Paris Saint-Germain joins Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan and Newcastle in a formidable group for the Champions League group stage, the draw of which takes place in Monaco this Thursday. The champions of France, who were seeded, will have to fight it out against the vice-champions of Germany, the seven-time champions of Europe and the rising power of English football, the Saudi capital Newcastle.
The other French club in the running, RC Lens, was relatively spared given their status as the fourth Hatte team. Sang et al Sevilla FC, one of the less formidable seeds, are drawn in a group with Arsenal and PSV Eindhoven.
In addition to the duel between the Hernandez brothers, Lucas at PSG and Theo at Milan, the double clash will pit Paris against other Blues, Mike Magnan and Olivier Giroud. The “Rossoneri” were quarter-finalists last season, being knocked out by their neighbors Inter (1-0/2-0). Germany’s vice-champion, doubled on the final day by Bayern, Borussia is also a strong rival, including Ivory Coast striker Sebastien Haller, prodigy Karim Adeyemi or exes Marco Reus and Mats Hummels. Newcastle have finally won the Champions League after a 21-year absence, and have a balanced workforce thanks to money from a Saudi investment fund.
The 2002–2003 season also coincided with the final appearance of RC Lens in C1. For their return to the international scene, Artesians would meet Arsenal, whom they beat at Wembley in C1 1998–1999 (1–0), in the group stage after a draw with Bolart (1–1).
Finally, for their part, FC Barcelona inherited a very affordable group alongside Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Antwerp of Belgium.
Pool A: Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Copenhagen, Galatasaray.
Pool B: Sevilla FC, Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven, Lens ,
Group C: Napoli, Real Madrid, Braga, Union Berlin.
Pool D: Benfica, Inter Milan, FC Salzburg, Real Sociedad.
Pool E: Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid, Lazio Rome, Celtic Glasgow.
Pool F: Paris Saint Germain Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, Newcastle.
Pool G: Manchester City, Leipzig, ER Belgrade, Young Boys Bern.
Pool H: FC Barcelona, FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Antwerp.