Thursday, 27 August 2009

[UCL] Tough draws for Italian quartet

The four Italian clubs in the UEFA Champions League have been handed tough draws for the group stage of the competition.

UEFA Champions League 2010Serie A champions Inter will face holders Barcelona and former star Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Group F, while city rivals AC Milan will welcome back Ricardo Kaka of Real Madrid in a tough Group C.

French giants Marseille and Swiss champions FC Zurich are also in Milan's group, with Dinamo Kiev of Ukraine and Russia's Rubin Kazan complete Inter's group.

Juventus have been drawn together with German giants Bayern Munich in Group A, while they will also face French title winners Bordeaux and Maccabi Haifa of Israel.

Fiorentina, who edged to an away-goals rule victory over Sporting Lisbon in the play-off round this week, will meet English giants Liverpool and Hungarian champions Debrecen in Group E. They will also face French side Lyon for the second consecutive year.

The 32 teams were split into eight groups of four with last season's runners-up Manchester United drawn in Group B alongside CSKA Moscow, Besiktas and Wolfsburg. Former Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti will guide his new club Chelsea in Group D, which includes Porto, Atletico Madrid and Apoel Nicosia.

Elsewhere, Arsenal are drawn with AZ Alkmaar, Olympiakos and Standard Liege in Group H, while Sevilla will meet Rangers, Stuttgart and Unirea Urziceni in Group G.

The group-stage fixtures will begin with Matchday 1 on 15/16 September, with fixtures continuing on 29/30 September, 20/21 October, 3/4 November, 24/25 November and 8/9 December.

The group winners and runners-up will progress to the first knockout round in the spring, with the final to be staged at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid on Saturday 22 May 2010. Teams finishing third in each group will transfer to the UEFA Europa League Round of 32.

The fixtures were released shortly after the draw with Leonardo's Milan kicking off their European campaign on 15 September with a trip to Didier Deschamps' Marseille. Ciro Ferrara's Juve welcome Laurent Blanc's Bordeaux on the same night.

Jose Mourinho's Inter will start off with welcoming Barcelona to the San Siro on 16 September, while Fiorentina, like last year, begin with a trip to Lyon.

UEFA Champions League 2009-10
Group Stage Draw
Group A: Bayern Munich, Juventus, Bordeaux, Maccabi Haifa.
Group B: Manchester United, CSKA Moscow, Besiktas, Wolfsburg.
Group C: Milan, Real Madrid, Marseille, FC Zurich.
Group D: Chelsea, Porto, Atletico Madrid, Apoel Nicosia.
Group E: Liverpool, Lyon, Fiorentina, Debrecen.
Group F: Barcelona, Inter, Dynamo Kiev, Rubin Kazan.
Group G: Sevilla, Rangers, Stuttgart, Unirea Urziceni.
Group H: Arsenal, AZ Alkmaar, Olympiakos, Standard Liege.


Source: UEFA

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