Champions League draw 2012: Man City handed Real Madrid test
Champions League draw 2012: Manchester City are drawn with La Liga champions Real Madrid, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund
Manchester City will face Real Madrid in the Champions League group stage as the Premier League winners attempt to win Europe’s premier club competition for the first time.
The Citizens were handed a tough draw in Monaco, with Roberto Mancini’s side also set to take on Dutch champions Ajax and Bundesliga winners Borussia Dortmund in Group D.
Chelsea will meet Serie A champions Juventus in Group E as the Blues look to defend their European crown, with Roberto Di Matteo’s side also braced for demanding trips to Shakhtar Donetsk and Danish side Nordsjælland.
City’s derby rivals Manchester United were given a seemingly more straightforward draw, with Braga, who knocked Liverpool out of the Europa League in 2011, likely to offer the biggest challenge for top spot in Group H.
The Red Devils can expect a vociferous welcome at the Turk Telecom Arena where they will take on Turkish champions Galatasaray, with Romanian outfit Cluj completing Group H.
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud can look forward to an emotional return to his former employers Montpellier in what could prove a tricky group for Arsene Wenger’s side.
The Gunners will take on Schalke, fronted by attacking duo Klass-Jan Hunterlaar and Peru striker Jefferson Farfar, while also facing on Olympiacos for the second successive season in Europe.
Scottish champions Celtic were rewarded for finally ending their four-year wait to qualify for the Champions League group stage with a mouth-watering trip to Camp Nou.
Neil Lennon’s side will come up against a familiar opponent in Spartak Moscow’s Aiden McGeady – the winger spent six years at Parkhead – with Portugal’s Benfica completing Group G.
Champions League group stage draw in full
Group A: Porto, Dynamo Kyiv, Paris Saint-Germain, Dinamo Zagreb.
Group B: Arsenal, Schalke 04, Olympiacos, Montpellier.
Group C: Milan, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht, Malaga.
Group D: Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund.
Group E: Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, Nordsjaelland.
Group F: Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille, Bate Borisov.
Group G: Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic.
Group H: Manchester United, Braga, Galatasaray, CFR 1907 Cluj.