The draw for the group stage of the Uefa Champions League took place in Monaco on Thursday afternoon, with Manchester City being paired alongside European champions Bayern Munich.
New City head coach Manuel Pellegrini will also be up against Russian champions CSKA Moscow and Czech title holders Viktoria Plzen in a testing looking Group D for the experienced Chilean to navigate, as the big-spending Premier League outfit look to qualify for the knockout phase of Europe’s premier club competition for the very first time in their history.
Meanwhile, City’s fierce rivals from across town, Manchester United, were also handed a tough draw as recently appointed boss David Moyes takes charge of a team in the Champions League group stage for the first time in his managerial career.
The Red Devils, who have been crowned kings of Europe on three occasions, were placed alongside Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk, who made it all the way through to the second round last season, Sami Hyypia’s Bundesliga high-flyers Bayer Leverkusen and one of the form teams in La Liga, Real Sociedad, in Group A.
Elsewhere, Jose Mourinho will be delighted with who Chelsea were paired with in Group E, with the west London club having to play Bundesliga outfit Schalke 04, Swiss side Basel and Romanian champions Steaua Bucharest as the Portuguese looks to win the trophy with the Blues for the very first time, and what would be the third time in his career, and each with a different side.
And Arsenal will be reasonably happy to have found themselves playing the likes of Ligue 1′s Marseille, last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund and Rafa Benitez’s Napoli in Group F.
Finally, however, Scottish Premier League champions Celtic were once again drawn with Spanish title winners Barcelona, with Neil Lennon’s side also having to take on Serie A giants AC Milan and Eredivisie league winners Ajax in the hardest section of all in Group H.
Draw in full
Group A: Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad
Group B: Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, Copenhagen
Group C: Benfica, Paris St-Germain, Olympiakos, Anderlecht
Group D: Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, Viktoria Plzen
Group E: Chelsea, Schalke, Basel, Steaua Bucharest
Group F: Arsenal, Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli
Group G: Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit St Petersburg, Austria Vienna
Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax, Celtic