- Bayern kick-off Champions League campaign at home.
- Coach Carlo Ancelotti aiming for his fourth Champions League title.
- Rostov are making their debut in the competition.
The record German champions can have no major complaints about life under new coach Carlo Ancelotti. They have made a perfect start to the new Bundesliga campaign – hitting SV Werder Bremen for six, and grinding out a 2-0 win over a stubborn FC Schalke 04 side. There was also a 5-0 drubbing of fourth-tier Carl Zeiss Jena in the DFB Cup.
Yet the Champions League title has remained elusive for the Bavarians in recent years, a wrong Ancelotti has been brought in to right. The 57-year-old certainly has the pedigree. He has won the competition three times, with AC Milan (2003, 2007) and Real Madrid (2014), an unprecedented feat. This season, he could become the first manager to win it four times, and the first to win it with three different clubs.
First, though, there is the small matter of progressing from Group D, where Bayern have been drawn alongside Club Atlético de Madrid, FC Rostov and PSV Eindhoven. On paper, the Bavarians will be battling with Atlético for top spot, but Ancelotti insists his side will take nothing for granted.
“They're defensively strong and sometimes play with five at the back, so they'll be tough to break down," he said of last season’s Russian League runners-up. “We’re happy the Champions League is starting again with a home game. The fans have waited long enough.”
Indeed, they have been waiting since 2013... and are hoping Ancelotti is the man to guide them to a sixth European crown in Cardiff.
FC Rostov: the key facts
- Finished second behind CSKA Moscow in the Russian Premier League last season.
- Had the best defence in the league, conceding just 20 goals.
- Currently sixth in the fledgling 2016/2017 table, with ten points from six games.
- Won a play-off to narrowly avoid relegation in 2014/2015.
- Reached the group phase after beating four-time European champions Ajax. Followed up a 1-1 draw in the Netherlands with a superb 4-1 home win in Russia.
- After Kurban Berdyev resigned as head coach in August, 63-year-old Ivan Danilyants has recently taken charge.