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Champions League group stage draw

CSKA Moscow, Manchester City and Viktoria Plzen

Holders Bayern face a challenging but manageable task in the preliminary phase of this season’s Champions League after being drawn to play Russian champions CSKA Moscow, English Premier League runners-up Manchester City, and Czech side Viktoria Plzen in Group D.

“We especially mustn’t underestimate CSKA Moscow and Manchester City,” commented Karl-Heinz Rummenigge immediately after the draw, “we can take nothing for granted. We have to approach the competition with full focus and great respect.” However, the chairman continued, the club’s ambitions are clear: “Our target is a place in the Round of 16.”

Matthias Sammer expressed a similar opinion. “This is an attractive group,” said the FCB board director for sport, describing the clash with Manchester City as “a cracker,” and warning against complacency against the Russian and Czech sides: “It’ll be awkward in Moscow, and we mustn’t underestimate Pilsen.” However, insisted Sammer: “we have to make it through to the next stage.”

Campaign opens on 17 September

The draw for the first stage of Europe’s elite club competition was made at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on Thursday evening, supervised as always by UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino, and conducted on this occasion by former Scotland and Celtic legend Billy McNeil, Netherlands icon Johan Cruyff, ex-England striker Michael Owen, former Dortmund and Juventus star Paulo Sousa and ambassador for the 2014 final, Portuguese great Luis Figo.

The Bayern delegation was headed by Rummenigge, and included the chairman’s fellow board directors Jan-Christian Dreesen and Andreas Jung. The seedings and assignments into pots were determined according to UEFA coefficients based on performance over the last five seasons. Each of the eight groups includes one team from each pot. Teams from the same country cannot be drawn together at the group stage, so Bayern could not have faced Schalke (pot two), Borussia Dortmund or Bayer Leverkusen (both in pot three).

The group stage matches all kick off at the usual time of 8.45 pm CET, with the exception of the away fixture in Moscow, which is brought forward due to the difference in time zones. The first group stage matchday is on 17 and 18 September, with the final in Lisbon on 24 May 2014.