The Champions League draw almost always results in at least one group where two of Europe’s biggest powerhouses are thrown together. Thursday’s draw kept that tradition alive, giving soccer fans at least three different matchups worthy of a European final.
Thursday’s Champions League draw placed the final 32 teams into eight groups of four, with matches kicking off on Oct. 20.
Messi, Ronaldo Finally Meet in Group Stage
The biggest headline is the Group G clash between Juventus and Barcelona. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will face off twice in pool play, something the two all-time greats have never done before. While their clubs expect to advance to the knockout rounds, they’ll face opposition in the form of Ukrainian stalwart Dynamo Kiev, and Hungarian side Ferencvaros.
Group H might earn the “Group of Death” moniker. Paris Saint-German and Manchester United come into the pool as the marquee names, but they’ll also have to contend with Germany’s RB Leipzig, a rapidly improving club that reached the semifinals of the Champions League last season before losing 3-0 to PSG. Istanbul Basaksehir also finds itself in Group H, facing a massive challenge against three title contenders.
Champions League Draw Results
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Bayern Munich||Real Madrid||Porto||Liverpool|
|Atletico Madrid||Shakhtar Donetsk||Manchester City||Ajax|
|Red Bull Salzburg||Inter Milan||Olympiacos||Atalanta|
|Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
|Sevilla||Zenit Saint Petersburg||Juventus||Paris Saint-Germain|
|Chelsea||Borussia Dortmund||Barcelona||Manchester United|
|Krasnodar||Lazio||Dynamo Kyiv||RB Leipzig|
|Rennes||Club Brugge||Ferencvaros||Istanbul Basaksehir|
Defending champions Bayern Munich didn’t get off easy, either. They’ll face Atletico Madrid in Group A, with Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg and Russia’s Lokomotiv Moscow rounding out the pool.
Other top teams also face difficult tests in the group stage. Liverpool matches up against Ajax and Atalanta in Group D, while Manchester City will get Porto, Olympiacos, and Marseille in Group C. Real Madrid and Inter Milan hook up in Group B, and the list goes on.
Man City Early Favorite to Win Title
One thing the draw didn’t do – and it rarely does – was to significantly change the odds in the Champions League futures market. The elite teams should qualify for the knockout stages no matter what, with the draw mattering more for second-tier clubs that can benefit greatly from a softer pool.
Champions League Odds (Winner)
- Manchester City: +410
- Bayern Munich: +430
- Liverpool: +500
- PSG: +1000
- Real Madrid: +1100
- Barcelona: +1400
- Juventus: +1400
- Chelsea: +1600
- Dortmund: +1700
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Man City remains the +410 favorite to win the Champions League, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Bayern Munich (+430) and Liverpool (+500) also sit firmly in the group of top contenders. After that, there’s a bit of a gap to clubs like PSG (+1000), Real Madrid (+1100), Barcelona (+1400), and Juventus (+1400), all of which remain strong threats to make deep runs.
Champions League group-stage matches will all take place in 2020, with the knockout stage draw scheduled for Dec. 14. Knockout play begins in Feb. 2021, with Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul hosting the final on May 29.