The UEFA Champions League’s group stage has been drawn for the 2021/22 campaign, with Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea learning their fate in what was a draw full of intriguing subplots.
Chelsea enter the competition as the defending champions after beating Premier League rivals Man City in last season’s final, the west Londoners being drawn to face Juventus, Zenit St Petersberg and Malmo in the group stage.
Every year there seems to be a Group of Death, and this year Group A is certainly a contender for that title, Premier League champions Manchester City drawn against PSG, RB Leipzig and Club Brugge – a group which could potentially pit Lionel Messi against Cristiano Ronaldo once more if the latest transfer rumours are to be believed.
Being in Pot 2 was seen as perhaps a slight advantage for the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United, who were guaranteed to miss PSG, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, though Jurgen Klopp’s side were still handed a potentially challenging route to the knockout stages, the six-time winners set to face Atletico Madrid, Porto and AC Milan.
United – eliminated in last season’s group stage – went on to reach the Europa League final, though slipped to defeat to Villarreal in Gdansk in May. The Red Devils have however been handed a chance to avenge that loss in Group F, the pair being drawn alongside Atalanta and Young Boys.
Elsewhere, there are tasty looking ties in both Group D and E, with Real Madrid drawn against Italian champions Inter Milan, while a Messi-less Barcelona will go up against Bayern Munich.
Champions League group stage draw in full: