Premier League permutations: Plenty to play for at top and bottom on final dayMay 21 | 1 min read
Champions League 2021/22 group stage draw results: Man City drawn into Group of Death, Liverpool face heavyweights Atletico and AC Milan, Chelsea take on Juventus and Man United seek revenge for Europa League final against Villarreal
Premier League sides discover who they will face in the Champions League group stages.
It isn't much easier for Liverpool either in the group stages, with Jurgen Klopp's men drawn to face three European heavyweights in Thursday's draw in Istanbul.
The second-seeded Reds meet Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid - who dumped Liverpool out in 2019/20 - FC Porto and sleeping giants AC Milan.
And three months on from losing to Villarreal in the Europa League final, Manchester United were drawn against the Spaniards once again along with Italian hotshots Atalanta and Swiss outfit Young Boys.
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Group D is another glamour group as Serie A champions Inter meet the competition's most successful team in La Liga giants Real Madrid. Ukraine's other team Shakhtar Donetsk and Moldova's first-ever representative Sheriff make up the rest of the group.
Erling Braut Haaland's Borussia Dortmund will meet Portuguese giants Sporting CP, Dutch champions Ajax and winners of the Turkish Superlig Benfica in an evenly-matched looking Group C.
Group stage draw in full
GROUP A: Man City, PSG, RB Leipzig, Club Brugge
GROUP B: Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Porto, AC Milan
GROUP C: Sporting, Dortmund, Ajax, Besiktas
GROUP D: Inter, Real Madrid, Shakhtar, Sheriff
GROUP E: Bayern, Barcelona, Benfica, Dynamo Kiev
GROUP F: Villarreal, Man United, Atalanta, Young Boys
GROUP G: Lille, Sevilla, Salzburg, Wolfsburg
GROUP H: Chelsea, Juventus, Zenit, Malmo
It's a reunion with Lionel Messi for Guardiola after the Argentine superstar's shock departure from Barcelona and subsequent move to Paris earlier this month.
The Man City manager is yet to win a Champions League title without Messi (or Barcelona) and will hope to lay down a marker by seeing off a star-studded PSG side also featuring Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria.
Germany's RB Leipzig, who qualified for the semi-finals in 2019/20, represent a stern test as a third seed too while it looks a big ask for fourth seed Club Brugge to qualify.
Liverpool will seek revenge over Atletico after the Spaniards dumped them out two seasons ago in a dramatic night at Anfield.
The Reds, who exited at the hands of Atletico's city rivals Real last year, face a rematch of the 2005 and 2007 finals in Group B opponents AC Milan while FC Porto are a vastly-experienced opponent too.
Chelsea's defence of the trophy will see them face Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo, who lost out to Inter for the Serie A title. The Old Lady of Turin are back under the tutelage of Max Allegri and desperate to win a first European Cup since 1996.
Barring any huge shocks, Zenit and Malmo look set to make up the numbers in a lop-sided final group of this season's Champions League.
And Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Man United, fresh from signing Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, were drawn into a slightly kinder Group F.
The Red Devils meet Villarreal - who they were defeated to on penalties in May's Europa League final, Italy's great entertainers Atalanta and Young Boys of Bern.
When are the group stage games?
The Champions League group stages begins in mid-September and concludes in early December. The dates are as follows:
Matchday 1: 14/15 September
Matchday 2: 28/29 September
Matchday 3: 19/20 October
Matchday 4: 2/3 November
Matchday 5: 23/24 November
Matchday 6: 7/8 December
Note, fixtures will be released nearer the time.
Where was the draw?
The draw for the group stage will take place in Istanbul, Turkey on Thursday 26 August.
How did the draw work?
The 32 teams will be split into four pots. Pot 1 will consist of holders Chelsea, Europa League winners Villarreal and the champions of the six highest ranked nations (Spain, England, Germany, Italy, France and Portugal).
The remaining sides are seeded based on their UEFA club coefficients. As usual, no team can play a side from their own nation.
What were the pots and who was involved in the draw?
26 teams qualified automatically for the group stage and the final six teams (Young Boys, Malmo, Benfica, Red Bull Salzburg, Sheriff Tiraspol and Shakhtar Donetsk) qualified via the play-offs.
The pot a team is in is denoted by the number in brackets after their name.
Below are the teams who have qualified:
Spain: Atletico Madrid (1), Real Madrid (2), Barcelona (2), Sevilla (2), Villarreal (1)
England: Man City (1), Man United (2), Liverpool (2), Chelsea (1)
Germany: Bayern Munich (1), RB Leipzig (3), Borussia Dortmund (2), Wolfsburg (4)
Italy: Inter Milan (1), AC Milan (4), Atalanta (3), Juventus (2)
Portugal: Sporting CP (1), Porto (3), Benfica (3)
France: Lille (1), Paris Saint-Germain (2)
Ukraine: Dynamo Kyiv (4), Shakhtar Donetsk (3)
Russia: Zenit (3)
Belgium: Club Brugge (4)
Netherlands: Ajax (3)
Turkey: Besiktas (4)
Switzerland: Young Boys (4)
Sweden: Malmo (4)
Austria: Red Bull Salzburg (3)
Moldova: Sheriff Tiraspol (4)