Champions League: German clubs handed tough group stage opponents | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 29.08.2019
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Champions League: German clubs handed tough group stage opponents

Tottenham, Barcelona, Juventus and Atletico Madrid are among the teams drawn to face the Bundesliga's European adventurers in the Champions League group stages this year. Fans should be licking their lips.

This should be a lot of fun. If Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen are to top their respective Champions League groups, and earn themselves a potentially easier path to the latter stages of the competition, they're going to have to do it the hard way. 

Bayern's status as one of the eight elite Pot A sides was of little use, as Spurs - in Pot B, despite finishing runners-up in last season's competition - were drawn alongside them in Group B with Olympiacos and Red Star Belgrade.

Dortmund went one better, getting arguably the toughest team from all of their neighbouring pots. They'll face the Catalan giants, Inter Milan and Slavia Prague. 

Leverkusen's winter will include visits from Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Felix as Juventus and Atletico Madrid roll into town. Fans will undoubtedly enjoy the experience but few will have realistic hopes of seeing their team involved in the draw for the latter stages. Lokomotiv Moscow complete Group D.

RB Leipzig, meanwhile, find themselves part of a bizarre quartet of teams so evenly matched, one feels the need to go back and check they came from different pots. They'll take on Russian champions Zenit, Portugese champions Benfica and Olympique Lyon. A betting man would do well to avoid these fixtures.

Heavyweight clashes galore

Dortmund's plight is becoming an annual tradition. They've made a habit in recent years of finding themselves alongside the tournament's big guns from the get-go. Last season it was Atletico Madrid, two years ago Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid and the year before that it was Madrid once more. They managed to emerge two out of those three times but this season's fixture list does seem particularly tricky. 

Barcelona are, well, Barcelona. Lionel Messi and co will be out for blood following the heartbreak of last season's capitulation to Liverpool. Inter Milan, meanwhile, are a different beast these days, with master tactician Antonio Conte overseeing an eye-watering recruitment drive throughout the summer. One imagines the team that fails to take six points from Slavia Prague will be the one in trouble. 

Fussball Champions League Halbfinale l FC Liverpool vs FC Barcelona (Reuters/Action Images/C. Recine)

Lionel Messi's Barcelona suffered a shock 4-0 loss to Liverpool to exit last season's Champions League at the semifinal stage

Group stage showdowns between Bayern Munich and Spurs are a tantalizing prospect not only because they will be the first time the sides have ever met in the competition, and the first time they've met at all since 1983. That Spurs defeated the Bundesliga juggernauts 2-0 in the UEFA Cup more than 35 years ago is of little aid when it comes to making predictions. 

Bayern will be feeling confident after a summer of lavish spending. Champions League success will be the yardstick by which Niko Kovac's season will be measured and getting the better of Mauricio Pochettino's well-drilled overachievers may be key to this. Was Lucas Hernandez really worth that €80m? Let's let Harry Kane be the judge of that. These fixtures could just be the highlight of the winter calendar.

With Bayern and Dortmund expected to battle it out for domestic glory as well this season, neither will be wholly satisfied with their European fixture list. They'll take solace, however, in knowing it won't be plain sailing for the other. Leipzig, meanwhile, just might fancy their chances on both fronts. It's going to be a lot of fun. 

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