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16.55 – Hello, and welcome to our liveblog of this evening’s Champions League group stages draw.
Clubs including Man City, Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Celtic are all set to discover their fate.
17.01 – Sky’s Ray Wilkins reckons Alex Ferguson “will demand” that Man United get out of the group stages this year.
Was the problem that he merely requested it last year?
17.04 – Below are all the pots according to each club’s ranking.
To clarify, two teams in the same pot cannot be drawn against each other. So Barcelona won’t be in the same group as Man United etc.
Pot One: Chelsea, Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Porto, AC Milan.
Pot Two: Valencia, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit St Petersburg, Schalke, Manchester City, Braga, Dynamo Kiev.
Pot Three: Olympiakos, Ajax, Anderlecht, Juventus, Spartak Moscow, Paris St Germain, Lille, Galatasaray.
Pot Four: Celtic, Borussia Dortmund, BATE Borisov, Dinamo Zagreb, CFR Cluj, Malaga, Montpellier, FC Nordsjaelland.
17.06 – Real Madrid are the first name out of the pot and they will be in Group D.
17.09 – Here are some more details of who will be in what group out of all the teams from Pot One:
Bayern Munich – Group F
Barcelona – Group G
Porto – Group A
AC Milan – Group C
17.11 – And completing Pot One…
Chelsea – Group E
Man United – Group H
Arsenal – Group B
17.14 – Denis Law exits to the sound of the Champions League theme tune, having done his work picking teams out from Pot One.
Up next is ex-AC Milan great George Weah. In a short interview beforehand, he calls Arsene Wenger a “father figure” and says that “this city [Monaco] made me who I am today”.
17.18 – Latest draws…
Group E: Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk.
Group F: Bayern Munich, Valencia.
Group G: Barcelona, Benfica.
Group H, Man United, FC Braga.
17.21 – And finally…
Group B: Arsenal, Schalke.
Group A: Porto, Dynamo Kiev.
Group D: Real Madrid, Man City.
Group C: AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg.
17.24 – Ruud Gullit is next out to draw teams from Pot Three.
He describes playing in the European Cup Final, in which he scored two goals, as “the best feeling ever”.
17.28 – Here are is the latest from Pot Three…
Group H: Man United, FC Braga, Galatasaray.
Group F: Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille.
Group B: Arsenal, Schalke, Olympiakos.
Group C: AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht.
17.33 – And the remainder from Pot Three:
Group G: Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow
Group D: Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax
Group E: Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus.
Group A: Porto, Dynamo Kiev, Paris St Germain
17.38 – Fabio Cannavaro is drawing the teams from Pot Four. Here are the first four draws:
Group G: Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic.
Group A: Porto, Dynamo Kiev, Paris St Germain, Dynamo Zagreb.
Group B: Arsenal, Schalke, Olympiakos, Montpellier.
Group E: Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, FC Nordsjælland.
17.42 – And the last four…
Group F: Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille, FC BATE Borisov.
Group C: AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht, Malaga.
Group H: Man United, FC Braga, Galatasaray, CFR Cluj.
Group D: Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax, Dortmund.
17.48 – So Group D is the obvious group of death. City must be cursing their luck, having also received a tough draw last year.
Meanwhile, Group E, which includes Chelsea, doesn’t look easy either.
In addition, Man United surely won’t slip up for the second year running, having received what most people will consider to be a favourable draw.
Arsenal will also likely fancy their chances of qualifying, while Celtic appear to have a difficult but not impossible task ahead of them.
17.50 – In case City had any doubts about the difficulty of the challenge that lies ahead, it’s worth emphasising they will be facing the respective champions of Spain, the Netherlands and Germany.
17.58 – This appears to be more or less the consensus on Twitter.
18.03 – Some more breaking news…
18.09 – Here is a handy shot of all the groups (h/t adamjld).
18.12 – Something tells me Rio Ferdinand isn’t the only United player happy with that draw.
18.20 – Right, that’s it from me. Thanks for reading and commenting.
It’s sure to be another fascinating year in the Champions League, with the prospect of a repeat of last year – when several high-profile teams exited the competition early on – very much appearing to be a significant possibility again this time, with a number of big teams being drawn together.