Former soccer star Joe Cole, right, and Italian football manager Claudio Ranieri attend the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League group stage draw at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

UEFA Champions League Groups Revealed

The UEFA Champions League is the top competition for soccer teams in Europe. After the qualifiers finished on Tuesday and Wednesday, 32 teams awaited the results of the groups on Thursday. UEFA also confirmed that this year’s Champions League will be the last of the current format.

Results of the Groups drawn

The UEFA draw started with teams in Pot 1 placed into 8 groups. The teams in Pot 1 included the Champions League winners, Manchester City, and Europa League winners, Sevilla. The other six teams in Pot 1 are league title winners from the 2022-2023 season. After all teams from Pot 1 were placed in their groups, teams from the next three pots were drawn. UEFA’s club coefficient ratings determined the teams in the other three pots.

The reigning Champions League winner Manchester City, drew RB Leipzig, Red Star Belgrade and BSC Young Boys. Manchester City played RB Leipzig in the round of 16 last season and won 8-1 on aggregate, after a 7-0 win in the second leg. Red Star Belgrade, who won the competition back in 1991, make their first appearance in the group stages since 2019. Young Boys are in the group stages for the third time since 2018.

Last season’s Europa League champions Sevilla are in Group B with Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven and RC Lens. Arsenal and PSV met in the Europa League group stages last year, as they each took one game at home. Sevilla are making their fourth appearance in a row in the Champions League, but they look to make it to the knockout round for the first time since the 2020-2021 season. RC Lens are in the Champions League for the first time since 2002, as they became the surprise of Ligue 1 last season, finishing one point behind PSG for the league title.

Pairings and Groups to Look Out for

The Champions League brings storylines every year when the groups are drawn. Many in the media use the term “group of death” for at least one group every season. A group of death usually consists of at least three teams that have a chance at going far in the competition, but not all can advance past the group stage. Last year, people talked about as many as three different groups as the Groups of Death.

This year, the consensus seems to be that Group F is the group of death. PSG have made it to the knockout round each season since the 2012/13 season, including reaching the finals in 2020. Despite the loss of Lionel Messi and Neymar, PSG still have talented players all over the pitch. Borussia Dortmund missed out on the Bundesliga title on a tiebreaker the previous season, but still have enough quality to to compete at a high level. AC Milan made it to the semifinals of the tournament last season and look to get back there again. Newcastle will make their first appearance in a European tournament since 2012, after they finished third in the English Premier League last season. This group will certainly be tough, and it will not be easy for any team to make it out.

As for pairings, Italian champions Napoli and Real Madrid will meet in Group C. Both teams are among the top attacking clubs in Europe. Bayern Munich and Manchester United will face off for the first time since the 2014 quarterfinals of the Champions League, where Bayern won 4-2 on aggregate. Atletico Madrid and Lazio is a matchup between two very strong defensive teams. Benfica and Inter Milan will face off in Group D, a rematch of last season’s quarterfinals with Inter winning 5-3 on aggregate.

About Matt Rothmann

Check Also

US Women Reach Gold Cup Finals Against Brazil

The United States Women’s National Team defeated Canada in penalties 3-1 in the semifinals of …