Manchester United will face Paris St-Germain, RB Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League group stage this season.
Premier League champions Liverpool will have to negotiate a group comprising Ajax, Atalanta and Danish club Midtjylland.
Chelsea will face Europa League winners Sevilla, Krasnodar and debutants Rennes.
Manchester City are in Group D with Porto, Olympiakos and Marseille.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are set to face each other after Juventus and Barcelona are drawn in Group G, while Bayern Munich face Atletico Madrid in Group A.
The draw, which also saw Real Madrid and Inter Milan paired in Group A, took place without club officials present due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
And it was a particularly difficult draw for Manchester United, who will face last season’s finalists Paris St-Germain, as well as 2020 semi-finalists RB Leipzig.
This year’s group stage kicks off on Tuesday 20 October while the final takes place on Saturday 29 May 2021 at Istanbul’s Ataturk Stadium.
Full draw for the group stage:
Group A: Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Salzburg, Lokomotiv Moscow
Group B: Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan, Borussia Monchengladbach
Group C: Porto, Manchester City, Olympiakos, Marseille
Group D: Liverpool, Ajax, Atalanta, Midtjylland
Group E: Sevilla, Chelsea, FK Krasnodar, Rennes
Groupe F: Zenit St Petersburg, Borussia Dortmund, Lazio, Bruges
Group G: Juventus, Barcelona, Dynamo Kyiv, Ferencvaros
Groupe H: Paris St-Germain, Manchester United, RB Leipzig, Istanbul Basaksehir
Fans back for big nights of the Champions League?
After Thursday’s draw, it was announced that fans could partially return to UEFA matches for the first time since March – where local laws allow.
From the international break in October, supporters will be capped at 30% of a stadium’s capacity, but outside supporters will not be able to attend.
Social distancing will be mandatory and additional precautionary measures such as wearing a mask should be implemented in accordance with local rules.
UEFA’s move comes after more than 15,000 supporters witnessed a pilot in the Super Cup Match between Bayern Munich and Sevilla in Budapest on September 24.
In a statement, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin described the move as “a sensible first step that puts fans’ health first and respects the laws of each country.”
Messi vs. Ronaldo
It has been one of the biggest rivalries in world football of the past decade – and now Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will face each other in the Champions League again.
When Barcelona were drawn with Juventus in Group C, fans around the world immediately started hoping for a meeting between the two.
They have won 11 of the last 12 Ballon d’Ors, with Messi winning a record six and Ronaldo with five.
Of his 35 competitive appearances, Messi has won Ronaldo’s 10 16 times, with the remaining nine games ending in a draw.
Ronaldo is paving the way for Champions League successes, winning the trophy five times compared to Messi’s four successes.
‘United outsiders to progress’ – analyse
Simon Stone, BBC Sport
While they were hoping to escape the pressure on them to secure new signings in the Champions League draw, Manchester United failed.
Two of last season’s semi-finalists – and a long trip to Turkey – aren’t what they would have wanted from their Pot 2 standings. This means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will be outsiders even to survive.
If there is one straw to cling to, it’s the memory of their 3-1 victory over PSG at Parc des Princes two seasons ago that reversed a 2-0 home loss, which was one of the most beautiful nights in their illustrious European history.
England’s other three group stage competitors will be reasonably happy.
Chelsea were drawn with Europa League-winning Sevilla, who represented United and Wolves in their run to the final in Cologne, where they beat Inter Milan, but Frank Lampard will want his side to come out of the game. ‘a group that contains the French side of Rennes and Russian Newcomers Krasnodar.
So disappointed to come out in the quarter-finals in August thanks to their shock loss to Lyon, Manchester City attracted probably the easiest seed, Porto, plus Olympiakos and Marseille, two sides they had never met. before.
Liverpool, winner in 2019 and defeated finalist the year before, face another club with a magnificent European history, Ajax, which they only remarkably played in another draw, in 1966, when the Dutch team won over two races.
They have never faced their other two opponents, Atalanta and Midtjylland, but it would be a big surprise if Jurgen Klopp’s side didn’t reach the bottom 16.
Champions League statistics
- Manchester United have advanced from the group stage in 82% of their previous Champions League campaigns (18/22), the latest failure to do so in 2015-16 under Louis van Gaal.
- Since Alex Ferguson’s retirement, Manchester United’s best Champions League results have been two quarter-final appearances – in 2013-14 under David Moyes and most recently in 2018-19, under Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
- Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp moved past the Champions League group stages in six of his seven seasons in the competition, before reaching the final three times – he lost to Borussia Dortmund in 2013 and Liverpool in 2018, before winning it with the Reds. in 2019 against Spurs.
- Liverpool have lost each of their last four Champions League away games at Italian clubs – two against Napoli (2018 and 2019) and once each against Roma (2018) and Fiorentina (2009).
- Manchester City have won 13 of their last 18 Champions League games (D3 L2), with their two losses in this round coming in the quarter-finals against Spurs in 2018-19 and Lyon in 2019-20.
- In his first seven seasons as a Champions League manager as Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager, Pep Guardiola has reached at least the semi-final of the competition in every campaign – in his four as a Man City boss, Guardiola did not make it past the quarter-final.
- Chelsea have lost just one of their last 14 Champions League group stage games at Stamford Bridge (W9 D4) – their only loss in this round is the only time in their last 30 group stage matches at home where they failed to score (0-1 v Valencia).
- Sevilla will be the fifth different Spanish team Chelsea have met in the Champions League, with the Blues undefeated in the first meeting with each of the previous four (W3 D1).