The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League (UCL) draws were announced on 29th August at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. The annual ceremony program is also the night when UEFA announces the UEFA Men's Player of the Year, UEFA Women's Player of the Year, along with the top goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward awards of the 2018-19 UCL season.
The first award for the night was the UEFA President’s Award, which was given to former France and Manchester United striker Eric Cantona. After receiving the award, Cantona delivered a great speech which ended with bemused faces in the audience.
Virgil Van Dijk was named UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, Lucy Bronze won UEFA Women’s Player of the Year while Alisson Becker, Virgil Van Djik, Frenkie De Jong and Lionel Messi received top goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward awards, respectively.
Moving to the draws, former UCL winners Wesley Sneijdar (2010) and Petr Cech (2012) were present to assist. A total of 26 teams have qualified for the UCL group stage directly while six have joined them from the playoffs. The 32 teams were divided into eight groups of four.
Defending champions Liverpool were placed against Napoli, Salzburg and Genk in Group E while Europa League champions Chelsea found themselves in a group that looks difficult on paper. Group H includes Chelsea, Lille, Valencia and last season’s semifinalists Ajax.
The teams from top European leagues will be facing each other in some interesting draws at home and away fixtures. The key clashes in the group stages that every football fan is looking forward to are Bayern Munich vs Tottenham Spurs, Liverpool vs Napoli, Chelsea vs Valencia, Borussia Dortmund vs FC Barcelona, Paris Saint Germain vs Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid vs Juventus.
Here are the complete draws for the UCL group stages:
Group A: Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Club Brugge, Galatasaray
Group B: Bayern Munich, Spurs, Olympiacos, Red Star Belgrade
Group C: Manchester City, Shakhtar, Dinamo Zagreb, Atalanta
Group D: Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Moscow
Group E: Liverpool, Napoli, Salzburg, Genk
Group F: FC Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Slavia Prague
Group G: Zenit St Petersburg, Benfica, Lyon, RB Leipzig
Group H: Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia, Lille
The action kicks off from 17th September and continues through October and November. The final round of fixtures will be played in December before the top two teams from each group qualify for the Round of 16.
This years’ final will be played at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey on 30th May.
Feature Image Courtesy: AFP/ Valery Hache