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Champions League Draw 2019-20: Schedule of Dates for Group-Stage Fixtures

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2019

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 14:   Jordan Henderson of Liverpool holds the Champions League trophy prior to the UEFA Super Cup match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Vodafone Park on August 14, 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

The draw for the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League group stage was made on Thursday, with holders Liverpool set to face Napoli, Salzburg and Genk in Group E.  

Spanish champions Barcelona are joined by Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan and Slavia Prague in Group F, while English champions Manchester City take on Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb and Atalanta in Group C.

The Champions League provided the full draw:

UEFA Champions League @ChampionsLeague

The official result of the 2019/20 #UCLdraw! 😍 3⃣ toughest groups are __ __ & __ 🤔 https://t.co/c7Xdro1vhn

The opening group matches are to be played on September 17 and 18, with subsequent rounds as follows:

                   

Matchday 1: September 17-18 

Matchday 2: October 1-2

Matchday 3: October 22-23

Matchday 4: November 5-6

Matchday 5: November 26-27

Matchday 6: December 10-11

Round-of-16 draw to take place December 16.

Rob Harris @RobHarris

All the Champions League confirmed fixtures in group stage https://t.co/T5K391I5pS

                  

Preview

Liverpool took only 12 months to avenge their 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the 2018 Champions League final, with the Reds completing a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in last season's showpiece game at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid. 

Jurgen Klopp's side were pipped at the post in the race for the Premier League title by Manchester City last term, losing by only a point, and the pair will be among the favourites to go all the way in Europe this season.

City manager Pep Guardiola will be hungry to turn domestic dominance into European silverware. The Sky Blues have yet to win the Champions League, but Kevin De Bruyne's return to fitness could help the club break their duck in the competition.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi will be hungry to take his team back to the top of Europe. Barca have only appeared in the final once in the past eight seasons, which is not enough for a team of their calibre.

Real Madrid's lack of recent success in La Liga had been contrasted by four Champions League trophies over a five-year spell, but their form collapsed last season after Cristiano Ronaldo's departure to Juventus.

Zinedine Zidane is back in control at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium as manager, and the Frenchman has signed Eden Hazard to provide Madrid with the superstar they require.

Juve will expect to travel deep into the competition once again after the arrival of Maurizio Sarri as coach. The former Chelsea boss led the Blues to UEFA Europa League success last season before exiting Stamford Bridge. 

Chelsea are back in the Champions League thanks to their Europa League triumph, not to mention finishing third in the Premier League, and supporters will hope legendary former player Frank Lampard can guide the team to further glory during his first season in charge.

Lampard appeared in two Champions League finals for Chelsea during his playing career, captaining the team to a penalty shootout victory in the 2011-12 final against Bayern Munich.