Arsenal drawn with Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain in with Real Madrid
Arsenal will once again face Bayern Munich in the Champions League, albeit this time in the group stage, while Angel Di Maria will return to Real Madrid.
Arsenal will nonetheless be expected to reach the last 16 once again as they and 2013 winners Bayern find themselves in Group F with Olympiakos of Greece and Dinamo Zagreb of Croatia.
Manchester United and Chelsea drew relatively comfortable groups – United’s return to the competition after a year out sees them face PSV Eindhoven of Holland, CSKA Moscow of Russia and VfL Wolfsburg of Germany while Chelsea are in with FC Porto of Portugal, Dynamo Kiev of Ukraine and Maccabi Tel-Aviv of Israel.
Holders Barcelona will be heavily tipped to advance to the knockout phase but ties against Bayer Leverkusen and Roma will not be straightforward, while the Germans and Italians could well be in a duel to reach the last-16 alongside the Catalonians. BATE Borisov of Belarus, meanwhile, will need to pull off an excellent campaign to even fall into the Europa League via a third-placed group finish.
Di Maria will return to the Bernabeu for the first time since leaving the club to join Man United for one ill-fated season last year in Group A, with his new team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic also returning to his native Sweden to face Malmo. Shakhtar Donetsk are the fourth team in the group.
Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo said: “It will be tough as I think this group is strong but we are going to do the same as before and try to qualify and the win the Champions League.”
“It will be great to have Zlatan here,” Malmo coach Age Hareide told Reuters.
“It will be a party for the people. But we would have preferred a slightly weaker third team,” he said in reference to Shakhtar.
Group A: Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Shaktar Donetsk, Malmo
Group B: PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, CSKA Moscow, Wolfsburg
Group D: Juventus, Manchester City, Sevilla, Borussia Monchengladbach
Group E: Barcelona, Bayer Leverkusen, AS Roma, BATE Borisov
Group F: Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Olympiakos, Dinamo Zagreb
Group G: Chelsea, FC Porto, Dynamo Kiev, Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Group H: Zenit St Petersburg, Valencia, Lyon, KAA Gent