Holders Real Madrid will start their attempt to win a record third straight Champions League title in a group with Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham Hotspur and Apoel Nicosia after Thursday’s draw.
The Group H draw will see Real’s Welsh international Gareth Bale face his former club Tottenham for the first time since his 2013 move to Madrid. Real were drawn in the same group as Dortmund last year and drew 2-2 both home and away as the Germans topped the group.
Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said: “It’s the toughest group but we’ve been in this situation before and won the group. Heroes are made in groups like these.”
Manchester United will face their opponents from their 1968 European Cup final triumph, Benfica, and were given a relatively kind draw with Switzerland’s FC Basel and CSKA Moscow also in Group A. The world’s most expensive player, Brazilian Neymar, will be up against Bayern Munich, Anderlecht and Celtic in Group B as his club Paris Saint Germain look for their first Champions League title.
Lionel Messi and Barcelona will face last year’s beaten finalists Juventus in Group D, as well as Olympiakos Piraeus and Sporting Lisbon.
Group C throws up some interesting games with 2012 winners Chelsea up against Atletico Madrid, beaten finalists in 2016 and 2014.
AS Roma will also fancy their chances of progressing from Group C and Qarabag, the first team from Azerbaijan to qualify for the group stage, will relish the big-name opponents.
Liverpool face familiar rivals in Sevilla, who beat them in the final of the 2016 Europa League, but Juergen Klopp’s team will be confident against Spartak Moscow and Slovenia’s Maribor.
Road to Kyiv
Matchday one: 12/13 September
Matchday two: 26/27 September
Matchday three: 17/18 October
Matchday four: 31 October/1 November
Matchday five: 21/22 November
Matchday six: 5/6 December
The full 2017/18 UEFA Champions League calendar
This season’s final will be held in Kyiv
This season’s final will be held in Kyiv©Getty Images
Round of 16
Draw: 11 December
First legs: 13/14 & 20/21 February
Second legs: 6/7 & 13/14 March
Draw: 16 March
First legs: 3/4 April
Second legs: 10/11 April
Semi-finals and final
Draw: 13 April
Semi-finals, first legs: 24/25 April
Semi-finals, second legs: 1/2 May
Final (NSK Olimpiyski, Kyiv): 26 May