The draw for the UEFA Champions League group stage was completed on Thursday and there is much to look forward to in the upcoming campaign of European football.
The draw was conducted in Istanbul, venue of the 2023 Champions League final, with the help of final ambassador Hamit Altintop as well as ex-Barcelona and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Touré.
UCL holders Real Madrid were grouped with RB Leipzig, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Celtic in Group F, while last season’s runners-up Liverpool have been drawn in Group A together with Dutch champions Ajax, Napoli and Scottish side Rangers.
This year's 'group of death' is feisty to say the least, boasting a combined 14 European cups between its constituents. Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Inter Milan have all been drawn to Group C where the trio of giants are complemented by lowly Viktoria Plzen of the Czech Republic.
Bayern and Inter met in the 2010 UCL final in Madrid, meanwhile Bayern and Barca faced off in the quarter-finals two years ago when the Bavarians demolished their Catalonian opposition by eight goals to two. Robert Lewandowksi is due a comeback to Munich just months after completing a move to Spain.
Seven-time European champions AC Milan are in Group E alongside two-time Champions League winners Chelsea, and they are joined by RB Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb.
Group H pits Juventus against French champions Paris St-Germain and their group is completed by Portuguese outfit Benfica and Israeli club Maccabi Haifa who are due a first run-out in Europe's primary club competition since 2009.
English champions Man City have to contend with Sevilla, Borussia Dortmund and FC Copenhagen in Group C. Erling Haaland will come up against his former team Dortmund for whom the Norwegian striker bagged 86 goals in 89 appearances, including 15 goals in 13 Champions League outings.
The full results from the draw can be seen below.
After the main draw proceedings, Real Madrid talisman Karim Benzema was named the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year following a remarkable campaign in which the French attacker netted 15 goals in the Champions League and guided Los Blancos to a record 14th European crown.
The other nominees were Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Man City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne.
Carlo Ancelotti scooped the award for Men's Coach of the Year after the Italian became the first manager to win the Champions League four times. Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp and Man City's Pep Guardiola were also nominated for the accolade.
The schedule for the Champions League group stages has been amended to have all six matchdays completed before the start of the winter World Cup beginning 20 November.
Matchday 1: 6/7 September
Matchday 2: 13/14 September
Matchday 3: 4/5 October
Matchday 4: 11/12 October
Matchday 5: 25/26 October
Matchday 6: 1/2 November
Round of 16 draw: 7 November