Real Madrid will face Liverpool in the group stage of the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League as they bid to become the first club for 25 years to retain the trophy.
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The last team to win the European Cup in consecutive seasons were AC Milan in 1989 and 1990 before the competition was expanded into its modern guise, but Real are the 7/2 favourites with bookmaker Betfred
to end the long wait for a back-to-back victor.
Completing Group B along with Real Madrid and Liverpool are Swiss club Basel and newcomers Ludogorets Razgrad, the Bulgarian outfit who booked their place in the last 32 when their centre-half Cosmin Moti saved two penalties in a shootout against Steaua Bucharest after goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov had been sent off.
The English club who fared best in the group-stage draw were Chelsea, whose odds to win the Champions League were cut to 6/1 by Betfred
after being pooled with Schalke for the second consecutive campaign, plus Sporting Lisbon and Maribor.
And there was also a sense of déjà vu for both Arsenal and Manchester City, who face familiar opposition as well.
Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin (left) vies with Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo during the UEFA Champions League Final in Lisbon on May 24 2014 (Getty Images)
Arsenal are in Group D with Borussia Dortmund for the third time in four seasons, both clubs having finished on 12 points along with Napoli last term when it was the Italians who bowed out early.
The English and German duo are joined this time by Galatasaray and Anderlecht, with Arsene Wenger’s side facing a third trip to Turkey in the space of two seasons having beaten Fenerbahce and Besiktas in the play-off round last term and this campaign respectively.
And there is even more of the same for Manchester City because the Group E line-up is almost an exact replica of their pool from 12 months ago, with Bayern Munich and CSKA Moscow this time joined by Serie A runners-up Roma to increase the difficulty of the task awaiting the English champions.
The pick of the remaining pools is Group F, in which four-time champions Barcelona will play Paris Saint-Germain, Ajax and APOEL Nicosia.
2014-15 UEFA Champions League group-stage draw:
Zenit St Petersburg
2014-15 UEFA Champions League fixtures schedule:
Match day 1 (all kick-off times 19:45 BST)
Tuesday September 16
Juventus v Malmo
Olympiakos v Atletico Madrid
Liverpool v Ludogorets Razgrad
Real Madrid v Basel
Benfica v Zenit St Petersburg
Monaco v Bayer Leverkusen
Borussia Dortmund v Arsenal
Galatasaray v Anderlecht
Wednesday September 17
Bayern Munich v Manchester City
Roma v CSKA Moscow
Ajax v Paris Saint-Germain
Barcelona v APOEL Nicosia
Chelsea v Schalke
Maribor v Sporting Lisbon
Athletic Bilbao v Shakhtar Donetsk
Porto v BATE Borisov
September 30-October 1 – Match day 2
October 21-22 – Match day 3
November 4-5 – Match day 4
November 25-26 – Match day 5
December 9-10 – Match day 6
December 15 – Last-16 draw
February 17-18 – Last-16 first leg
February 24-25 – Last-16 first leg
March 10-11 – Last-16 second leg
March 17-18 – Last-16 second leg
March 20 – Quarter-final draw
April 14-15 – Quarter-final first leg
April 21-22 – Quarter-final second leg
April 24 – Semi-final draw
May 5-6 – Semi-final first leg
May 12-13 – Semi-final second leg
June 6 – Champions League Final in Berlin