The stage is set, as the eight groups in the final version of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stages, before the 36-team revamp takes over, have been drawn in Monaco. Pots were allocated earlier in the day following the culmination of the play-off rounds.
Before we delve into each of the Italian team’s adversaries in the starting stages, let’s take a look at the overall group pairings.
🚨⚡️ UCL DRAW IS COMPLETE! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/knLLYFlOJl
— EuroFoot (@eurofootcom) August 31, 2023
The seven-time winners were left undone in the semi-finals last season, but several summer reinforcements such as Christian Pulisic and Noah Okafor have rekindled hope of similar exploits in the Rossoneri camp. French champions Paris Saint-Germain, German giants Borussia Dortmund and new English entrants Newcastle United await Stefano Pioli’s men in Group F.
Lazio make a return to UCL for the first time since the 2020/21 campaign, when they were knocked out of the Round of 16 by Bayern Munich. The Biancocelesti, who finished runners-up in Serie A last season, under an inspired Maurizio Sarri have hopes of making a shiny comeback. However, tricky fixtures in Group E against Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, Eredivisie champions Feyenoord and Scottish brass Celtic will be quite the task.
Serie A title holders after 33 years, the Partenopei will make an exciting return to Europe’s top continental club competition as top seeds. A new era unfolds under Rudi Garcia, as exciting clashes await the Scudetto winners in Group C, where they tackle Spanish behemoths Real Madrid, Portuguese minnows SC Braga and surprise German outfit Union Berlin.
Last year’s finalists, the Nerazzurri will be looking to make amends and perhaps go all the way this time. Simone Inzaghi’s men were left heartbroken by Manchester City in last season’s UCL final, and they will need to maneuver through a difficult group this time around, containing Portuguese heavyweights Benfica, Austrian giants RB Salzburg and slick Spanish outfit Real Sociedad in Group D.
The group stages will take place from 19 September to 13 December:
Matchday 1: 19–20 September 2023
Matchday 2: 3–4 October 2023
Matchday 3: 24–25 October 2023
Matchday 4: 7–8 November 2023
Matchday 5: 28–29 November 2023
Matchday 6: 12–13 December 2023
Meanwhile, the UCL knockout phases will begin mid-February next year, with the final at the start of June at the iconic Wembley stadium:
Round of 16: 13/14/20/21 February & 5/6/12/13 March 2024
Quarter-finals: 9/10 & 16/17 April 2024
Semi-finals: 30 April/1 May & 7/8 May 2024
Final: 1 June 2024
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