UCL group stage set after draw

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By MATTHEW LEVINE
Staff Writer

After some tense games — some with more ease than others and a new hero in Cosmin Moti in the play-off round — the Champions League is really set to get going.

As always, the recent draw sets up some exceptional match-ups and some on repeat from last season. Arsenal get Borussia Dortmund again (third time in four seasons) and the two clubs should be the favorites to advance with Anderlecht and Galatasaray rounding out the group. Manchester City continues to get tough draws squaring off against Bayern Munich once more at this stage and will also face AS Roma and CSKA Moscow in what may be the Group of Death.

Group F was nearly an all clubs played for by  Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Sweden’s Malmo FF was placed in Group A. The current PSG striker will meet Barcelona and Ajax in the group stages. APOEL rounds out the group in what should be one of the most difficult to move on from.

One team to look out for is Ludogorets. Sure they are heavy underdogs in Group B along with current title holders Real Madrid, Liverpool and Basel, but after magic in the previous round, they could have a little fairy dust left in the competition. Moti famously saved two penalties in the shootout. The catch? He is a center back, who was forced to step in goal after Ludogrotets saw the keeper red carded and the three allotted subs had already been uses.   

Full Draw

Group A: Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Olympiakos, Malmo FF

Group B: Real Madrid, FC Basel, Liverpool, Ludogorets

Group C: Benfica, Zenit, Bayer Leverkusen, AS Monaco

Group D: Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Galatasaray, Anderlecht

Group E: Bayern Munich, Manchester City, CSKA Moscow, AS Roma

Group F: Barcelona, PSG, Ajax, APOEL

Group G: FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Athletic Bilbao, FC BATE Borisov