Holders Barcelona will face Inter Milan, pitting Samuel Eto’o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic against their former clubs, after the draw for the Champions League group stage was made in Monaco on Thursday.
Barcelona, who beat Manchester United 2-0 in last May’s final in Rome, and Inter will be joined by Ukrainian champions Dynamo Kiev and Rubin Kazan of Russia in Group F of the competition. Ten former champions and eight Champions League debutants go into action in the 32-team format split into eight groups of four while a quartets of teams from England and Spain will battle for victory. Group A pits four-time champions Bayern Munich against two-time holders Juventus, French champions Bordeaux and Maccabi Haifa of Israel. In Group B, Manchester United, European champions in 1968, 1999 and 2007 and beaten finalists last year, will go up against German champions Wolfsburg, Turkey’s Besiktas and Russians CSKA Moscow. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told the club’s official Web site: “These are difficult ties, especially the trips to Russia and Turkey.
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“CSKA have developed strongly in the last few years, and games in Turkey are always difficult. “We also know the quality that we’re up against with Wolfsburg, with what they achieved in the Bundesliga last season.” Nine-times winners Real Madrid will have to face seven-times champions AC Milan in Group C, meaning an early return to the San Siro for Brazilian playmaker Kaka. Marseille — the only French side ever to lift the trophy — and FC Zurich of Switzerland complete the group. Chelsea, the 2007 finalists and bidding for a first title under Carlo Ancelotti, are seeded in Group D where they meet two-time champions Porto, Atletico Madrid and Cypriots APOEL Nicosia. Liverpool will play in Group E along with French side Lyon, who have never been past the quarterfinals, Fiorentina of Italy and Debrecen of Hungary. Sevilla of Spain will compete in Group G alongside Scottish champions Glasgow Rangers, Germany’s Stuttgart, and Romanian champions Unirea Urziceni. Arsenal were drawn in Group H alongside Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, Greek side Olympiakos and Belgium’s Standard Liege. Champions League draw: Group A: Bayern Munich (Ger), Juventus (It), Bordeaux (Fr), M Haifa (Isr) Group B: Man U (Eng), CSKA Mos (Rus), Besiktas (Tur), Wolfsburg (Ger) Group C: AC Milan (It), Real Madrid (Sp), Marseille (Fr), FC Zurich (Swi) Group D: Chelsea (Eng), Porto (Por), At Madrid (Sp) APOEL Nicosia (Cyp) Group E: Liverpool (Eng), Lyon (Fr), Fiorentina (It), Debrecen (Hun) Group F: Barcelona (Sp), Inter Milan (It), Dynamo Kiev (Ukr), R Kaz (Rus) Group G: Sevilla (Sp), Rangers (Sco), Stuttgart (Ger), Un Urziceni (Rom) Group H: Arsenal (Eng), Alkmaar (Net), Olympiacos (Gre), St Liege (Bel)