(Image Courtesy: UEFA)
UEFA Champions League 2019/20 - Road to Istanbul: The Complete List
Holders Liverpool received a relatively kind draw for this season’s Champions League group stage but 13-times European champions Real Madrid were pitted against Kylian Mbappe and Paris St Germain.
Juergen Klopp’s side, who beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in June’s final to win their sixth European Cup, will face Serie A’s Napoli, Austria’s Salzburg and Belgian side Genk.
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane will return to his homeland France for a clash with PSG in Group A which also features Club Brugge and Galatasaray.
The draw produced two fascinating groups which should deliver a real battle for qualification with Barcelona facing Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan and Slavia Prague in Group F.
Group D is also a mouth-watering prospect with Italian champions Juventus taking on Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow.
Last year’s runners-up Tottenham Hotspur face German champions Bayern Munich as well as Greek side Olympiakos and Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade in Group B.
Liverpool played Napoli at the same stage last season, losing 1-0 in Naples before securing a place in the next round with Mohamed Salah scoring the only goal in the win at Anfield.
“Napoli are obviously a very experienced side and their coach Carlo Ancelotti has won the competition,” said Klopp, referring to his triumphs with AC Milan and Real Madrid.
“I will need now to have another, closer look at Genk and Salzburg, but I already know they are very young, very exciting and very fresh, so it will be interesting, 100 percent,” he said.
Two of Liverpool’s squad, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, have played for Salzburg, who are managed by American Jesse Marsch.
Liverpool, beaten by Real Madrid in the 2018 final, are looking to becoming the first English team to reach three consecutive Champions League/European Cup finals.
In the past two seasons, Liverpool have scored more goals and won more games than any other team in the competition.
It remains to be seen if PSG’s Brazil forward Neymar, linked with Real and Barca, will be at the club when the Parisians take on Madrid. Real eliminated PSG in the last 16 in 2018.
Dortmund captain Marco Reus, was delighted with the psopect of facing Barca.
“A few of us from the team were stood together at breakfast this morning and we all agreed that we’d love to draw Barcelona,” he said.
“I am buzzing that it’s actually happened. Obviously, the group is extremely difficult. The games against Barcelona will have a party atmosphere for us and our fans. We believe in our quality and our aim is to go through,” he said.
Chelsea have a tricky test in Group H where they face last season’s semi-finalists Ajax Amsterdam along with Spain’s Valencia and French club Lille.
Premier League champions Manchester City will feel happy with their draw in Group C which puts them up against Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine, Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb and Italy’s Atalanta, who are in the group stage for the first time.
UEFA Champions League: Road to Istanbul
(The Complete List)
Group A: Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Club Brugge, Galatasaray
Group B: Bayern München, Tottenham Hotspur, Olympiacos, Crvena zvezda
Group C: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb, Atalanta
Group D: Juventus, Atlético Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Moskva
Group E: Liverpool, Napoli, Salzburg, Genk
Group F: Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Internazionale Milano, Slavia Praha
Group G: Zenit, Benfica, Lyon, RB Leipzig
Group H: Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia, LOSC Lille
(All kick-off times 21:00 CET unless stated)
Tuesday: September 17
Group E: Napoli v Liverpool, Salzburg v Genk
Group F: Inter v Slavia Praha (18:55 CET), Dortmund v Barcelona
Group G: Lyon v Zenit (18:55 CET), Benfica v Leipzig
Group H: Chelsea v Valencia, Ajax v LOSC Lille
Wednesday : September 18
Group A: Club Brugge v Galatasaray (18:55 CET), Paris v Real Madrid
Group B: Olympiacos v Tottenham (18:55 CET), Bayern v Crvena zvezda
Group C: Shakhtar v Manchester City, Dinamo Zagreb v Atalanta
Group D: Atlético v Juventus, Leverkusen v Lokomotiv Moskva
Tuesday : October 1
Group A: Real Madrid v Club Brugge (18:55 CET), Galatasaray v Paris
Group B: Tottenham v Bayern, Crvena zvezda v Olympiacos
Group C: Atalanta v Shakhtar (18:55 CET), Manchester City v Dinamo Zagreb
Group D: Juventus v Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Moskva v Atlético
Wednesday: October 2
Group E: Genk v Napoli (18:55 CET), Liverpool v Salzburg
Group F: Slavia Praha v Dortmund (18:55 CET), Barcelona v Inter
Group G: Zenit v Benfica, Leipzig v Lyon
Group H: Valencia v Ajax, LOSC Lille v Chelsea
Tuesday: October 22
Group A: Club Brugge v Paris, Galatasaray v Real Madrid
Group B: Tottenham v Crvena zvezda, Olympiacos v Bayern
Group C: Shakhtar v Dinamo Zagreb (18:55 CET), Manchester City v Atalanta
Group D: Atlético v Leverkusen (18:55 CET), Juventus v Lokomotiv Moskva
Group E: Salzburg v Napoli, Genk v Liverpool
Group F: Inter v Dortmund, Slavia Praha v Barcelona
Group G: Leipzig v Zenit (18:55 CET), Benfica v Lyon
Group H: Ajax v Chelsea (18:55 CET), LOSC Lille v Valencia
Tuesday: November 5
Group E: Liverpool v Genk, Napoli v Salzburg
Group F: Barcelona v Slavia Praha (18:55 CET), Dortmund v Inter
Group G: Zenit v Leipzig (18:55 CET), Lyon v Benfica
Group H: Chelsea v Ajax, Valencia v LOSC Lille
Wednesday: November 6
Group A: Paris v Club Brugge, Real Madrid v Galatasaray
Group B: Bayern v Olympiacos (18:55 CET), Crvena zvezda v Tottenham
Group C: Dinamo Zagreb v Shakhtar, Atalanta v Manchester City
Group D: Lokomotiv Moskva v Juventus (18:55 CET), Leverkusen v Atlético
Tuesday: November 26
Group A: Galatasaray v Club Brugge (18:55 CET), Real Madrid v Paris
Group B: Tottenham v Olympiacos, Crvena zvezda v Bayern
Group C: Manchester City v Shakhtar, Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb
Group D: Lokomotiv Moskva v Leverkusen (18:55 CET), Juventus v Atlético
Wednesday: November 27
Group E: Liverpool v Napoli, Genk v Salzburg
Group F: Barcelona v Dortmund, Slavia Praha v Inter
Group G: Zenit v Lyon (18:55 CET), Leipzig v Benfica
Group H: Valencia v Chelsea (18:55 CET), LOSC Lille v Ajax
Tuesday: December 10
Group E: Napoli v Genk (18:55 CET), Salzburg v Liverpool (18:55 CET)
Group F: Dortmund v Slavia Praha, Inter v Barcelona
Group G: Benfica v Zenit, Lyon v Leipzig
Group H: Chelsea v LOSC Lille, Ajax v Valencia
Wednesday: December 11
Group A: Paris v Galatasaray, Club Brugge v Real Madrid
Group B: Bayern v Tottenham, Olympiacos v Crvena zvezda
Group C: Shakhtar v Atalanta (18:55 CET), Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City (18:55 CET)
Group D: Atlético v Lokomotiv Moskva, Leverkusen v Juventus
Round of 16
Draw: 16 December
First legs: 18/19 & 25/26 February
Second legs: 10/11 & 17/18 March
Draw: 20 March
First legs: 7/8 April
Second legs: 14/15 April
Draw: 20 March
First legs: 28/29 April
Second legs: 5/6 May
Final: Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadı, Istanbul, May 30, 2020
(With inputs from UEFA.com)