Manchester City’s bad luck in the Champions League group-stage draw showed no sign of improvement as they again found themselves in a very tough pool for the 2015-16 edition.
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After being paired with Bayern Munich for the last two seasons and Real Madrid in the campaign before that, the Premier League title favourites now go up against 2014-15 runners-up Juventus, Europa League holders Sevilla and smart German side Borussia Monchengladbach.
As a result, City’s odds to win the Champions League have been pushed out to a best price of 16/1 with bookmaker Betfred
, with the 2012 and 2014 English title-winners yet to progress beyond the last 16.
In contrast, their neighbours Manchester United and Premier League champions Chelsea will be relatively happy with their respective draws.
United are in with Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven and CSKA Moscow, although there will have been a tinge of disappointment that they got Wolfsburg from the final pot of seeds rather than Borussia Monchengladbach when there was only their pot and City’s still to be filled.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, faces a reunion with Porto, the club with whom he made his name when guiding them to Champions League glory in 2004, while the Blues also face Dynamo Kiev and Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Jose Mourinho (right) hugs Nuno Valente after his side Porto side won the Champions League in 2004. The Chelsea manager faces a reunion with his former club in this season's competition (Getty Images)
For Arsenal the news was mixed, because while Olympiakos and Dinamo Zagreb will be viewed as beatable opposition, the presence in the group of second favourites Bayern Munich means they face a very tough task to finish top of the table.
Arsene Wenger’s side were knocked out of the Champions League in the last 16 by Bayern in both 2013 and 2014, on away goals on the first of those occasions.
Barcelona will be content with their draw having been pitched in with Roma, Bayer Leverkusen and BATE Borisov and consequently the team that landed the treble last season are the clear 3/1 favourites with Betfred
to retain the trophy.
But Real Madrid, the most successful club in European Cup history with 10 victories, may not have things all their own way as they must face Paris Saint-Germain as well as Shakhtar Donetsk and Malmo.
2015-16 Champions League group-stage draw:
Maccabi Tel Aviv
Zenit St Petersburg
2015-16 UEFA Champions League schedule:
September 15-16 – Group stage match day 1
September 29-30 – Group stage match day 2
October 20-21 – Group stage match day 3
November 3-4 – Group stage match day 4
November 24-25 – Group stage match day 5
December 8-9 – Group stage match day 6
December 14 – Draw for round of 16
February 16-17 – Round of 16 first leg
February 23-24 – Round of 16 first leg
March 8-9 – Round of 16 second leg
March 15-16 – Round of 16 second leg
March 18 – Draw for quarter-finals
April 5-6 – Quarter-final first leg
April 12-13 – Quarter-final second leg
April 15 – Draw for semi-finals
April 26-27 – Semi-final first leg
May 3-4 – Semi-final second leg
May 28 – Champions League Final in Milan