Champions League: English clubs to face familiar foes in group stages

Liverpool drawn against Napoli again while Man City get Shakhtar Donetsk for second year; complete list of fixtures

Liverpool celebrate their victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final in Madrid. Photograph:  Michael Regan/Getty Images

Liverpool celebrate their victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final in Madrid. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

 

Defending champions Liverpool must face Napoli for the second season in a row, while beaten finalists Tottenham were paired with Bayern Munich in the draw for the Champions League group stages.

The two other teams drawn in Liverpool’s Group E were Salzburg and Genk, the champions of Austria and Belgium, respectively. Although they are tricky opponents for sure, they are not ones who should worry Jürgen Klopp’s men unnecessarily.

Spurs’ Group, B, is completed by Greek side Olympiacos, who came through qualifying to reach the last 32, and Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade, who memorably beat Liverpool last season, which should serve as a warning to Mauricio Pochettino’s side, and Klopp’s.

Europa League champions Chelsea will face the darlings of last season’s competition Ajax, although they have lost Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong from that superb side, and Valencia and Lille in Group H.

Premier League champions Manchester City were arguably given the easiest of draws – among the English quartet, at least – by getting Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk, a team they beat 9-0 over two ties last season, Dinamo Zagreb of Croatia and Atalanta, third in Serie A last season.

At a typically lavish ceremony in Monaco on Thursday, the proceedings started with the slightly anomalous spectacle of former Manchester United great Eric Cantona, wearing a flat cap, shirt tucked out and sporting a grey beard, receiving the Uefa president’s award from European football’s boss Aleksander Ceferin.

Cantona then delivered one of his trademark philosophical treatises, suggesting science will soon be able to make us eternal so that only “accidents, crimes and wars will kill us but unfortunately crimes and wars will multiply – I love football, thank you”.

Once he had departed the stage, special guests Petr Cech and Wesley Sneijder were welcomed on for the evening’s most important business: drawing small footballs from goldfish bowls to decide who plays who in world football’s most lucrative cup competition.

Uefa also announced last season’s goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward of the season – Liverpool’s Alisson Becker, Virgil Van Dijk, De Jong and Lionel Messi – but they were just the hors d’oeuvres for the main course of the men’s player of the year, with the candidates Messi, Van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo sat next to each other in the front row.

But having teed up another round in the eternal Messi v Ronaldo debate, Uefa gave the award to Van Dijk, making Liverpool’s Dutch dynamo the first defender to win this prize.

And there was more good news for defenders when England’s Lucy Bronze scooped the women’s player of the year.

GROUP A
1 - Paris St-Germain
2 - Real Madrid
3 - Club Bruges
4 - Galatasaray

GROUP B
1 - Bayern Munich
2 - Tottenham Hotspur
3 - Olympiakos
4 - Red Star Belgrade

GROUP C
1 - Manchester City
2 - Shakhtar Donetsk
3 - Dinamo Zagreb
4 - Atalanta

GROUP D
1 - Juventus
2 - Atletico Madrid
3 - Bayer Leverkusen
4 - Lokomotiv Moscow

GROUP E
1 - Liverpool
2 - Napoli
3 - FC Salzburg
4 - Genk

GROUP F
1 - Barcelona
2 - Borussia Dortmund
3 - Inter Milan
4 - Slavia Prague

GROUP G
1 - Zenit St Petersburg
2 - Benfica
3 - Lyon
4 - RB Leipzig

GROUP H
1 - Chelsea
2 - Ajax
3 - Valencia
4 - Lille

COMPLETE FIXTURE LIST
All games kick-off at 8pm Irish time unless stated

MATCHDAY ONE
Tuesday September 17th
Group E:
Napoli v Liverpool; Salzburg v Genk
Group F: Inter Milan v Slavia Prague (5.55pm); Borussia Dortmund v Barcelona
Group G: Lyon v Zenit St Petersburg (5.55pm); Benfica v Leipzig
Group H: Chelsea v Valencia; Ajax v Lille

Wednesday September 18th
Group A:
Club Brugge v Galatasaray (5.55pm); Paris Saint-Germain v Real Madrid
Group B: Olympiacos v Tottenham (5.55pm); Bayern Munich v Red Star Belgrade
Group C: Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City; Dinamo Zagreb v Atalanta
Group D: Atlético Madrid v Juventus; Bayer Leverkusen v Lokomotiv Moscow

MATCHDAY TWO
Tuesday October 1st
Group A:
Real Madrid v Club Brugge (5.55pm); Galatasaray v Paris Saint-Germain
Group B: Tottenham v Bayern Munich; Red Star Belgrade v Olympiacos
Group C: Atalanta v Shakhtar Donetsk (5.55pm); Manchester City v Dinamo Zagreb
Group D: Juventus v Bayer Leverkusen; Lokomotiv Moscow v Atlético

Wednesday October 2nd
Group E:
Genk v Napoli (5.55pm); Liverpool v Salzburg
Group F: Slavia Prague v Borussia Dortmund (5.55pm); Barcelona v Inter Milan
Group G: Zenit St Petersburg v Benfica; Leipzig v Lyon
Group H: Valencia v Ajax; Lille v Chelsea

MATCHDAY THREE
Tuesday October 22nd
Group A:
Club Brugge v Paris Saint-Germain; Galatasaray v Real Madrid
Group B: Tottenham v Red Star Belgrade; Olympiacos v Bayern Munich
Group C: Shakhtar Donetsk v Dinamo Zagreb (5.55pm), Manchester City v Atalanta
Group D: Atlético Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen (5.55pm); Juventus v Lokomotiv Moscow

Wednesday October 23rd
Group E:
Salzburg v Napoli; Genk v Liverpool
Group F:
Inter Milan v Borussia Dortmund; Slavia Prague v Barcelona
Group G: Leipzig v Zenit St Petersburg (5.55pm); Benfica v Lyon
Group H: Ajax v Chelsea (5.55pm); Lille v Valencia

MATCHDAY FOUR
Tuesday November 5th
Group E:
Liverpool v Genk; Napoli v Salzburg
Group F: Barcelona v Slavia Prague (5.55pm); Borussia Dortmund v Inter Milan
Group G: Zenit St Petersburg v Leipzig (5.55pm); Lyon v Benfica
Group H: Chelsea v Ajax; Valencia v Lille

Wednesday November 6th
Group A:
Paris Saint-Germain v Club Brugge; Real Madrid v Galatasaray
Group B: Bayern Munich v Olympiacos (5.55pm); Red Star Belgrade v Tottenham
Group C:
Dinamo Zagreb v Shakhtar Donetsk; Atalanta v Manchester City
Group D:
Lokomotiv Moscow v Juventus (5.55pm); Bayer Leverkusen v Atlético Madrid

MATCHDAY FIVE
Tuesday November 26th
Group A:
Galatasaray v Club Brugge (5.55pm); Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain
Group B: Tottenham v Olympiacos; Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munich
Group C: Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk; Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb
Group D: Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen (5.55pm); Juventus v Atlético
Madrid

Wednesday November 27th
Group E: Liverpool
v Napoli; Genk v Salzburg
Group F: Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund; Slavia Prague v Inter Milan
Group G: Zenit St Petersburg v Lyon (5.55pm); Leipzig v Benfica
Group H: Valencia v Chelsea (5.55pm); Lille v Ajax

MATCHDAY SIX
Tuesday December 10th
Group E:
Napoli v Genk (5.55pm); Salzburg v Liverpool (5.55pm)
Group F: Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague; Inter Milan v Barcelona
Group G: Benfica v Zenit St Petersburg; Lyon v Leipzig
Group H: Chelsea v Lille, Ajax v Valencia

Wednesday December 11th
Group A:
Paris Saint-Germain v Galatasaray; Club Brugge v Real Madrid
Group B: Bayern Munich v Tottenham; Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade
Group C: Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta (5.55pm); Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City (5.55pm)
Group D: Atlético Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow; Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus

KNOCKOUT STAGE
Round of 16 – Draw:
December 16th
First legs: February 18th/19th & 25th/26th
Second legs: March 10th/11th & 17th/18th

Quarter-finals – Draw: March 20th
First legs:
April 7th/8th
Second legs: April 14th/15th

Semi-finals – Draw: March 20th
First legs: April 28th/29th
Second legs: May 5th/6th

Final: Istanbul, May 30th

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