Arsenal, Olympiacos and Zagreb!
Bayern face a tough but manageable task in the preliminary stage of this season's Champions League after the 2013 winners were drawn to play English Premier League giants Arsenal, Greek champions Olympiacos and Croatian side GNK Dinamo Zagreb in Group F.
"We can be happy with the draw, but we'll have to focus and play well from the first match onwards," commented FCB chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in a first reaction to the draw. "We want to get through to the last 16 -- no question," added sporting director Matthias Sammer. "But we have to approach this task with seriousness and respect."
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 Barca stars Andoni Zubizarreta, Juliano Belletti, Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal, and ambassadors for the 2015 final Paolo Maldini and Javier Zanetti.
Good record against the Gunners
Bayern beat Arsenal in the Round of 16 in 2012/13 and 2013/14 and recorded a win and a draw against the Gunners in the 2000/01 second group stage. Olympiacos are based in Piraeus, the port of Athens, while Dinamo Zagreb are the reigning Croatian champions.
In the draw, Bayern were among the eight seeded teams drawn from Pot 1, although the top eight are no longer determined according to their UEFA club coefficients but instead comprise the holders plus the champions from the seven strongest leagues. The UEFA coefficients, based on performance over the last five seasons, were then used to assign the 24 non-seeded teams into pots.
The eight groups of four comprise one team from each pot. Teams from the same country cannot be drawn together at the group stage, so Bayern could not have faced Bayer Leverkusen (Pot 2), VfL Wolfsburg or Borussia Mönchengladbach (both in Pot 4). The group stage matches all kick off at the usual time of 20.45 CET. The first matchday in the 2015/16 campaign is on Tuesday 15 and Wednesday 16 September, with the final on 28 May 2016 at the San Siro in Milan, the stadium where Bayern won the trophy back in 2001.