AP Photo/Manu Fernandez
The 2022-23 UEFA Champions League draw is set, paving the way for 32 clubs to become European champions.
Last year’s winners Real Madrid were placed in Group F along with RB Leipzig, Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic.
Top contenders Manchester City are still in the hunt for their maiden UCL title and will have to emerge from a group that includes Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and FC Copenhagen. Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Inter Milan are also part of the same group, creating a group of death comprising three of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Here are the results of the draw: the top two teams from each of the eight groups after the group stage advance to the round of 16.
- Atlético Madrid
- Bayer Leverkusen
- Club Brugge
- Bayern Munich
- Viktoria Plzen
- Eintracht Frankfurt
- Tottenham Hotspur
- sports CP
- AC Milan
- FC Salzburg
- Dinamo Zagreb
- real Madrid
- RB Leipzig
- Shakhtar Donetsk
- Manchester City
- Borussia Dortmund
- FC Copenhagen
- Paris Saint Germain
- Maccabi Haifa
Day 1: September 6-7
Day 2: September 13-14
Matchday 3: October 4-5
Matchday 4: October 11-12
Matchday 5: October 25-26
Day 6: November 1 and 2
Round of 16: February 14-15, 21-22; March 7-8, 14-15
Quarter-finals: April 11-12, 18-19
Semi-finals: May 9-10, 16-17
Final: June 10
All eyes will be on Group C, which already looks like the Group of Death with Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Viktoria Pilsen.
Bayern Munich let Robert Lewandowski go to Barcelona this summer after the striker led the club to eight straight Bundesliga titles and a Champions League crown. He will now have the chance to face them in the group stage after the two clubs were paired.
Men in blazers @MenInBlazers
Barca vs Bayern in the Champions League.
Lewandowski Homecoming. pic.twitter.com/9GCZCRYksE
Barcelona have loaded up this offseason with Lewandowski, Raphinha and Andreas Christensen, among others, giving the team a chance to return to glory after being knocked out in the group stage last season.
2020 champions Bayern will obviously still be one of the top contenders even without Lewandowski. The German club added Sadio Mane and have been strong to start this season with three wins from three Bundesliga matches, beating their opponents 15-1.
With Inter Milan also in the group, there is no shortage of intrigue or expected matches.
Another comeback will come in Group G with Manchester City against Borussia Dortmund.
B/R Soccer @brfootball
He’s coming back 🤖 pic.twitter.com/klJ8z0hPDb
City have been considered one of the top contenders for the title in each of the last few years, but have continually failed in the knockout stage. After losing to Chelsea in the 2021 final, the team lost to Real Madrid in the semi-finals in 2022.
Erling Haaland could be the missing piece after joining the Dortmund squad. The 22-year-old has scored 23 career UCL goals in 19 appearances which could put the England side at the top this season. As fate would have it, the striker will face his former side in the group stage.
Real Madrid won the UCL final last year 1-0 against Liverpool, and they should be favorites again with an experienced line-up led by striker Karim Benzema. Even with RB Leipzig in the squad, Madrid have a relatively easy path to the knockout stages.
Liverpool might have a tougher challenge with Ajax, a club that went unbeaten as a group last year, as well as talented Serie A club Napoli. Liverpool have had a slow start to the Premier League season with two draws and a loss, but this team reached the final a year ago, won it in 2019 and reached the final in three of the last five seasons.
Paris Saint-Germain is a star club with Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. A tough draw last year led to a second-place finish in the group behind Manchester City ahead of a round of 16 exit against Real Madrid. This time around, the France team will face Juventus and Benfica, two other teams that reached the round of 16 last year.
American fans should also keep an eye out for Group H with Weston McKennie emerging as a key part of Juventus’ success.
Barring transfers before the window closes, there would be several members of the United States national team in action:
Rangers are particularly a team to watch with Americans James Sands and Malik Tillman both playing important roles in helping the team qualify for the group stage.