Atlético, PSV and Rostov!

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Bayern face a tough but attractive task in the preliminary stage of this season’s Champions League after the 2013 winners were drawn to play last year’s beaten finalists and the Reds’ semi-final conquerors Atlético Madrid, Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven and Russian side FC Rostov in Group D.

The draw for the first stage of Europe’s elite club competition was made at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on Thursday evening, supervised by UEFA chief of communications Pedro Pinto and UEFA director of competitions Giorgio Marchetti, and conducted on this occasion by former stars Clarence Seedorf, Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Roberto Carlos, and ambassador for the 2017 final Ian Rush.

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 Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen (both in Pot 2), or Borussia Mönchengladbach (in Pot 3). The group stage matches all kick off at the usual time of 20.45 CET, with the exception of the away fixture in Russia, which is brought forward due to the difference in time zones. The first matchday in the 2016/17 campaign is on Tuesday 13 or Wednesday 14 September, with the final on 3 June 2017 at the national stadium of Wales in Cardiff.

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