsburg
Group H: Chelsea, Juventus, Zenit Saint Petersburg, Malmo Winners and losers
Winners — The inhabitants of Group C None of the quartet of Sporting, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax and Besiktas should take their passage to the last 16 for granted but equally Branislav Ivanovic and Michael Essien did them an almighty favor with today’s draw. With the possible exception of the German giants none of these teams would have been particularly favored to reach the knockout rounds but they will all feel that a top two spot is firmly within their reach.
For Borussia Dortmund in particular champion league draw could scarcely be more favorable and though top spot is no longer quite the boon for the round of 16 draw that it was a decade ago these opponents could offer Erling Haaland and company a chance to really impose themselves on this contest from the outset.
Losers — Paris Saint-Germain Nasser Al Khelaifi’s face said it all. The last thing he wanted was a match up with the other financial juggernaut of European football in Manchester City, a rigid expression stretched across his visage as the camera panned to him following the revelation his side would be placed in Group A. Add RB Leipzig to the mix — a side who beat them at home in last season’s group stage — and this is a challenging group for all its participants.
So why are PSG the loser? Unlike Man City they will not be entering the group stage with a squad familiar with its own strengths and weaknesses, the odd addition supplementing Pep Guardiola’s finalists from last season. Instead Mauricio Pochettino merely has a few less than competitive Ligue 1 games to put together a system that brings out the best from the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos and Georginio Wijnaldum. The talent is there but is there sufficient time to ensure that this side, widely expected to win the whole tournament, do not suffer some early wobbles?
Winners — Sheriff Tiraspol The champions of Moldova will know that this sort of opportunity does not come around all that often. They are the first representatives of their country to reach the group stages of the competition and although they were good value for their 3-0 aggregate win over Dinamo Zagreb it is fair to question whether they will be back here all that often.
If this is a one off, or at least an infrequent visit to the business end of the Champions League, then what could be better than welcoming the most prestigious of clubs in the history of this competition to Tiraspol? And it’s not just Real Madrid but three-time European champions Inter Milan making the trip to Transnistria. Sheriff might also feel that they can give Shakhtar Donetsk a fair few headaches after they struggled past Monaco in the qualifiers.
Losers — Anyone who has long since lost interest in the Messi-Ronaldo debate If Cristiano Ronaldo gets his move to City may god help us all. A cocktail of nonsense tweets and cloying “can’t we just enjoy them both for who they are” feels inevitable. Someone switch off Twitter for the City-PSG games.
Winner — Thomas Tuchel Another who will be more than happy with his lot, the Chelsea manager will feel a little like Goldilocks with that particular group. Not so easy that expectations get overblown for the holders, not so difficult as to put their qualification in any serious doubt. Should Cristiano Ronaldo get the exit he desires Juventus might not quite have enough attacking firepower to truly test the continent’s best defense. Meanwhile Tuchel gets trips to Turin, Saint Petersburg and Brugge out of it. Nice work if you can get it.Group stage dates
Thursday, Aug. 26 Group-stage champion league draw match.
Tuesday, Sept. 14 Matchday 1
Wednesday, Sept. 15 Matchday 1
Tuesday, Sept. 28 Matchday 2
Wednesday, Sept. 29 Matchday 2
Tuesday, Oct. 19 Matchday 3
Wednesday, Oct. 20 Matchday 3
Tuesday, Nov. 2 Matchday 4
Wednesday, Nov. 3 Matchday 4
Tuesday, Nov. 23 Matchday 5
Wednesday, Nov. 24 Matchday 5
Tuesday, Dec. 7 Matchday 6
Wednesday, Dec. 8 Matchday 6 Knockout stage dates
Monday, Dec. 13 Round of 16 draw
Tuesday, Feb. 15 Round of 16, first legs
Wednesday, Feb. 16 Round of 16, first legs
Tuesday, Feb. 22Round of 16, first legs
Wednesday, Feb. 23 Round of 16, first legs
Tuesday, March 8Round of 16, second legs
Wednesday, March 9 Round of 16, second legs
Tuesday, March 15 Round of 16, second legs
Wednesday, March 16 Round of 16, second legs
Friday, March 18 Quarterfinal and semifinal draw
Tuesday, April 5 Quarterfinals, first legs
Wednesday, April 6 Quarterfinals, first legs
Tuesday, April 12 Quarterfinals, second legs
Wednesday, April 13 Quarterfinals, second legs
Tuesday, April 26 Semifinals, first legs
Wednesday, April 27 Semifinals, first legs
Tuesday, May 3 Semifinals, second legs
Wednesday, May 4Semifinals, second legs
Saturday, May 28 Champions League final in Saint Petersburg Stadium