August 27, (THEWILL) – Europe’s biggest football competition will return to action with some of the most interesting pairings after the group stage draw for the 2021/2022 UEFA Champions League season was held in Istanbul on Thursday.
Football fans of these clubs were making permutations and raising hypotheticals when the teams were distributed into the different pots for the draw but now fans will begin to think of the fate of their clubs.
From the English Premier League, last year’s beaten finalists and big spenders Manchester City were drawn against Europe’s other big spenders the French giant Paris Saint-Germain in group A for what will definitely be a big night of football over the two legs and a group to watch.
Not only will Pep Guardiola be on the other side of a team playing against Lionel Messi, whom he managed to great success at Barcelona, the might of the new PSG will be put to task against a resilient and determined City. The rumours around Cristiano Ronaldo moving to City only makes it more mouth-watering.
In the other interesting pairing, UEFA Champions Chelsea will clash with Serie A heavyweights Juventus, who are back under the management of Italian Massimiliano Allegri. Their Group H fixtures will leave their fans thrilled and entertained although there will be a caveat if Ronaldo is absent for Juve.
Already, teams have found it difficult breaching the defenses that Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel has engineered within the Blues’ squad. With Ronaldo, on a good day, Juve will have a hard time breaking through. Yet, if there is anything to the rumours and the Portuguese successfully moves to City, the UCL Group H will take on more significance for Chelsea.
A classic UCL pairing that has a different hue now because of the changes that have taken place in Barcelona will be the Catalan club facing their UCL nemesis from the 2018/2019 season, Bayern Munich in Group E.
There will be some in Camp Nou who will be out for vengeance after that 8-2 disgraceful aggregate exit but a full squad Bayern is always a threat to further inflict more damage given that Barcelona is a team in a process of adjusting to life after Messi.
Real Madrid will seek to move from the second coming of Zinedine Zidane to the second of Carlo Ancelotti to navigate the challenge that will be posed by the Serie A champions Inter Milan, after the team lost its title-winning coach, Antonio Conte, sensational defender, Achraf Hakimi, and deadly striker, Romelu Lukaku.
There will be enough for both sides to slug it out as Real will be without some of the old guard in the defense like such as Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane. With a striker in the mould of Edin Dzeko at Inter, Real’s defense will be on their game to not allow sloppiness mess their chances up.
Two sides that met at the UEFA Europa League final from last season, Manchester United and Villarreal, at a final where Unai Emery confirmed himself as the undisputed Kind of the Europa in the epic penalty shootout, have been drawn together. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be pleased to get one back.
There is, beyond all of the above, so much more to look forward to in the fixtures of the UCL champions league draw as classified in their groups below:
Apart from the draws, there was an award ceremony as Chelsea’s players and manager won almost everything in the different categories. It was a deserving honour for each of the club’s manager Thomas Tuchel, goalie Edouard Mendy, and midfield maestros Ngolo Kante and Jorginho.
After taking over from club legend Frank Lampard in mid season, Tuchel reorganised Chelsea and led them to the FA Cup final qualified for Europe and beat City to claim the biggest European club football prize to make him UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year.
By keeping 9 clean sheets in 12 matches and winning the UCL, 29-year-old Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, emerged Goalkeeper of the Season for the 2020/2021 UEFA Champions League.
The Italian Jorginho won UEFA Men’s Player of the Year while French international N’Golo Kanté took the award for UCL Midfielder of the Season for his brilliant performance for the Blues last season.
Erling Haaland’s skill did not go unnoticed and for scoring 10 goals in eight games, the Borussia Dortmund youngster emerged the UCL Forward of the Season, while Manchester City’s Rúben Dias won Defender of the Season.