Champions League Draw 2013: Full Group Stage Released and Predictions

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2013

The Champions League group stage draw is complete, giving top clubs from around Europe their first glance at the foes standing between them and the next stop on their journey to the coveted title. As always, some sides made out better than others.

Although the tournament definitely doesn't lack talented clubs, the field is highlighted by defending champion Bayern Munich. The treble winners are once again among the main contenders heading into Champions League play next month.

They are joined by Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and a host of other hopefuls. With that in mind, let's examine the complete results of the group stage draw, courtesy of UEFA.com, followed by a look at the fixture dates for the round.

 

2013-14 Champions League Groups 

Manchester United, the defending Premier League champions, should walk away happy with their draw. They were able to avoid the worst-case scenarios and will be the clear group favorites. The other clubs will battle for the second knockout berth.

 

Once Real Madrid and Juventus were drawn into the same group, it was clear Group B would be one of the trickier ones to navigate, and it didn't get any easier when Turkish giants Galatasaray were added. Copenhagen will struggle to make an impact.

 

Group C should provide plenty of intriguing action, as all four clubs could make a strong case to advance. Benfica benefited from falling into the top seeding pot. Big-spending Paris Saint-Germain are also likely very pleased with their draw result.

 

Bayern Munich and Manchester City have to be happy about the draw. Although being in the same group wasn't the ideal scenario, they didn't draw another top club in order to turn it into a true Group of Death. It's survivable for the top marquee clubs.

 

Chelsea won the Champions League title two seasons ago. A favorable draw should allow them to get back in contention. Even though Schalke and Basel are both solid clubs, the Blues are undoubtedly the class of Group E.

 

At first, Arsenal probably thought they caught a break when they drew Marseille from Pot 2. However, the draw did them no further favors. The Premier League side will have to overcome Dortmund and a revitalized Napoli side to advance.

 

Group G should be wide open. Porto, Atletico Madrid and Zenit should all be confident about their chances to move on, but one of them will be left behind. Austria Wien face an uphill battle, but could still make their presence felt with a strong result.

 

While Barcelona and AC Milan will enter the final group expecting to advance, they can't afford to overlook Ajax and Celtic. Ajax are the defending Dutch champions, and Celtic reached the UCL knockout stages last season. This is a solid overall group.

 

Group Stage Fixture Dates

Matchday 1: Sept. 17 and 18

Matchday 2: Oct. 1 and 2

Matchday 3: Oct. 22 and 23

Matchday 4: Nov. 5 and 6

Matchday 5: Nov. 26 and 27

Matchday 6: Dec. 10 and 11

For a complete look at this season's Champions League dates, visit UEFA's official site.