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Champions League draw

Bayern primed for challenging group

At 6 pm CET on Thursday, all eyes at Bayern will turn to Monaco and the draw for the 32-team Champions League group stage. Germany’s most successful club are seeded and will be drawn from pot 1, along with holders Barcelona and English trio Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United. The seeding system means FCB avoid some of the biggest names in the draw – but Munich could still end up in a tough section.

The clubs who could be drawn against Bayern from pot 2 include Real Madrid, Inter Milan with former Munich man Lucio, or Juventus and ex-FCB midfielder Hasan Salihamidzic. Pot 3 could serve up the likes of Atletico Madrid or Glasgow Rangers, and pot 4 contains dangerous floaters such as Istanbul giants Besiktas and French champions Girondins Bordeaux.

Rummenigge urges caution

“We’re delighted we’re once again one of the eight top seeds, but we obviously know from experience that you can’t take anything for granted in the group stage,” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told fcbayern.de in the build-up to the draw. “In the Champions League, you face the crème de la crème of European football.”

Extra spice would be the order of the day should Bayern be matched with the former clubs of coach Louis van Gaal (AZ Alkmaar, pot 2), Franck Ribéry (Olympique Marseille, pot 3) and Daniel van Buyten (Standard Liege, pot 4). And the Bavarians could yet be handed a voyage into the unknown, to Russian champions Rubin Kazan in the faraway Republic of Tatarstan.

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