• Gladbach face Man City in UCL opener.
  • Barcelona and Celtic also in Group C.
  • Johnson encouraged by last season's performances.

USMNT international Fabian Johnson says Borussia Mönchengladbach have nothing to fear when the Foals begin their UEFA Champions League campaign away to Group C rivals Manchester City FC on Wednesday (kick-off: 20:45CEST/18:45GMT) in a rearranged match after torrential rain caused the delay of the original kick-off on Tuesday.

Five-time winners FC Barcelona and Scottish champions Celtic FC complete the competition's 'group of death', but the 28-year-old Gladbach midfielder believes his side have more than enough about them to hold their own at Europe's top table.

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Question: Borussia were undone in the dying stages of the 4-2 defeat at Man City last season. What do you remember about the game?

Fabian Johnson: We played absolutely brilliantly in the first half and kept our cool after City took the lead. We played with passion and showed some real class. Unfortunately, we couldn't keep it up until the end. After City equalised late on, their immense individual class turned it round in their favour.

Watch: Fabian Johnson's top 5 goals.

Question: The Man City of 2015/16 are not the same Man City of 2016/17. Pep Guardiola's revamped side have won all of their competitive games so far this season. Is it an almost impossible task?

Johnson: I wouldn't say that. I don't think there is a team in the world that cannot be got at. Obviously City have an outstanding squad with many world-class players. They've also made an impressive start to the season, most recently beating Manchester United 2-1 in the derby. So we respect them, but we don't fear them. We know what we are capable of and showed that last season - against Man City, too.

"We played absolutely brilliantly against City last season."

Question: Borussia have without doubt been drawn in the strongest group alongside FC Barcelona, Manchester City and Celtic. Your Gladbach teammate Raffael said "the bigger the opposition, the better". Do you agree or would you have preferred a weaker group on paper?

Johnson: No, I'm with 'Raffa'. We worked all season to get back into the Champions League. It's the best club competition in the world. You want to measure yourself against the best teams and the best players. And we've got a few of those in our group. That's why I'm really looking forward to each game in this season's Champions League.

Gladbach pair Raffael and Johnson (l-r.) have no qualms with this season's testing group stage draw. © imago

Question: With Barca, Man City and Celtic providing the opposition, are you already thinking about finishing third and qualifying for the next round of the Europa League?

Johnson: No. We're not thinking about how the group might pan out. For us, it's about preparing for each game as best we can and giving our best against every team. We'll see what happens at the end of it.

Interview by Andreas Kötter

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