Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Real Madrid in tough Champions League group

Published:Friday | August 25, 2017 | 12:00 AM
The trophy of UEFA Champions League is put on display before the UEFA Champions League draw at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco yesterday.

MONACO (AP):

Two-time defending champions Real Madrid landed in a strong Champions League group with Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, and APOEL in the 32-team draw yesterday.

Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo finished second to Dortmund in last season's groups before lifting a third European title in four seasons.

Tottenham, who should face their former star Gareth Bale with Madrid, was arguably the unluckiest of the record five English sides.

Manchester United and Liverpool received favourable draws in the groups which begin play on September 12. The top two in each of the eight groups advance to the knockout rounds.

United return after a one-year absence to play top-seeded Benfica which they beat at Wembley to win the first of their three European titles in 1968 Basel, and CSKA Moscow.

Liverpool landed with the weakest top-seeded team, Russian champions Spartak Moscow, plus Sevilla, and Maribor. Liverpool lost the 2016 Europa League final to Sevilla.

Barcelona, who were in the second-seeded pot, landed with Juventus a rematch of the 2015 final won 3-1 by the Spanish giants - Olympiakos and Sporting Lisbon.

Neymar's bid to win a first European title for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) will open in a group with five-time winners Bayern Munich plus Anderlecht and Celtic. Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti, a three-time Champions League winner as a coach, formerly led PSG.

Chelsea, the last English team to win in 2012, are grouped with Atletico Madrid, Roma, and Azerbaijani newcomers Qarabag.

The other newcomers, Leipzig, are in a balanced group with top-seeded Monaco, Porto, and Besiktas.

Shakhtar Donetsk head another strong group with Manchester City, Napoli, and Feyenoord. Shakhtar continue to play home games away from Donetsk, which is at the centre of conflict between Ukraine government forces and pro-Russian separatists.

- Group A: Benfica, Manchester United, Basel, CSKA Moscow.

- Group B: Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Anderlecht, Celtic.

- Group C: Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Roma, Qarabag.

- Group D: Juventus, Barcelona, Olympiakos, Sporting Lisbon.

- Group E: Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool, Maribor.

- Group F: Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Napoli, Feyenoord.

- Group G: Monaco, Porto, Besiktas, Leipzig.

- Group H: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, APOEL.