It’s the start of another Champions League season, when the continent’s premier clubs square off under the floodlights on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, that’s when the term “European football” truly comes to the fore.
Chelsea will come up against former defender Fikayo Tomori after the 2021 winners were paired with AC Milan in Group E. Thomas Tuchel’s side will also face Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb and will be favourites to progress to the knockout stage.
Liverpool and Rangers will meet in a battle of Britain in the Champions League after being paired in Group A. The Scottish side, who overcame PSV on Wednesday to qualify for the group stages, will face the Reds for the first time in a competitive match, as well as group games against Dutch champions Ajax and Italian side Napoli.
Two of the best strikers on the planet will return to their former clubs after massive summer transfers, as Robert Lewandowski and Barca will face his former club, Bayern Munich. Erling Haaland, meanwhile, will also return to his old stomping grounds as a member of Manchester City, who were drawn with Borussia Dortmund.
Barca and Bayern find themselves in one of the tougher groups, with Italian giants Inter also drawn into Group C. Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain also have a fascinating draw as they’ve been paired with Juventus, Benfica and minnows Maccabi Haifa.
On paper, Tottenham Hotspurs’ Group D assignment (against Eintracht, Sporting and Marseille) may look straightforward enough, but previous stats and records informs that the north London club have lost both prior Champions League meetings to French opposition — in the 2016 group stage vs. Monaco.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) August 25, 2022
The last time Celtic advanced to the round of 16, in 2012-13, they also shared group with a Spanish team (Barcelona). So, while a Group F draw with Madrid, Leipzig and Shakhtar may look daunting, history suggests this could suit the Scottish side down to the ground.
Champions League group-stage draw in full
Group A: Ajax, Liverpool, Napoli, Rangers.
Group B: Porto, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Club Brugge.
Group C: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Inter Milan, V Plzen.
Group D: Frankfurt, Tottenham, Sporting, Marseille.
Group E: AC Milan, Chelsea, Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb.
Group F: Real Madrid, Leipzig, Shakhtar Donetsk, Celtic.
Group G: Man City, Sevilla, Borussia Dortmund, Copenhagen.
Group H: PSG, Juventus, Benfica, Maccabi Haifa.
The full fixture list for the group stage will be revealed after the draw but UEFA has confirmed the matchday dates.
Matchday 1: September 6/7
Matchday 2: September 13/14
Matchday 3: October 4/5
Matchday 4: October 11/12
Matchday 5: October 25/26
Matchday 6: November 1/2