UCL draw: Lewandowski, Barca to face Bayern

Barcelona have been drawn against Bayern Munich in the group stages of the 2022-23 Champions League, which sees Robert Lewandowski facing an early return to his former club while Manchester City’s Erling Haaland will reunite with his ex-club, Borussia Dortmund.

Lewandowski ended his eight-year spell at Bayern acrimoniously in July to join Barca in a €50 million deal and will face his old club after they were drawn together in Group C.

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Thursday’s draw, which took place in Istanbul, Turkey, means the two clubs will face each other in the group stages of Europe’s biggest club competition for a second consecutive season, with Bayern condemning Barca to a pair of 3-0 defeats last term as the Spanish giants finished third and were sent to the Europa League, where they reached the quarterfinals.

Inter Milan and Viktoria Plzen make up the remainder of Group C.

Meanwhile, Haaland, who joined City in a €60m deal in June, faces a return to Dortmund, as the two clubs were drawn together in Group G alongside Sevilla and FC Copenhagen.

Elsewhere, holders Real Madrid were drawn in Group F, where they will play RB Leipzig, Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic. Madrid won their 14th Champions League title when they capped a remarkable run in last year’s competition with a 1-0 final victory over Liverpool in May.

Paris Saint-Germain were handed a tough group in Group H alongside Juventus, Benfica and Maccabi Haifa. The Ligue 1 champions are still seeking their first Champions League title since the arrival of their Qatari owners in 2011, and will hand stars Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar another chance at bringing a European trophy to the French capital.

Liverpool will star in Group A, where they will meet Rangers, who are making their return to the group stages of the competition for the first time in 12 years, as well as Ajax and Napoli.

This season’s Champions League group stage will be played over a shorter period — nine weeks rather than typical 12 weeks — due to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which begins in November.

The knockout stages of the competition will take place later than in previous years, beginning on Feb. 14, 2023.

The final will take place at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on June 10, 2023.

GROUP A: Ajax (Netherlands), Liverpool (England), Napoli (Italy), Rangers (Scotland).

GROUP B: FC Porto (Portugal), Atletico Madrid (Spain), Bayer Leverkusen (Germany), Club Brugge (Belgium).

GROUP C: Bayern Munich (Germany), Barcelona (Spain), Inter Milan (Italy), Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic).

GROUP D: Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany), Tottenham Hotspur (England), Sporting CP (Portugal), Marseille (France).

GROUP E: AC Milan (Italy), Chelsea (England), FC Salzburg (Austria), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia).

GROUP F: Real Madrid (Spain), RB Leipzig (Germany), Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine), Celtic (Scotland).

GROUP G: Manchester City (England), Sevilla (Spain), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), FC Copenhagen (Denmark).

GROUP H: Paris Saint-Germain (France), Juventus (Italy), Benfica (Portugal), Maccabi Haifa (Israel).

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