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back Champions League | 29.08.2013 18:55:09

Tricky Champions League ties for German clubs

  • The group stages were drawn for this season's Championy League and the four German teams all have tough assignments
  • Current holders FC Bayern Munich will face Manchester City, Viktoria Plzen and CSKA Moskva
  • ...while Robert Lewandowski and Borussia Dortmund, runners up in the final in May, have Arsenal, Marseilles and Napoli
  • Bayer Leverkusen have it tough indeed; they will face Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Shakhtar Donetsk
  • ...while Schalke, who needed a play-off victory over PAOK to book their place in the draw, are up against Chelsea, Basel and Steaua

Monaco - The draw for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, Europe's premier club competition, was also made and all four German representatives have been handed tough assignments.

Holders FC Bayern Munich have been grouped with Manchester City, PFC CSKA Moskva and FK Viktoria Plzen as they begin the defence of their title. Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund were drawn against some familiar faces in Arsenal FC and Olympique de Marseilles, as well as SSC Napoli.

FC Schalke 04 will face Chelsea FC, FC Basel 1893 and FC Steaua Bucuresti, while Bayer 04 Leverkusen have perhaps the most difficult schedule, as they are up against Manchester United, FC Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Sociedad de Futbol.

The first ties will be played on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 September.

Bayern's Franck Ribery was also recognised for a stunning season on a personal level by being awarded the 2012/13 UEFA European Player of the Year award.


Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Group E

Group F

Group G

Group H
Manchester United FC
Real Madrid CF
SL Benfica
FC Bayern Munich
Chelsea FC
Arsenal FC
FC Porto
FC Barcelona
FC Shakhtar Donetsk
Juventus
Paris St-Germain FC
PFC CSKA Moskva
FC Schalke 04
Olympique de Marseille
Club Atletico de Madrid
AC Milan
Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Galatasaray AS
Olympiacos FC
Manchester City FC
FC Basel 1893
Borussia Dortmund
FC Zenit
AFC Ajax
Real Sociedad de Futbol
FC Kobenhavn
RSC Anderlecht
FK Viktoria Plzen
FC Steaua Bucuresti
SSC Napoli
FK Austria Wien
Celtic FC

That concludes the events for the evening. As a final reminder, FC Bayern's Franck Ribery has been crowned 2012/13 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, while the draw for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League has been completed. The tables are available to view above.

"It's a very special moment for me to win this. I'd like to thank my team-mates, FC Bayern and the fans, as well as my family and my children."

And the moment has arrived: who will be crowned 2012/13 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. UEFA President Michel Platini is invited to announce the winner and it's......Franck Ribery! Congratulations!

Ribery is then asked to reflect back to that night in London in May, when Bayern beat Dortmund to finally win the Champions League. "It was an amazing night, and it was even better to win at Wembley. We had been fighting so hard for the title for so long." He is then asked about tomorrow's game against Chelsea in the Super Cup. "Tomorrow we play Chelsea, but it won't be revenge for the final in 2012. We're looking forward to playing a great team", says Ribery.

Lionel Messi talks candidly about a 2012/13 season with its ups and downs: "It was a great achievement to win the league title again; unfortunately we lost to Bayern in the Champions League. Hopefully we can do better this time."

The players who are present - Messi and Ribery - take to the stage, with Cristiano Ronaldo absent with first-team duty with Real Madrid.

And the ladies and gentleman in the audience are casting their votes.... and the winners is... you'll have to wait, as the audience are reminded of the three protagonists' exploits from last season.

That's not the end of proceedings, however, not by a long way. There is still the draw for the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, with the three contenders Lionel Messi of Barcelona, Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Bayern’s Franck Ribery. The 30-year-old Frenchman was instrumental in Bayern’s quadruple-winning season and admits he doesn’t think he could have done any more to win the much-coveted accolade, as he said exclusively to bundesliga.com.

Nearing the end of the draw and it's FC Kobenhavn, who end up with Juventus, Real Madrid and Galatasaray in Group B. FC Viktoria Plzen are then drawn and they complete Bayern's group along with CSKA Moscow and Manchester City.

Schalke are the final Bundesliga side to know their fate and they will face FC Steaua Bucuresti, as well as Chelsea and Basel in Group E.

Sosa continues and up next it's Belgian side RSC Anderlecht, into Group C with Benfica, Olympiacos and PSG, while Celtic have a tough assignment indeed: Barcelona, AC Milan and Ajax in Group H.

Leverkusen's group is now complete: along with Manchester United and Shakhtar, they will face Real Sociedad de Futbol.

He draws out Napoli first of all, and they end up in Group F, with Arsenal, Marseilles and Jürgen Klopp's Dortmund.

The guests are becoming more distinguished with each round: next on the podium is Paulo Sosa, winner of the competition with Juventus in 1996 and then Dortmund, against Juve, the following year. "I chose the right clubs at the right time!" he jokes.

Bayern then discover their next opponent, someone they faced in 2011/12 - Manchester City. They're then followed by Borussia Dortmund, who go into Group F along with Arsenal and Marseilles - strangely enough, all three sides were drawn in the same group two seasons ago.

The third German club has been drawn. It's Bayer Leverkusen and they haven't exactly got it easy: Group A with Manchester United and Shakhtar. Then it's Zenit into Group G with Porto and Atletico Madrid.

The next club drawn is Greek side Olympiacos FC, who will go into Group C with Benfica and Paris Stain-Germain. Turkish club Galatasaray then follow and they will play in Group B with Juventus and Real Madrid.

Michael Owen draws the first team from Pot 3 and its Swiss Champions GFC Basel 1863, semi-finalists in the UEFA Europa League last season. The Swiss outfit go into Group E with Chelsea and Schalke.

The next guest is an English striker and one of the greatest goalscorers the country has ever produced: Michel Owen, European Footballer of the Year in 2001 and formerly of Liverpool FC, Real Madrid and Manchester United: Michael Owen. "There wasn't a secret to my success in 2000/01. We gained confidence throughout the year and we were ready for the finals we played."

The other Madrid side, Club Atletico, are now drawn and they go straight into Group G with FC Porto. Then it's Juventus into Group B with Real Madrid in a repeat of the 1998 final, and finally FC Shakhtar Donetsk, who go into Group A with Manchester United.

Paris-St Germain is the next club to be drawn by Mr. Cruyff, and they are in Group C, along with Benfica. Then it’s the turn of PFC CSKA Moskva, who will play in Group D with current holders FC Bayern Munich.

AC Milan, seven-time winners are then drawn, and immediately an interesting trip is thrown up: FC Barcelona in pot. Then it's the second German club, Schalke 04, who will play in Group E with Chelsea.

Gianni Infantino takes over again as Johan Cruyff takes the first ball, and the team is from France: Olympique de Marseilles, winners in 1993. They will play in Group F, which contains Arsenal.

The next guest onto the stage is without doubt one of the greatest players to have every played the game: Johan Cruyff - winner of the European Cup with Ajax three years running in the 1970s and one of only six men to have won the competition as a player and a coach.

FC Barcelona, winners most recently in 2009, are the next team to emerge from pot 1, and they end up in group H. Portuguese giants SL Benfica, two-time winners of the competition then come up and they will be in Group C, followed by in Group G. The final team from pot 1 is Manchester United, three-time winners of the competition, who are in Group A.

The draw continues as Real Madrid CF is now drawn by Billy McNeill, with the Spanish giants, beaten at the semi-final stage by Dortmund last season, playing in Group B. Then follows the first German side, and the holders, FC Bayern, who are into group D.

....and it is English side Arsenal FC, who will play in Group F. They are then followed by Chelsea FC, the side that infamously defeated Bayern in the final of the 2011/12 competition in the Allianz Arena. The Blues play in Group E.

So the first team is about to be drawn....

The 32 clubs in the draw are placed in their pots in accordance to their rankings in the five-year UEFA coefficient. No two teams from the same country my play against each other in the group stages, so the Bundesliga's clubs will avoid each other until the knockout rounds.

Gianni Infantino now tales the floor, wishing all the clubs that have made it this far good luck for the year ahead.

Luis Figo, who lifted the trophy with Madrid in 2002 when the Spanish giants defeated Bayer Leverkusen, says, "It was an amazing night for us, and something that you dream of."

The presentation party now begins to take its place, as we prepare to draw the first teams in the competition. Giorgio Marchetti and Gianni Infantino, UEFA General Secretary, are joined by this season's UEFA Champions League ambassador Luis Figo, a former Real Madrid and Portuguese national team star.

The ceremony comperes are joined on stage by Celtic FC legen Billy McNeill, who lifted the European Cup with the Glasgow club way back in 1976. "It's such a great trophy, and it's been a long while since I've held it," says one of the Lisbon Lions from that famous year, so-called on account of their lifting the trophy in the Portuguese capital.

The guests at the ceremony in Monaco are being treated to a montage video of last season’s competition, which ended in an all-German final: FC Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund, in which Bayern prevailed.

DRAW begins The ceremony for the draw for the group stages of the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League has now begun.

While the draw is being made, there will also be a ceremony to mark the winner of the 2012/13 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. Three names are on the shortlist: Lionel Messi of Barcelona, Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and FC Bayern’s Franck Ribery. The 30-year-old Frenchman was instrumental in Bayern’s quadruple-winning season and admits he doesn’t think he could have done any more to win the much-coveted accolade, as he said exclusively to bundesliga.com.

To recap, Bayern are the top-seeded club in pot 1, with Schalke in pot 2 and Dortmund and Leverkusen in pot 3. No team may be drawn against another from their own country, so the Bundesliga’s four representatives will avoid each other, at least for now.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen return to the competition after a one-season absence. Sami Hyypiä’s men conducted their business extremely efficiently in the league last season, 4-3 aggregate victory finishing in third and sewing up a direct spot in the group stages with some way to go. This season they will be looking to go one better than their last 16 appearance of 2011/12, as well as to avoid a certain Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona. In Bayer’s last appearance in the competition, they were hammered 7-1 in the Nou Camp, with the Argentine magician scoring a record five times.

Draw - 15 mins Their Ruhr rivals Schalke just about booked their place in this season’s competition by the skin of their teeth. Finishing fourth in the league last season meant they needed a play-off to reach this stage. Paired against Greek outfit PAOK FC, managed by former Schalke boss Huub Stevens, the Royal Blues could only manage a 1-1 draw at home in the first. On Tuesday night, however, they came through a stern test as goals from in Julian Draxler and Adam Szalai ensured a 4-3 aggregate victory.

Jürgen Klopp’s men may have lost Mario Götze to FC Bayern, but in Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Klopp has found very capable replacements, and it’s fair to say that a few clubs will be hoping to avoid the Yellow Blacks in the draw.

In the last four, they then produced that performance that defined their European campaign, as they thrashed nine-time European champions Real Madrid 4-1, with striker Robert Lewandowski scoring four times, cementing his reputation as one of the deadliest strikers in world football. Their place in the final was then secured aft a 2-1 defeat in the Bernabeu.

Draw – 30 mins Borussia Dortmund may have lost in the final last season, but the football they played won them an army of fans across the world. Jürgen Klopp’s team produced a scintillating brand of fast-paced, attacking football to help them finish top of the so-called ‘group of death’ with Real Madrid CF, Manchester City FC and AFC Ajax. In the last 16, they overcame FC Shakhtar Donetsk, before a sensational victory over Malaga CF, in which they scored twice in stoppage time to advent to the quarter finals.

A year previous to that, the Bavarians had experienced one of the most painful nights in their history. A missed penalty from Robben in extra time with the scores at 1-1 preceded an agonising penalty shootout loss to Chelsea, in the Allianz Arena no less. Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge described as “somehow more painful that 1999”, when Bayern conceded twice in the dying minutes to lose the final 2-1 to Manchester United FC in Barcelona. If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can also read that match report here. The same two teams meet this Friday to contest the UEFA Super Cup.

It doesn’t seem long ago at all that we were watching the first all-German Champions League final at Wembley. On that sunny evening on May 19, Bayern finally put the trauma of defeat to Chelsea FC 2012 to bed, sealing a 2-1 win over rivals Dortmund, with Arjen Robben scoring the winner. You can read bundesliga.com’s match report from that historic night here.

Draw – 45 mins Europe’s premier club competition is back! There are just three quarters of an hour until the draw is made for the group stages of this season’s UEFA Champions League and the Bundesliga has four clubs with their names in the draw: FC Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Schalke 04.