ZURICH. — Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are set for a Champions League group stage showdown while Manchester United will face Paris St-Germain in the Group of Death.
Chelsea appear to have been given a clear path to find a way out of their group and will take on Europa League winners Sevilla, Krasnodar and debutants Rennes.
Liverpool will have to negotiate a group containing Ajax, Atalanta and Danish side Midtjylland.
Manchester City are in Group D with Porto, Olympiakos and Marseille.
Ronaldo’s Juventus and Messi’s Barcelona were drawn in Group G, while holders Bayern Munich will face Atletico Madrid in Group A.
The draw, which also saw Real Madrid and Inter Milan paired in Group A, took place without club officials present because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
And it was a particularly tough draw for Manchester United, who will play last term’s finalists Paris St-Germain, as well as 2020 semi-finalists RB Leipzig.
Simon Stone, BBC Sport
“If they were hoping for some escape from the pressure on them to get new signings when today’s Champions League draw was made, Manchester United did not get it,,’’ said BBC Sport journalist, Simon Stone.
“Two of last season’s semi-finalists – and a long trip to Turkey – is not what they would have wanted from their Pot Two seeding.
“It means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will be outsiders even to make it through.
“If there is one straw to clutch at, it is the memory of their 3-1 win over PSG at the Parc de Princes two seasons ago which overturned a 2-0 defeat from the home leg, which was one of the greatest nights in their illustrious European history.’’
This year’s group stage begins on Tuesday, 20 October while the final is on Saturday, 29 May 2021 at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul.
Fans could make a partial return to UEFA matches, for the first time since March, where local laws permit.
Starting during the October international break, fans will be capped at 30% of a stadium’s capacity but away supporters will not be able to attend.
Social distancing will be mandatory and additional precautionary measures such as mask wearing must be implemented in accordance with local rules.
Messi and Ronaldo have provided one of the greatest rivalries in world football for the past decade and will go head-to-head, once more, in the Champions League.
Champions League stats
Manchester United have progressed from the group stages in 82% of their previous Champions League campaigns (18/22), last failing to do so back in 2015-16 under Louis van Gaal.
Since Alex Ferguson retired, Manchester United’s best finishes in the Champions League have been two quarter-final appearances — in 2013-14 under David Moyes and most recently in 2018-19, under Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has progressed past the Champions League group stages in six of his seven seasons managing in the competition, going on to reach the final three times — he lost with Borussia Dortmund in 2013 and Liverpool in 2018, before winning it with the Reds in 2019 versus Spurs.
Liverpool have lost each of their last four away Champions League games at Italian clubs — two against Napoli (2018 and 2019) and once each against Roma (2018) and Fiorentina (2009).
Chelsea have only lost one of their last 14 Champions League group stage games at Stamford Bridge (W9 D4) — their lone defeat in this run is the only time in the previous 30 home group stage games they have failed to score in (0-1 Valencia).
Sevilla will be fifth different Spanish side Chelsea have met in the Champions League, with the Blues unbeaten in the first meeting with each of previous four (W3 D1).
The Full Draw
Bayern Munich, Atletico,
RB Salzburg, Lokomotiv Moscow.
Real Madrid, Shakhtar,
Inter Milan, Monchengladbach.
Porto, Man City,
Atalanta, FC Midtjylland.
Lazio, Club Brugge.
Dynamo Kiev, Ferencvarosi TC.
Paris Saint-Germain, Man Utd,
RB Leipzig, Instanbul Basaksehir.
— BBC Sport.