UEFA Champions League Group Stages Decided, Man United Aim to Defend Crown

Jeff HarbertSenior Writer IAugust 28, 2008

The draw for the UEFA Champions League Group Stages have been made and Manchester United will face Celtic, Villarreal and Aalborg BK in Group E. The reigning European Champions should be relatively pleased with the draw and will be hoping for similar success as last season, when they won five games and drew one in the group stages.

Manchester United last played Celtic during the 2006/07 season, winning 3-2 at Old Trafford and losing 1-0 in Scotland. The Red Devils played Villarreal the year before when they failed to even qualify for the knock-out stages of the competition. A 0-0 draw in Spain was followed by a goalless draw in England.

The European Champions will definitely be hoping for a better outing this time and appear more than ready for the challenge facing them. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side aim to be the first club to ever successfully defend their European crown. Denmark’s Aalborg are a relatively unknown side and will most likely be pushing for a spot in the UEFA Cup.

Meanwhile, UEFA has announced Cristiano Ronaldo as UEFA’s European Player of the Year. The Portuguese star had a brilliant season in Europe, scoring eight goals in the Champions League, including one in the final against Chelsea.

Ronaldo will be unavailable for the first few games of the group stages due to injury, but his teammates will be more than confident of being able to defend their European crown until he returns from his absence.

The rest of the draw is as following:

Group A

Chelsea

Roma

Bordeaux

CFR Cluj

Group B

Inter Milan

Werder Bremen

Panathinaikos

Anorthosis Famagusta

Group C

Barcelona

Sporting Lisbon

Basel

Shakhtar Donetsk

Group D

Liverpool

PSV Eindhoven

Marseille

Atletico Madrid

Group E

Manchester United

Villarreal

Celtic

Aalborg

Group F

Lyon

Bayern Munich

Steaua Bucharest

Fiorentina

Group G

Arsenal

FC Porto

Fenerbahce

Dynamo Kiev

Group H

Real Madrid

Juventus

Zenit St Petersburg

Bate Borisov

 

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