Thursday 30 August 2012

Chelsea and City face tough tests in Champions League

European Cup holders and Premier League champions receive tough draw in Monaco

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard celebrates with the UEFA Champions League Trophy

Barclays Premier League clubs learnt their opponents for the group stages of this season's UEFA Champions League when the draw was made in Monaco.

Defending champions Chelsea, who defeated Bayern Munich to win the title in May, were drawn in Group E against three of last season's champions: Shakhtar Donetsk, of the Ukraine, Juventus, who won Serie A, and FC Nordsjaelland, the Danish side.

Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City were handed a similarly tough draw against the title-holders of their countries in Group D. Roberto Mancini's side will face Real Madrid, Ajax, the Eredivisie champions, and Borussia Dortmund, who won back-to-back Bundesliga titles last season.

Three-time champions Manchester United were drawn in Group H against Braga, of Portugal, Galatasaray, the Turkish champions, and CFR Cluj, of Romania.

The 2006 finalists Arsenal will face the German side Schalke, Greek champions Olympiacos and Montpellier, who won the French title last season.

The group stage of this season's competition begins on 18th-19th September and finishes on 4th-5th December.

The final will take place at Wembley Stadium, London on 25th May 2013.

Group A: Porto, Dynamo Kiev, Paris St Germain, Dinamo Zagreb.
Group B: Arsenal, Schalke, Olympiacos, Montpellier.
Group C: AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht, Malaga.
Group D: Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund.
Group E: Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, FC Nordsjaelland.
Group F: Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille, BATE Borisov.
Group G: Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic.
Group H: Manchester United, Braga, Galatasaray, CFR Cluj.

Arsenal fixtures

Sept 18 Montpellier (A)
Oct 3 Olympiacos (H)
Oct 24 Schalke (H)
Nov 6 Schalke (A)
Nov 21 Montepllier (H)
Dec 4 Olympiacos (A)

Manchester City fixtures

Sept 18 Real Madrid (A)
Oct 3 Borussia Dortmund (H)
Oct 24 Ajax (A)
Nov 6 Ajax (H)
Nov 21 Real Madrid (H)
Dec 4 Borussia Dortmund (A)

Chelsea fixtures

Sept 19 Juventus (H)
Oct 2 FC Nordsjaelland (A)
Oct 23 Shakhtar Donetsk (A)
Nov 7 Shakhtar Donetsk (H)
Nov 20 Juventus(A)
Dec 5 FC Nordsjaelland (H)

Manchester United fixtures

Sept 19 Galatasaray (H)
Oct 2 CFR Cluj (A)
Oct 23 Braga (H)
Nov 7 Braga (A)
Nov 20 Galatasaray (A)
Dec 5 CFR Cluj (H)


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Key Points

  • Chelsea to face champions of Ukraine, Italy and Denmark in their group
  • Manchester City also face group of champions, in Real Madrid, Ajax and Dortmund
  • Group stage begins on 18th-19th September