Erling Haaland’s return to Borussia Dortmund and Robert Lewandowski’s reunion with Bayern Munich were the talking points of the night as Champions League group stage draws were announced.
Lewandowski, who ended his eight-year spell in Munich this summer, will have a tall task on his hands to lead Barcelona out of the toughest group. Joining Barcelona and Bayern Munich in “Group C” are Serie A runner-up’s Inter Milan and Viktoria Plzen.
Munich and Barcelona will face each other in the group stages of Europe’s biggest club competition for a second consecutive season, with Bayern condemning Barca to a pair of 3-0 defeats last year as the Spanish giants finished third and were sent to the Europa League, where they reached the quarterfinals.
With a revamped squad this time around, Xavi will be hoping to fare much better in the competition this season.
Haaland, meanwhile, after joining City in June faces a return to Dortmund, as the two clubs were drawn together in Group G alongside Sevilla and FC Copenhagen.
The 14-time champions and current holders Real Madrid are in Group F, where they will play RB Leipzig, Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic.
Last season’s runner-ups Liverpool are part of Group A along with Rangers, Napoli and the Dutch champions Ajax.
Highflying PSG will have their hands full in Group H with Juventus, Benfica and Maccabi Haifa making up the rest of the teams.
During the Champions League draws it was also confirmed that this year’s Champions League group stage will be played over a shorter period- nine weeks rather than the typical 12 weeks- due to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which begins in November.
The knockout stages of the competition will take place later than in previous years, beginning on Feb. 14, 2023. The final will take place at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on June 10, 2023.
Complete groups after Champions League Draws:
Ajax (Netherlands), Liverpool (England), Napoli (Italy), Rangers (Scotland).
FC Porto (Portugal), Atletico Madrid (Spain), Bayer Leverkusen (Germany), Club Brugge (Belgium).
Bayern Munich (Germany), Barcelona (Spain), Inter Milan (Italy), Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic).
Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany), Tottenham Hotspur (England), Sporting CP (Portugal), Marseille (France).
AC Milan (Italy), Chelsea (England), FC Salzburg (Austria), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia).
Real Madrid (Spain), RB Leipzig (Germany), Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine), Celtic (Scotland).
Manchester City (England), Sevilla (Spain), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), FC Copenhagen (Denmark).
Paris Saint-Germain (France), Juventus (Italy), Benfica (Portugal), Maccabi Haifa (Israel)