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Barcelona-Bayern Munich, PSG-Juventus headlines UCL group stage draw


The UEFA Champions League group stage is set.

Thursday afternoon’s draw pitted several intriguing head-to-head matchups with Bayern Munich-Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain-Juventus as the headliners. 2021 winners Chelsea was paired with defending Serie A winners AC Milan while Manchester City has been paired against Sevilla.

Bayern Munich rolled past Barcelona during the 2020 quarterfinal round, thumping Barcelona 8-2 at the Camp Nou in a one-match showdown due to COVID-19. Polish star Robert Lewandowski has since joined Barcelona from Bayern Munich, and will be eager to get after his former club.

PSG and Juventus will meet for the first time in the UCL group stage after last squaring off in competitive action in the 1996 UEFA Super Cup. Kylian Mbappe and Duhan Vlahovic will headline the attacking talent for both sides in this matchup while U.S. men’s national team midfielder Weston McKennie is also among the rising talents.

Erling Haaland will meet a familiar franchise in the group stage as Manchester City was paired against Haaland’s former club, Borussia Dortmund. USMNT attacker Gio Reyna will get a second opportunity to face his father Claudio’s former club after meeting Man City in the 2020-21 knockout stage.

Christian Pulisic and Chelsea will take on AC Milan in the headlining match in Group E, in what is the first head-to-head meeting since 1999-2000. James Sands, Malik Tillman and Rangers will face stern tests in Group A after being paired with Liverpool, Napoli, and Ajax.

Cameron Carter-Vickers and Celtic will meet defending UCL winners Real Madrid in the group stage, along with Shakhtar Donetsk and RB Leipzig.

The group stage kicks off on September 6-7.

Here’s all of the Champions League groups:

Group A: Ajax, Liverpool, Napoli, Rangers.

Group B: Porto, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Club Brugge.

Group C: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Viktoria Plzen.

Group D: Eintracht Frankfurt, Tottenham, Sporting Lisbon, Marseille.

Group E: AC Milan, Chelsea, Red Bull Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb.

Group F: Real Madrid, RB Leipzig, Shakhtar Donetsk, Celtic.

Group G: Manchester City, Sevilla, Borussia Dortmund, FC Kobenhaven.

Group H: Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Benfica, Maccabi Haifa.

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