The old rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will be finally renewed in the upcoming Champions League season, as Barcelona and Juventus have been drawn together in Group G of the most important European football competition, along with Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencvaros.
Both teams have endured relatively hard times in the Champions League recently. The Italian champions were knocked out by Lyon in last season’s campaign round-of-16, while the Spanish giants were kicked out by winner Bayern Munich after an emphatic 8-2 in the quarter-final played at the Estadio Da Luz in Lisbon, the “bubble” chosen by Uefa to host the final stages of the tournament.
Elsewhere, trophy holders Bayern Munich will face Atletico Madrid, RB Salzburg and Lokomotiv Moscow in Group A. The Germans are heavy favourites to win the group, whereas the battle for second place will likely be between Atletico and Salzburg, who ruffled a few feathers last year thanks to Erling Braut Haalnd, who now plays for Borussia Dortmund.
Real Madrid will be joined by Inter Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Monchengladbach in a tasty-looking Group B. Inter beat Shakhtar 5-0 in last season’s Europa League semi-finals.
Liverpool, the winners of two seasons ago, the current Premier League champions and a team who have won the European Cup six times, were drawn with Ajax, Atalanta and Midtjylland in Group D, which will predictably feature a string of fast-paced games, due to the attacking nature of all the teams involved.
Chelsea will play against Europa League winners Sevilla, debutants Krasnodar and Rennes in Group E, a group that Frank Lampard’s Blues are heavy favourites to top, considering the new additions to the squad, namely Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner.
Manchester United have been drawn alongside last season’s finalists Paris St Germain, RB Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir in Group H.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City were drawn with Porto, Olympiakos and Marseille in Group C.
Finally, the teams in Group F will be Zenit St Petersburg, Borussia Dortmund, Lazio, Club Bruges.
Bayern’s Hansi Flick has been named last season’s Champions League Coach of the Year. Flick beat off competition from compatriots Jürgen Klopp and Julian Nagelsmann to claim the inaugural award. He successfully guided the German powerhouse to also win the 2019–20 Bundesliga and the German league cup, thus completing the continental treble for the second time in the club’s history.
Three Bayern players also managed to snatch up the individual awards handed out during the draw. Robert Lewandowski, Joshua Kimmich and Manuel Neuer were named respectively best forward, best defender and best goalkeeper of last season’s Champions League campaign, while Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne was named the best midfielder of the competition.
Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Salzburg, Lokomotiv Moscow
Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan, Borussia Moenchengladbach
Porto, Manchester City, Olympiakos, Olympique de Marseille
Liverpool, Ajax Amsterdam, Atalanta, FC Midtjylland
Sevilla, Chelsea, Krasnodar, Rennes
Zenit St Petersburg, Borussia Dortmund, Lazio, Club Brugge
Juventus, Barcelona, Dynamo Kiev, Ferencvaros
Paris St Germain, Manchester United, RB Leipzig, Istanbul Basaksehir