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Post by Admin on Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:55 pm

Thursday's ceremony in Monaco produced some fascinating fixtures for
Europe's premier club competition and Goal looks at which teams will be
happiest with what they got.
As always, it took time to get going. The Champions League draw started
late and dragged on for a while, keeping fans waiting. But when all of the
names were out, there were some intriguing scenarios. Some sides,
however, will be much more content than others.
So who were the winners and losers after the group stage was drawn in
Monaco on Thursday?
The competition's last two winners, Barcelona and Real Madrid, will be
happy enough. The holders face Bayer Leverkusen (against whom Lionel
Messi scored five in a 7-1 win in 2012), Luis Enrique's former team Roma
and outsiders BATE Borisov in Group E, while Madrid meet Paris Saint-
Germain (and their former winger Angel Di Maria), Shakhtar Donetsk and
Malmo in Group A, which also features a fascinating return to his home
town for PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Manchester United also did well. Louis van Gaal's side steered clear of the
big guns and instead face PSV Eindhoven (which includes an early reunion
for summer signing Memphis Depay), CSKA Moscow and Wolfsburg (whose
best player Kevin De Bruyne is likely to have left by then) in Group B.
Chelsea, meanwhile, will be up against Porto (with whom Jose Mourinho
first won the Champions League in 2004) and his old foe from Real Madrid
Iker Casillas, who signed for the Portuguese giants earlier this summer.
That should be an exciting encounter, but the Blues could have faced either
Madrid or Atletico and the rest of Group G looks fairly tame as Dynamo
Kiev and Maccabi Tel-Aviv make up the numbers.
Mourinho's men will travel further for those fixtures than the other Premier
League teams, but Arsenal will be frustrated to be up against Bayern
Munich yet again and also Pep Guardiola for the fifth time in seven seasons.
That said, the Gunners will be expected to make it through Group F, a
selection that also includes Olympiacos and Dinamo Zagreb.
The most difficult draw comes for all of the teams in Group D. Manchester
City's Champions League credentials will be severely tested once again,
while last season's finalists Juventus are by no means guaranteed a place
in the last 16 with Europa League winners Sevilla also in there along with
German side Borussia Monchengladbach.
Roma will also have their work cut out against both Barcelona and
Leverkusen and Italy's Serie A - with only two teams in the continental
competition this time around after Lazio failed to make it through the
qualifying - could even be left without a sole representative in the second
round of the tournament.
For the Spanish sides, the outcome was largely positive - aside from
Sevilla's Group D draw.
Atletico, finalists in 2014, return to the scene of their painful defeat at the
hands of local rivals Real as they play Benfica, with Diego Simeone's side
also facing a tough trip to Galatasaray in Istanbul and another long journey
to Kazakhstan to meet surprise qualifiers Astana.
Valencia, meanwhile, may be in for a tricky time in Group H along with Zenit
and Lyon, with Belgian champions Gent expected to merely make up the
So some will be happier than others, but a a difficult draw is not necessarily
an obstacle for any of the title contenders and all of the teams will be
looking to prove themselves when the famous anthem is blared out for the
latest edition of the Champions League next month.
The road to San Siro starts here.

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