Familiar foes and a new face
Benfica, Ajax and AEK Athens are FC Bayern's opponents in Group E in this season's Champions League, meaning the record German champions will visit three European capital cities in the first phase of the competition. As well as two familiar foes, Bayern will also be meeting one team for the first time. *fcbayern.com*takes a look at the three sides.
Bayern have been paired with another great name in European club football in the form of Benfica. The Portuguese record champions won the European Cup twice in the early 1960s and have also enjoyed success on the European stage more recently, winning the UEFA Europa League back-to-back in 2012 and 2013. On the domestic front, however, Rui Vitória's side had to settle for second place behind FC Porto last season.
You don't have to go back very far for the last encounter between the two sides. In the quarter-finals of the 2015/16 Champions League, the Munich men won 1-0 at the Allianz Arena after a 2-2 draw in Lisbon to progress to the next round. At the time, Benfica had a young, up-and-coming midfielder in their ranks who's now at Bayern: Renato Sanches. That victory in April 2016 meant FCB remained unbeaten in eight meetings with the Portuguese outfit, with five wins and three draws.
Another illustrious club who are record league winners in their own country are Ajax. The Amsterdam-based club, who have produced stars such as Johan Cruyff, Dennis Bergkamp and Edwin van der Sar, have won the European Cup / Champions League four times. Former Bayern reserve player Erik ten Hag led the side to Europe's premier club competition by finishing second in the Eredivisie last season.
Bayern and Ajax have met eight times in the competition, most recently 14 years ago in the group stage of the 2004/05 season. The Reds secured a convincing 4-0 win in the home fixture thanks to a hat-trick from Roy Makaay, while it finished 2-2 in Amsterdam. However, the overall record between the teams is even, with three wins apiece and two draws.
The meeting with Greek side AEK Athens will be new territory for Bayern. Marinos Ouzounidis' men managed to break the dominance of Olympiakos in the Super League last season and claimed their first league title in 24 years. AEK qualified for the Champions League for the first time since 2006/07 after beating MOL Vidi FC in the play-offs.