Champions League Groups 2014: Complete Draw Info and Club Predictions

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Champions League Groups 2014: Complete Draw Info and Club Predictions
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Monaco played host to the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League draw on Thursday, as 32 of Europe's elite clubs were divided up into eight groups of four for the upcoming campaign.

While there's no such thing as an easy draw in the continent's premier club competition, certain fans had much bigger smiles etched on their faces after the draw than others.

See below for the full 2014/15 Champions League group stage draw and analysis on the task presented to the Premier League's finest.

2014/15 Champions League Draw: Group Stage
Group A Group B Group C Group D
Atletico Madrid Real Madrid Benfica Arsenal
Juventus FC Basel Zenit Borussia Dortmund
Olympiacos Liverpool Bayer Leverkusen Galatasaray
Malmo Ludogorets AS Monaco Anderlecht
Group E Group F Group G Group H
Bayern Munich Barcelona Chelsea FC Porto
Manchester City Paris Saint-Germain Schalke 04 Shakhtar
CSKA Moscow Ajax Sporting Club Athletic Bilbao
Roma APOEL Maribor BATE Borisov

UEFA.com

 

Liverpool

USA TODAY Sports

Champions League football returning for Liverpool has been a long time coming for fans, and they may have to get used to competing with the big boys after being handed a generous draw in Monaco—per Champions League:

In Pot 3 for the draw, the Reds could easily have been drawn in a group of death on Thursday, but they managed to avoid the big sides from Pots 2 and 4.

However, they weren't so lucky with Pot 1, having been drawn to face the reigning champions Real Madrid.

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

The La Liga giants once again come into the tournament as favourites, but with Reds manager Brendan Rodgers eyeing nothing but the trophy, his policy of being the best by beating the best will come into practice.

Facing Swiss outfit FC Basel and Bulgaria's Ludogorets gives the Reds a bit of respite, but former star Neil Mellor thinks that Liverpool should embrace being drawn against the best of the best:

Maximum points from the matches against Basel and Ludogorets will likely make the Reds' clashes with Madrid immaterial, but victories won't come easy even against the lesser-known sides.

That being said, Rodgers now has the kind of squad depth that can really do damage in Europe, and with focus on the Basel and Ludogoets encounters, progression could well be on the cards.

Will they progress to the knockout stage? Yes

 

Chelsea

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Chelsea have done it again in the Champions League—yet another draw to have fans believing it's going to be their year once again.

Fresh off a draw against Schalke, Basel and Steaua Bucuresti last time around, the Blues look to have gone one better in 2014/15—as the club's official Twitter feed revealed:

While the likes of Schalke and Sporting Lisbon will undoubtedly pose a threat to Jose Mourinho's men, the class at the Blues' disposal means they should reach the last 16 with minimal fuss—something that Gary Lineker commented upon:

Slovenian side Maribor make up the last of Group G, and while nothing is guaranteed in the Champions League, Chelsea may as well chalk up six points before a ball is even kicked.

Maribor touched down on English soil recently in the Europa League where a lacklustre Tottenham Hotspur beat the Slovenians 3-1 back in 2012.

Chelsea will be hoping to follow in their London rivals' footsteps in terms of claiming a victory against Maribor at home before taking to a cosy stadium for the away clash—per journalist Dan Levene:

The "easy" group means that Mourinho can afford to rotate his squad in the Champions League this season, therefore making the trophy fight on all four fronts more realistic.

Will they progress to the knockout stage? Yes

 

Arsenal

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The one hope of teams in Pots 1, 3 and 4 was avoiding Pot 2's Borussia Dortmund in the groups, but Arsenal weren't so lucky—as the club's official Twitter feed revealed:

The German outfit and the Gunners met in last season's group stage in one of the most exciting groups in Champions League history.

Arsenal, Dortmund and Napoli all finished on 12 points at the end of the groups, with the latter missing out on the knockout rounds on goal difference.

The Gunners will be hoping for a much more relaxing route to the last 16 this time around, though, with respective victories against Galatasaray and Anderlecht very much a possibility.

However, journalist Jack Rathborn believes that a victory at home against the Turkish side will be enough to see Arsenal through, with the other results likely to take care of themselves:

The Emirates has been a fortress in the Champions League for many a season now, and Arsenal's home form could prove to be the difference at the climax of Group D.

Will they progress to the knockout stage? Yes

 

Elswhere, Manchester City have been drawn in the toughest group of the Premier League's participants, as BBC Sport revealed:

The task of facing Bayern Munich requires no explanation, while trips to Roma and CSKA Moscow will also cause City a lot of problems, and Lineker believes that the draw hasn't been kind to them:

However, for all of City fans' fears, just imagine how the rest of the teams will be feeling facing off against the English champions, who boast some electric players in their ranks.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manuel Pellegrini's men will be hoping to come through the group with Bayern Munich, and though the Germans are arguably the best team in Europe, City will fancy their chances of progressing as group winners.

Overall, it could have been a lot worse for the Premier League, and the BBC's Ben Smith and comedian Jason Manford had their optimistic caps on after the draw:

With all four sides likely to make up the last 16, English football's dominance could be returning sooner rather than later.

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